The Washington Post

Truth takes a beating in Tampa

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney got from his party last night something that has eluded him for most of his six-year quest for the nomination. He got the base of the GOP to chant “We want Mitt!” This is no small achievement for a man who lost the nomination four years ago, who was viewed with suspicion by the conservative base until he chose Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) to be his running mate and is the least popular nominee of either party in the past 30 years.

Unfortunately, Romney earned those cheers by hosting a convention built on a repetition of provable lies, distortions and misinformation. Speakers continued to hammer President Obama over “You didn’t build that.” Even though fact checkers have shown the attack to be a blatant distortion of what the president actually said. They claimed that Obama “gutted” welfare reform. Even though he didn’t.

They claimed the president was raiding Medicare of more than $700 billion. Even though Ryan’s own budget cuts $700 billion from the program (and turns it into a voucher program). The difference is in what they do with the savings. Obama plows them into the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) to shore up Medicare. Ryan and Romney would use them to reduce the deficit or, perhaps, finance the tax cuts.

The Romney campaign isn’t the least bit troubled by running afoul of the truth. According to a report from Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a panel organized by ABC News, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” That the pollster is the person saying this tells me one thing: The lies and distortions are working in Romney’s favor.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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