Mitt Romney — October 4, 2012 at 7:11 am

Mitt Romney discovers bipartisanship and embraces Democratic ideas at first debate


Last night was a victory of sorts for Mitt Romney. He came across as almost human and actually seemed to be delivering facts and substance in his comments. But the reality is that he did nothing of the sort. He made a lot of comments that sounded like facts and like he was staking out a position but, when you scratch the surface, you find it’s just a thin layer of whitewash on the same undefined, nebulous candidate that we’ve watched for the past year.

Mitt Romney says he’s going increase military spending, cut taxes (except on the very wealthy), give tax breaks to businesses, put more money into Medicare and cut the deficit all while stimulating the economy. The astonishing part is that he says it with a straight face and people — well, some people — actually believe that it is possible to do these things.

When he was pinned down on what federal spending he was going to cut to balance his budget, we got this nice little exchange:

I will eliminate all programs by this test if they do not pass it. Is the program so critical is it is worth barring china to pay for it? Obamacare is on my list. I use the term with all respect. I will get rid of that. I will stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I like Big Bird. I cannot keep spending money to borrow from China to pay for it.

Okay, that probably sounds reasonable to some folks. Sesame Street, Nature, and all of the other fine programming we get from Public Television and Public Radio are just luxuries we cannot afford in this day and age, is what Mitt Romney is saying. So he’s going to close the trillion dollar budget gap by doing away with it. Here’s the the thing: the federal government only spends $445 million a year on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That’s MILLION, not billion or trillion. It’s literally about 0.01% of the federal budget. In other words, eliminate the entire outlay to the CPB and you wouldn’t even notice it.

So, when asked what spending cuts he would make on national television in front of the biggest audience he’s faced yet, Mitt Romney gives a non-answer that actually sounds like an answer. The dude is good at this.

When President Obama said that one way to raise revenues was to stop subsidizing the almost comically-profitable Big Oil companies, Mitt Romney said — and I’m not kidding here, he actually said this — “[A]ctually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies”. The fact of the matter is that it goes largely to the five biggest oil companies, BP, Exxon, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips.

He also repeatedly stated that he is not going to cut taxes on the wealthy or raise taxes on the middle class. But the fact is, there simply is no way to reduce the deficit without more federal revenue so somebody is going to have to pay. And do you REALLY think Mitt Romney is going to raise taxes on the Mitt Romneys of the world. Please.

Another thing that was amazing to watch was Mitt Romney saying how much he liked major elements of President Obama’s plans. Coverage of preexisting conditions? Check! Reining in Wall Street fraud? Check! Regulations to keep Americans safe? Check! Renewable energy? Check! You’d almost think he hadn’t been slamming President Obama on these very same things for the past 12 months.

Several times during the evening he told us he was going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with Romneycare which is Obamacare. Efficiency!

But the piece that gave me the biggest laugh of the evening was Mitt Romney’s claim that he was going to work “across the aisle” with Democrats. The only thing wrong with Obamacare, he told us, is that it wasn’t bipartisan enough. If only it had some Republican votes, it would have been fine. After all, HE got some Republican votes when HE passed Romneycare.

Here’s the reality: Romneycare was passed during a time before Republicans had completely lost their damn minds and became willing to hurt the country just to score political points. Plus, he was working with Massachusetts Republicans, not the hateful, destroy-President-Obama-at-any-cost breed of Republicans that currently inhabit Congress.

But, come on, let’s be serious here for a minute: Mitt Romney doesn’t want to get rid of Obamacare because it wasn’t bipartisan enough. As President Obama pointed out, it was a Republican idea in the first place! Mitt Romney says he wants to get rid of Obamacare because it plays well in anti-Obamaland. Period.

And the idea that Mitt Romney is going to work with Democrats to do it is laughable. One of the best lines of the night came toward the end when President Obama mentioned this very thing:

I think Gov. Romney’s going to have a busy first day because he’s also going to repeal ObamaCare, which will not be very popular among Democrats as you’re sitting down with them.

There is so much of what Mitt Romney said last night that sounded good and seemed full of content. But it wasn’t. It was just more pandering lies that Romney thinks undecided voters want to hear. He was glib and almost professorially lecturing in his approach, making him seem reasonable. But when you peel back the facts, you see that he’s actually lying again.

He’s not going to solve the budget problem by cutting the budget in serious ways.

He’s not going to be able to trim the deficit without raising revenues and if he’s not going to raise taxes on the wealthy then you can be sure it’s going to come out of the hides of the Middle Class.

He’s not going to regulate Wall Street.

He’s not going work with Democrats to get his agenda passed.

He’s not going to tell us any specifics about what it is that he actually will do to achieve his goals. And that’s because it’s not possible to do what he says he’s going to do. The math simply does not add up.

Don’t be fooled by this glib sham artist. Mitt Romney is no better than the snake oil salesman at the carnival. He’s all show but, when you peel back the veneer, he’s still just a massively wealthy businessman without a clue about what it means to be a middle class or poor American. And he has no business being anywhere near the Oval Office.

[Image credit: Sarah Burris, used with permission]