Drum on Romney’s ‘Creepy Small Lies’

Kevin Drum remains my favorite political blogger. I find his views congenial (obviously), but more than that, I like his commonsense take on things. Here he is with a headline dear to my heart: The Creepy Small Lies of the Romney Campaign. Drum links to an item from David Weigel at Slate, It’s a Weekday, So It’s Time for Another Misleading Edit of an Obama Quote, in which Weigel points out how the Romney campaign is taking an Obama remark about Clinton-era tax rates producing better economic results than Bush II-era tax rates and selectively misquoting it to make it sound like Obama is claiming the economy has done great on his (Obama’s) watch.

Drum continues:

We’ve now seen the Romney campaign make hay out of three wild misquotations: 

* "If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose," which turned out to be Obama in 2008 quoting John McCain. "What’s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander," Romney said in his defense.

* "If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that," a statement that quite obviously referred to the "roads and bridge" of the previous sentence. This one is so bad that supporters have taken to splicing it together with an earlier part of Obama’s speech and simply removing the "roads and bridges" reference entirely.

* "We tried our plan — and it worked."

As Weigel says, "At this point, getting video clips of Obama from Republican campaigns is like getting an article pitch from Jayson Blair. It might tell a good story, but you need to run down the source and triple-check."

I know I keep asking this, but has any previous campaign ever done this on such a routine basis? I don’t mean to suggest that no campaign has ever been as nasty. Obviously Willie Horton and "creating the internet" and the Swiftboating of 2008 were worse. And both sides traffic in distortions and cherry picking all the time. But there’s something about the methodical small lies of the Romney campaign that seems quite new. And frankly, just plain creepy.


13 Responses to “Drum on Romney’s ‘Creepy Small Lies’”

  1. enkidu Says:

    Dear Mr Obama

    Please raise my taxes back to the Clinton era levels. We could use the money to build some bridges and repair the roads and maybe invest in some quality science and math teachers. With anything left over, we could pay down a bit of the debt the Rs are always running up (and then crashing the economy). Cheers.


    A Progressive Independent Voter

  2. shcb Says:

    You can just send the government a check above and beyond your tax liability, they will cash and spend it, who knows, you might even get a Christmas..er…Happy Holidays card.

  3. enkidu Says:

    How about if everyone pays their fair share?

    End the Bush tax cuts for everyone over a 3 year phase in. Start with the group that has done the best, the top 10%. This includes me. Paying your taxes is patriotic – even when your government does crazy stuff (like say, for me… invading Iraq, or for you… helping poor people get affordable healthcare [cough cheaper than the emergency room cough]) ymmv

  4. shcb Says:

    But everyone has a different idea of “fair”. Why not have everyone pay their fair share, the poor, the rich, the middle. No subsidies, no welfare, no tax deductions, figure a reasonable time frame to pay off the debt (20 years?) then work backward from that.

    it would be worth the comic value of watching accountants, politicians, lobbyists and other assorted professionals have seizures.

    make it worth their while, until the debt is paid off they can’t dink with laws related to taxes, that might even entice them to cut spending. after that they can resume screwing things up.

    Never happen but it is fun to vent.

  5. NorthernLite Says:

    Hey guys! Just thought I’d check in to make sure that this is actually the guy running against Obama:

    Mitt Romney in London: ‘Kind of like Mr. Bean, only American’


    I’ve also heard he has millions stashed away in bank accounts all over the world and “ghost companies” created to avoid taxes.

    shcb, you’re not seriously rooting for a guy who supports wars and massive military spending but then does everything he possibly can to avoid paying his share for it?

    Please, tell me you’re not.

  6. shcb Says:

    Sure, I do everything I can do to avoid paying taxes, it’s the American way. Why would I hold others to a higher standard? You don’t thind Obama does everything he can to avoid taxes? He probably doesn’t now since everything is free to him, but wait till he is out of office, He will certainly write off travel expenses when he does speaking.

    Enky is the only one that wants to pay more but he doesn’t want to just send them more money either, he doesn’t mind paying a little more as long as that triggers someone else to pay a bunch more.

  7. enkidu Says:

    Of course (and as always) I’ve said nothing of the sort. I’d just like the tax code to go back to the longest, strongest economic growth of the modern era. I’d love to pay two or three percent more just so long as lil Ricki and Mr Rmoney also pay two or three percent more. You and he appear to be tax cheats and scofflaws, but I’m sure you’d be willing to show us your tax returns for the last decade or two… (crickets) you know just like your Dad did Mr Rmoney? (crickets)

    I would wager there are some huge problems with those returns (just look at what we do know about his IRA – red flags everywhere, no wait, the red flags are on fire and screaming so loudly only wwnjs can’t hear the tumult). So now lil ricki is saying he cheats too? Wow that is a shock! I’m just shocked – shocked! – to hear you beat your dog as well as cheat on your taxes.

    Read this carefully mr wwnj: we are at the lowest level of taxation in generations (R Money paid 13.9% in fed taxes, and probably scammed a ton more). Is it any wonder our federal debt is at record levels? Most of it run up during R administrations. Get ready for some taxamagical bullish!t as here comes wwnj’s next long winded paean to flibbertigibbet sociamalism! (garbled grunting)

    What did Mr Cameron say in response to Rmoney shoving his $2400 loafers down his gold-flake encrusted pie hole? “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere” Oh zing, and that’s from a conservative brit. Course it helps if your Olympics in east butfukistan gets $1.3 Billion (federal) dollars in infrastructure improvements where you can skim a bit off the top, eh Mr Rmoney? Are you sure we can’t see your returns for those years?


    best brit comment: Rmoney “worse than Sarah Palin”
    that’ll leave a mark

    I just love that Rmoney campaign ad where poor poor Mr Gilchrist whines about how THESE HANDS BUILT THIS COMPANY! except for the millions in interest free guv loans (free money!) DoD contracts and all the things every other company gets like roads, bridges, schools, police, firefighters etc etc. Nope it’s just an Ayn Randian wilderness out there where the rich just get richer cuz they are so much richer, pass the Grey Poupon. No not that one, the one with 30% real gold flake.

  8. NorthernLite Says:

    “avoid paying taxes, it’s the American way.”

    It’s also the Greek way. That worked out really well for them.

  9. shcb Says:

    So Enky, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems you don’t like it when people misstate or exaggerate what you have said.

    Nl, that is what happens when taxes get unreasonable.

  10. enkidu Says:

    NL, I read somewhere that Greece has some sort of tax for swimming pool owners? Maybe it is onerous, maybe it is moderate or trifling. But it must be something substantial as there is a biggish cottage industry camouflaging the pools to avoid the tax. By some estimates ‘tax avoidance’ deprives Greece of $15 billion a year.

    But I suppose when you think teh gubermint is stealing yer money ter give free stuff to.. to.. folks who I don’t like! Well then a bit of petty tax avoidance is patriotic… wink wink (hurf durf!)

    So, wwnj are we or are we not at historic lows for federal taxation rates? links pls

  11. NorthernLite Says:

    13.9% tax rate is unreasonable?

    Then Mittens should stop driving on roads, stop supporting massive military budgets and stop drinking water from the tap. Oh who am I kidding, as if he drinks tap water…

  12. shcb Says:

    How are defining historic lows? only using top rates? all rates averaged? only effective rates averaged, meaning at times the upper rates were 90%, but few if any were in those brackets.

    If you think it is a winner, have Obama run on raising everyone’s taxes, please. You implied you believe in equal opportunity not equal outcome so everyone should have their rates raised. poor people too. Raise that 50% that doesn’t pay federal taxes, make them pay a couple percent. that is only $800 for a family of four making $40,000.

    NL where did you get the 13.9% ?

  13. enkidu Says:

    I dunno wwnj, maybe because that is what the candidate himself accepts as his tax rate paid? I know you have to wander between the weasel words here, but if 13.9% is this guy’s high-water mark, then you have to wonder what he is hiding? Maybe he should just release the last 12 years returns, like his Dad.


    You remain firm two years and two years only. So from what you have released and from what we have seen we know that there was one year when you paid about 13.9% tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking a simple yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than 13.9%?

    Romney: I haven’t calculated that. I’m happy to go back and look but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job – [I] pay taxes as legally due. I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.

    Muir: You said you would go back and look, would you look for us?

    Romney: I haven’t looked at the tax rate paid year by year. I know that I pay a very substantial amount of taxes and every year since the beginning of my career so far as I can recall.

    I would wager he has never paid more than 13.9% If you remove the charitable donations to the cult he belongs to…

    Reminds me of this story (thx boingboing)

    Corning, whose actual tax bill was -0.02 percent on $3B in earnings (that is, they got a refund), sent a rep to Congress to complain that its taxes were too high.


    Here is the crux of the problem: for wwnjs any tax is too high – unless you are blowing up brown folks, then you just put it on the national debt credit card… blame entire mess on the next guy… rinse… repeat…

    let’s just repeat that factoid: negative 0.02% is too high…

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