As Lowell pointed out, President Obama says Mitt Romney owes the American people the truth in place of all the misrepresentations he (Romney) made at the debate last night. Indeed, the lies Mitt Romney presented to the American people are not just grounds for a correction. They require an apology. But more than that, the many lies disqualify Mitt Romney from the presidency. His barrage of untruths was just shameful.
But those same lies also suggest it is time to end the farce of the so-called presidential debates, at least as they have been presented to us in recent years. Those in the know about debates (and as a former debater, I am one of them) have long questioned whether the presidential debates are real debates. A craven, saber-rattling media makes the situation worse by craving “body blows,” regardless of substance. And let’s not forget their adoration of the horse race. But these same media ignore that you cannot win by just firing off untruths. (Some of the fact checks are linked below the fold.) And these same media folks abrogated their responsibilities by pretending the debate was about those superficial elements.
At each four-year juncture, candidates through their representatives negotiate the terms, even down to who comes up on the stage first afterwards (the wives). But all the planning cannot account for a worthless moderator and a candidate who lies faster than anyone can write or type them. I started out ready to join in the fact checking. But the speed with which Romney fabricated was just breathtaking. I gave up. Kudos to Lowell for getting some of the facts clarified. I hope the readers of BV understand just how dedicated Lowell is and has been. It is remarkable.
Certainly, the head-spinning Mitt Romney executed last night rendered such a format useless. Jim Lehrer proved himself a worthless moderator and shown himself too impotent to deal with a conscienceless Romney who fired off untruths faster and more aggressively than Lehrer could react. Indeed, Lehrer and the Commission on Presidential Debates have shown that in 2012 we should forget about them. Wind them down after this campaign and never pretend we do debates again. We do not.
I have never debated when the other side made up virtually every claim and cited purported evidence that did not exist. But the President was faced with such a situation last night. It is not that there haven’t been factless arguments made before. But Mitt Romney has reached new depths of inaccuracy, “truthiness,” and downright bald-faced lies (see the links below). That is not “winning.”
But had Obama actually taken on every one of Mitt’s lies, an impossibility given the time constraints: a) he would have run out of time; and b) everyone would have been saying the President implicitly “name-called” (too often). They would have said it did not look “presidential” (at least as the so-called mainstream media prescribe it) to have called Mittens the serial liar that he is. Given, the perverse untrustworthiness of Mitt Romney (see list of debate fact checks below and on the BV front page), the President was in a double bind. Essentially, he was screwed no matter what he did.
Here are just some of the fact checks on the debate last night:
Think Progress: 28 lies I 38 minutes (Aside: There are more.)
Huffington Post: Mitt Romney’s ten most baseless claims
Slate: Romney shakes Etch-A-Sketch
NYT Editorial Board: Virtually every time Mr. Romney spoke, he misrepresented the platform on which he and Paul Ryan are running. (Aside: He lied about the President’s positions at every juncture.)
Maddow: Romney thrived because he abandoned the pretense of honesty.
Rolling Stone: He badly misrepresented his policies.
Paul Krugman: Romney’s sick joke. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c…
How Romney got it wrong on Wall Street reform (Hint: He misrepresented everything he said about that.) http://thinkprogress.org/econo…
Think Progress: Romney admits pushing misinformation in debate.
PS I will deal with the AP’s travesty of a so-called fact-check in forthcoming posts. It is a real “piece of work.”