October 20, 2012By Julie Driscoll
Those in the habit of lying generally don't have an on-off switch on it. They'll lie about pretty much anything, provided it suits an agenda and they feel confident they won't get caught (or, if caught, they believe they can lie their way out of the pickle they've lied their way into).
Skillful lying is an art form, and few people have elevated it to the height that the Romney-Ryan duo has. From everything to accusing the President of making $716 billion in cuts to Medicare benefits to Romney claiming he supports employer-supported contraceptive coverage in healthcare plans, the camp seldom shakes hands with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In fact, Politifact has rated no less than 17 Romney statements as "Pants on Fire" lies, compared with 7 attributed to President Obama, several of which back to the 2008 election cycle.
It's pretty to think that in the hustle and bustle of campaigning, facts get lost, statistics aren't immediately at hand, and the candidates simply forget. But they don't call Mitt Romney "Etch-A-Sketch" and "flip flopper" for nothing: He has clearly studied the flow of the 72-hour news cycle, has calculated that, as Mark Twain once said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes," and has deduced that with enough chutzpah and arrogance, an untrue statement can, in 30-second sound bites, sound like truth for at least a little while. By the time the truth catches up, the lie has already caught on; and media outlets, on to other bits of hysteria, don't generally bother to backtrack.
The fact that Romney has gained some traction in the 2012 election speaks to the resistance of the American public to believe that a candidate for President would do what he does. Our belief systems - and, for some, their desire to believe in Mitt Romney - and what we want to think get in the way of our rational thinking.
As Laurie at lauriekendick.wordpress.com notes, "People who lie tend to get defensive or they take a defensive posture with others when confronted about the lie, even if they are not actually being accused of lying. When you second-guess a liar they are quick to react in anger in order to put YOU on the defensive and deflect attention from the lie at hand."
Look at how the Romney camp has reacted to charges of lying: They've discredited and denounced that they're subject to fact-checking; they've doubled down on their lies; they've returned the charge with an accusation about President Obama or the Democrats or liberals in general; and they've stubbornly refused to admit the error of their ways because they believe, first, that they have the right to treat facts as fluid things, second, that they're entitled to create their own sets of facts to fit a particular narrative, and third, that people who question them have a lot of nerve.
Serial killer Ted Bundy worked on a domestic abuse hotline, elbow to elbow with seasoned crime writer Ann Rule, and she never dreamed he was a psychopathic serial killer. John Wayne Gacy was a pillar of the community, and people never imagined he had bodies buried under his house. David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) was a quiet, unobtrusive neighbor. Murderer Jeffrey Dahmer was an outspoken proponent of gay rights in Milwaukee. The Craig's List killer, Phillip Markoff, was in the National Honor Society and the history club. Andrew Cunanan was a genius, with an IQ of 147.
Truly gifted liars are frightening. Their commitment to lying and deceit in pursuit of a personal agenda - such as, for instance, becoming President of the United States - allows them to rationalize their lies as being for a greater cause. Mitt Romney is now, and likely has always been, a liar of the first order. He has attempted to walk back the moves he made during his time as Governor of Massachusetts, the moves he made as CEO of Bain Capital; he has denied the jobs he out-sourced, the taxes he didn't pay, the positions he supported or didn't support and, then denied his reversals. These are far greater moral transgressions than glib references to "Etch-a-Sketch" and "flip-flopper" can cover.
Laurie wrote, " . . . [T]here are people who can’t open their mouths without lying. These are the pathological liars who who do so to cover up some deep seeded psychological inadequacy. They can very often, beat the system . . . they can lie to you by looking at you right in the eye, they never say “uh”, they never touch their faces and they do this while sitting perfectly still AND keep perfect track of their filthy, dirty BS ridden lies. They are sociopaths . . . In the simplest of terms: these are the people from whom you should run….. and run like hell."
Politicians fudge and dissemble; sociopaths lie shamelessly. It's time we look at Mitt Romney and face the hard, harsh reality: He falls into the latter category.