A reader emails me an explaination as to why Mitt Romney’s campaign aired that ad ripping Obama’s words out of context in an almost comically brazen and dishonest way:

The reason Romney went uber-negative and put out the ad which lied about President Obama’s words was very simple and strategically brilliant: to signal to the right-wing conservatives that he, Romney, will go to any lengths, say anything, bear all criticisms, to defeat Obama.

This interpretation is practically supported by what the Romney camp itself has said about the ad. Romney advisers have proudly boasted that their dishonesty “worked,” because it secured more media attention for the ad and baited the Obama team into an all-out response, creating the impression of a head-to-head media showdown between Romney and the President. It’s only a tiny leap from there to the conclusion that the Romney camp saw the dishonesty itself as a way to prove to GOP primary voters that Romney will do whatever it takes to beat Obama. And if this is the game, then the Romney camp’s unrepentance in the face of widespread media condemnation only helps, signaling that Romney is willing to employ whatever tactics are necessary to end the Obama presidency even if it means bravely taking a sustained beating from the Obama-worshipping liberal media along the way.

My view is that all the boasting from Romney’s advisers about their own strategic brilliance is just bluster. If they’re willing to run an ad this dishonest, why would anyone believe anything they say about it? It’s more likely that they lied, got caught, and came up with another set of falsehoods to explain the lie away. But who knows — maybe the above interpretation is true. Maybe the Romney team thinks a deliberate show of dishonesty will carry appeal for GOP primary voters who hate Obama so much that they want a candidate who will throw even the most basic standards of honesty and decency out the window to defeat him. If so, that says a lot about the Romney campaign’s regard for those voters, doesn’t it?