The Mitt Romney Show with Guest Stars Obama and Lehrer!

Mitt Romney - NopeDid you see the Mitt Romney Show last night? It was great! Romney spun a lot of tall tales and made all kinds of promises to good little American citizens. It might not have been such a good show had Romney’s co-stars Barack Obama and Jim Lehrer not been so passive. Luckily, many people in the press are today doing what would normally have been done last night, if the Mitt Romney Show had been something else like, say, a presidential debate.

One of the best discussions of Romney’s tall tales is by Jonathan Cohn over at The New Republic, The Four Most Misleading Moments in Romney’s Debate Performance. Cohn isn’t actually talking about “moments” in the debate; he’s talking about the debate itself. His four moments are pretty general and took up most of Romney’s 38 minutes: taxes; the deficit and spending cuts; medicare; and healthcare and pre-existing conditions.

I’ve written about most of this before, so I’m not going to go into right now. Nor am I going to quote from his effort to set the record straight. Read the whole article—it’s worth it. What I found most interesting was that Cohn ends the article with the exasperation that I seem to feel all the time these days:

As part of its post-debate analysis, ABC News asked correspondent Jonathan Karl to play the role of fact-checker. He picked out one statement from each side and rated it “mostly false.” But the Obama statement Karl picked was the description of Romney’s tax plan as costing $5 trillion—a figure, again, that comes straight from the Tax Policy Center. That’s not “mostly false.” If anything, it’s “mostly true.” Then Karl talked about Romney’s pre-existing condition promise, which really is “mostly false.” Sigh.

I would add only that given the back and forth on this question, Romney’s claim is “Pants on fire!”

Another excellent article is Igor Volsky in Think Progress, At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths In 38 Minutes. He’s just being nice, of course. By “myths” he means “lies.” It is hard to know what to quote here. I recommend clicking over and reading the whole thing.

I did like this statement that puts some numbers to “block granting” that Republicans think is a panacea:

“I would like to take the Medicaid dollars that go to states and say to a state, you’re going to get what you got last year, plus inflation, plus 1 percent, and then you’re going to manage your care for your poor in the way you think best.” Sending federal Medicaid funding to the states in the form of a block grant would significantly reduce federal spending for Medicaid because the grant would not keep up with projected health care costs. A CBO estimate of a very similar proposal from Paul Ryan found that federal spending would be “35 percent lower in 2022 and 49 percent lower in 2030 than current projected federal spending” and as a result “states would face significant challenges in achieving sufficient cost savings through efficiencies to mitigate the loss of federal funding.” “To maintain current service levels in the Medicaid program, states would probably need to consider additional changes, such as reducing their spending on other programs or raising additional revenues,” the CBO found.

And this is, of course, why Republicans push block granting. It is a way to “starve the beast.” This is one of the reasons that Republicans aggravate me so much: they talk around what they believe. I don’t blame them, though; they have no choice; their ideas are toxic.

It’s too bad the Democratic Party doesn’t have a leader who point out these things in real time. And as for Lehrer, maybe we could use a moderator who is a little younger and plugged in?

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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