Mitt Romney really dropped some whoppers in his conversation with Larry Kudlow on CNBC today. Ready?
First: It’s one thing to argue that the stimulus didn’t work; granted, it goes against the consensus of economists, but there’s nothing particularly dishonest about that. But to pretend that there was no stimulus at all? That Obama simply ignored the economy in his first months of office? Here’s Romney:
Well, I think the president made an error coming into office and deciding that the economy would take care of itself and he focused his energy on a series of liberal plans that he and his friends have been working on for years; take over the health care industry, a massive regulation of financial services in this country, trying to impose unions where employees don't want them, a new energy policy, slowing down the leasing of federal lands for the production of oil and gas.
What Romney said the president did do goes from questionable to outright false: Calling the Affordable Care Act a takeover of the health-care industry gets it wrong, and the president (much to the dismay of labor) did not devote any energy to changing union rules — while the idea that Dodd-Frank constitutes “deciding that the economy would take care of itself” is, well, odd indeed. But forget all that: Romney is here flat-out lying about what Obama actually did coming into office, which was to propose a massive stimulus bill.
But while that’s a lie, and lazy one, it’s not nearly as bad as this one:
Well, I'm not going to predict, you know, the economic future, but I can tell you that you don't raise taxes on people in the middle of a downturn like this, particularly one that's gone on for three and a half years.
Yes, that’s right. Mitt Romney is actually running around telling people that the Great Recession began not in late 2007, when the economists say it did, or even at the financial crisis in September 2008 … but 3 1/2 years ago – in other words, in January 2009.
I’ve been talking a lot about lazy mendacity, and these are two prime examples of exactly what’s going on here. Note that Kudlow certainly didn’t call Romney on either of these flat-out lies, lies that are being repeated in one form or another across the spectrum of Republican-aligned and Republican-friendly press outlets. There’s simply no incentive, in that media environment, for Republican candidates to even bother trying to make a plausible case for themselves.
Keep watching, folks. Lazy mendacity isn’t going away any time soon.