Obviously, the pundit classes have declared Mitt Romney the winner of last night’s debate. But as people go over exactly what Romney said, the number of flat out lies he told is beginning to sink in.
I know when I was on the debate team in high school, we would have lost points for telling deliberate lies and misstating facts. But then, nobody expects presidential candidates to be held to the same high standard as high school students.
I’m bucking the trend here, I know, but I didn’t see this as a “win” for Romney at all. I saw it as another glaring example of what a lying weasel the man is. If I fault Obama for anything, it’s his failure to directly confront these lies; I have a feeling even the President may have been a little taken aback by the sheer audacity of Mitt’s mendacity.
There are already quite a few articles pointing out the numerous liberties Romney took with the truth, but three huge examples stood out to me:
1) His claim that half of all stimulus-funded green companies had gone out of business. The actual number is less than one percent. That’s not just a small fib, it’s a gigantic lie, told with conviction.
And today the Romney campaign is admitting it was false:
ICYMI: Romney camp told me (after my tweet-rants) Mitt didn’t mean to say half the #stimulus-funded green firms failed. Probably <1% so far.
— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) October 4, 2012
2) His sudden amazing claim that he does not intend to give tax cuts to the wealthy. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center analyzed Romney’s plan and concluded that the only way to make his “revenue neutrality” numbers add up would be to posit a large tax increase for the middle class — leading to big tax decreases for those making more than $200,000 a year.
3) This jaw-dropping statement: “I like coal. I’m gonna make sure we can continue to burn clean coal.”
How can we “continue” doing something that does not exist? The fact is that “clean coal” is a myth. The technologies that would make it possible to burn coal without emitting carbon into the atmosphere do not exist at the present time, and may never exist. Coal is (and remains) one of the most environmentally damaging and unhealthy sources of power the human race has, and not a single factory or power plant anywhere in the entire world is “burning clean coal.”
Yet Mitt Romney wants to “continue” doing it.
Maybe it’s my old school debate training, but I don’t think it’s right to say that a blatant liar “won” that debate. If we were going solely by appearances and presentation, I might agree that Romney came off slightly better than Obama.
But debates are supposed to be about facts, and getting at the truth. By that measure, Mitt Romney is a big loser.