Monday, October 29, 2012

Romney: The Lying Liar That Just Keeps Lying … and Wants to Cut (or Privatize) Disaster Relief

So have you heard Mitt Romney’s newest lie? It’s actually a whopper. Last week, Bloomberg ran an article about Chrysler. Depending on the reader’s interpretation, the article could be read to suggest that Chrysler, now owned by Italian auto manufacturer Fiat, would be moving production of its Jeep line to China, that is if you didn’t read all the way to the 5th paragraph where Mike Manley, COO of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia said that he was referring to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China. Neveertheless, during a campaign rally in Ohio, Romney talked about US auto manufacturing jobs being moved to China, tying that move to the efforts by the Obama administration to keep Chrysler from being liquidated by helping arrange a sale to Fiat.

"I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state Jeep — now owned by the Italians — is thinking of moving all production to China," Romney said at a rally in Defiance, Ohio, home to a General Motors powertrain plant.

One problem: As noted by Fiat’s COO, Chrysler is not moving production to China. Instead, Chrysler is looking into adding new production capacity in China for Jeeps being sold in China. Moreover, Chrysler is actually expanding the number of jobs at its Jeep plant in Detroit. And just to be clear, a Chrysler spokesperson clarified the issue:

The Bloomberg story, though accurate, "has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. work force. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats," Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said.

"Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It's simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."

Not reported in the story linked to above was the remainder of the statement from Chrysler’s spokesperson:

A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

Now any rational person with a shred of integrity or any devotion to honesty and truth would, at best, say, “Oops, what I said was wrong,” or, at least, stop telling the lie. But this is Mitt Romney we’re talking about. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Romney didn’t admit he was wrong. Nor, for that matter, should it be a surprise that he didn’t stop telling the lie. Nope. Instead he made a new political campaign ad that uses very careful language to imply that Chrysler is moving those Jeep jobs to China … and that President Obama is to blame:

Note how carefully the ad skirts actually telling the lie. Nowhere does it say that Chrysler is moving jobs to China; rather it says that President Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” and then tells us that “Mitt Romney will fight for every American job." But when you listen to this ad, what story are you hearing Romney tell you?

So again I ask what it tells us about a man that wants so badly to be President that he has chosen to run a campaign that has been intentionally divorced from the truth. If these sorts of tactics meet with electoral success then we truly will have entered a “post-truth” era in which the most effective candidate will the one that can dream up the biggest, yet most plausible lie, and our entire system will be rendered a shambles, resembling nothing so much as a Hollywood special effects blockbuster.

We cannot elect a serial liar to the office of President.

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Oh, and one more thing: While you watch the Weather Channel as Hurricane Sandy bears down on New Jersey and the Atlantic Seaboard, just remember that during one of the Republican debates in June 2011, Romney said that federal spending for disaster relief was “immoral” and wanted to return disaster programs to the states or “even better” (his words) to the private sector. Here’s a transcript of the exchange between moderator John King (of CNN) and Romney:

KING: Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

Do we want a President who wants to send disaster relief back to the states so that each state must, essentially, fend for itself? Hey, we here in Indiana don’t have a lot of disasters, I guess, so maybe that’s a great idea. Let New Orleans and Florida and California fend for themselves, right? Did I hear you say drought? Tornados? Er… flooding? Well, um. And what was that about a chunk of Indiana being in the New Madrid fault zone? OK. So maybe the idea of natural disasters being the sort of thing for which the federal government is there to help all of its citizens is a good idea, like maybe sorta just the thing that a federal government is for in the first place.

But just sending disaster aid back to the states isn’t enough, not for Mitt Romney. Because he wants to privatize it too. Just imagine how well that would work. If you can pay the disaster relief premium, you can get help. But if you’re poor… Do we really want disaster relief to be available for a profit?

Think about that while you watch Hurricane Sandy come ashore.

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