The Obama campaign really, really wants you to believe that Mitt Romney is a liar. In fact, they’ll say anything to make you believe it — even things that, well, aren’t true.
Why is Team Obama pushing this “Romney is a liar” narrative with such desperation? The most obvious reason: they need to stop the bleeding from Obama’s dismal performance in the first presidential debate. “Romney is a liar” is thus the latest in a long line of excuses that Obama supporters have thrown against the wall to explain the GOP nominee’s dominating performance.
Former Vice President Al Gore, whose instinct is always to try too hard, offered one of the more creative excuses. He prefaced it by warning: “I’m gonna say something controversial here,” “controversial” in this case meaning “stupid.” Gore then went on to suggest that Obama was debilitated by Denver’s high altitude.
Believe it or not, few people bought the altitude excuse. Hence Team Obama was forced to concoct yet another excuse, and they’ve settled with a vengeance on “Romney is a liar.”
There are other reasons that Obama is so intent on portraying Romney as a liar. It’s a tactic straight out of the playbook of Saul Alinsky, the radical father of community organizing who has been Obama’s guiding light. Rule 5 of Alinsky’s seminal work, Rules for Radicals, instructs leftists to ridicule their political opponents: “‘Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.’ There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.” And then there’s Rule 12: “‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.’ Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.”
This explains why leftists engage in incessant name-calling and personal attacks, even though such attacks are, in Alinsky’s own words, “irrational.” “Liar” is the new “racist,” an all-purpose epithet that, at least in the mind of the leftist, trumps any logical argument. (Not that “racist” has been retired.) Calling Romney a liar is a classic radical attack, both irrational and personal.
If you haven’t noticed, leftists are very quick to call people “liars.” They won’t just say it, they’ll shriek it hysterically, over and over again; they seem to think that hysterical shrieking and mindless repetition proves their sincerity. They quote studies from liberal think tanks (or, as liberals call them, “independent experts”) as if they were scripture, and call you a “liar” if you try to present contrary evidence. Thus, Mitt Romney is a “liar” for refusing to confess that his tax reform plan will result in a middle class tax hike. You see, a study by the “independent experts” at the liberal Tax Policy Center initially concluded that Romney’s proposed tax cuts (20% for all taxpayers, not just the rich) could not be fully offset by eliminating tax deductions for the wealthy. As the Obama campaign chose to interpret the report, Romney would have to make up for the supposed shortfall by raising taxes on the middle class — even though he has pledged not to do that. That interpretation is wrong, even according to the authors of the study. Refusing to be hindered by the truth and other niceties, the Obama campaign released an ad charging that Romney planned to “raise taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year.”
How did the Tax Policy Center arrive at its conclusion that the Romney plan would result in a shortfall? By assuming that pro-growth tax reform would actually be no-growth tax reform, and by arbitrarily failing — for no apparent reason — to take certain deductions into account. One of the study’s authors has since conceded that if those deductions are considered and if economic growth is taken into account, Romney’s plan could indeed add up. Another economist, from Princeton, has demonstrated that Romney’s numbers do add up; his analysis assumes the reforms would trigger 3 percent growth. (If you think that 3 percent growth is unrealistically optimistic, you’re probably assuming Obama will be re-elected.) And the American Enterprise Institute has gone even further, showing the Romney plan to be revenue-neutral assuming it caused a mere 0.1 percent increase in economic growth.
Bottom line: Obama’s line about Romney’s “$5 trillion tax cut,” which he kept repeating during the debate even after being corrected, was false. Also false are the Obama ads claiming Romney plans to raise middle class taxes. But it’s Romney, according to Team Obama and its allies, who’s the liar.
The day after his dreary slog through the debate, Obama was his old self, buoyed by his reunion with his teleprompter and the familiar surroundings of an adoring audience. He claimed not to recognize the man who had stood across from him the night before, asserting that that man couldn’t have been “the real Mitt Romney.” Of course Obama didn’t recognize him: the man he shared the stage with bore no resemblance to the cartoon villain that Team Obama had contrived for its dishonest attack ads.
Obama and his followers are mounting a full-court press to convince the rest of America that Romney is a liar. As I have documented in other columns, Team Obama’s material claims about supposed Romney lies are, to put it politely, bogus. (Sorry, Jon Stewart; you’re not as smart as you think you are, and as an analyst of public policy, you make a great comedian.)
For those who are still trying to figure out who’s lying, consider this: Official unemployment was stuck over 8 percent for a record 43 straight months under Obama; in the entire 50 years prior to Obama, unemployment climbed over 8 percent for a total of only 39 months. Real unemployment, which includes the underemployed and those who have given up hope of finding a job, is much higher at 14.7 percent — 23 million Americans. The majority of college graduates under the age of 25 are unemployed or underemployed. The national debt, which passed a record $16 trillion last month, has increased more under Obama than under any other president. It took Obama just over three years to surpass the eight-year total for the previous record-holder, George W. Bush. Under Obama, our debt has been downgraded for the first time in history. Household income is down over 8 percent under Obama; household wealth has plummeted 40 percent. The poverty rate under Obama has reached an almost two-decade high, with one in six Americans now living in poverty. The number of Americans dependent on food stamps has soared from 28 million in 2008 to over 46 million this year.
Given these facts, why would Romney lie? Clearly, his path to victory is simply to tell the truth. It would appear that Obama is the one with little motivation to tell the truth.
Prior to the debate, millions of Americans knew Romney primarily through Obama’s attack ads. The debate gave those Americans an opportunity to observe Romney without that filter. He came across as decisive, knowledgeable, reasonable, affable, competent, and compassionate. The Obama campaign is now working feverishly to erase that positive impression, and to re-infect the public consciousness with the Romney caricature of their creation.
So who are you going to believe, America, your own lying eyes, or Obama’s lying ads?
David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W. Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Left-Hearted, Right-Minded: Why Conservative Policies Are The Best Way To Achieve Liberal Ideals.