There's no way I could, even for the sake of my loyal readers, hungry as they are for my opinions, watch the R convention. But I have read about it, and watched a couple of clips. So it's become very clear: the Romney camp, and the entire cadré of R mouthpieces, have decided to base the rest of their campaign entirely on two lies. What does that say about what's left of their ideas?
1) Obama gutted welfare reform.
2) We built that.
There it is: it's all they think they've got. Rather than try to convince people of the worthiness of their ideas, everyone of which comes pre-failed since Ronald Reagan tried them and George Bush took them to their illogical limit, they've thrown in the towel on discourse and gone all in on deception. Which is surprising in a way, because the last three decades have been nothing if not the careful and successful dumbifying of their potential electorate. At this point they could say pretty much anything -- like, you know, it's Obama that's trying to destroy Medicare; Obama's vast wealth means he's out of touch; we loves us some women's rights -- and their Foxified voters would lap it up like labradors. But, then, they're aiming at those mythical undecideds, and they've decided this is the only way to reach them.
How unsure of their message must they be? How derisive of those voters to whom they're broadcasting their lies?
I suppose it'd be a waste of pixels, once again to point out the obvious falsehood of the claims they've now made central to their appeal. I could repeat that every fact-checker, every impartial commentator, has said the welfare claim is an out-and-out lie, that what Obama did is grant flexibility requested by several governors, including, way back, Mitt Romney himself. And that the flexibility is predicated on getting more welfare recipients working, not fewer. (Interestingly, unsurprisingly, now that Mitt has made the lie his favorite subject -- justifying it by saying it's working, and announcing that he doesn't care about the facts,* literally -- a couple of the governors are trying to wiggle out of the fact that they made the requests. Morals? Ethics? Honesty? In today's Rs?)
You didn't build that, said Barack Obama. If unwittingly ripe for decontextualization, it was a truism: if we stop providing the infrastructure that people need to succeed, success won't happen. It's such a truism that Mitt Romney, who's never said anything without subsequent changing of his mind, has said it himself, even as yelled out the lie to an credulous audience. (What an unmitigated asshole!)
(It occurs to me that there's another lie coming out of the convention as well: in displaying a "debt clock" they're ignoring the causes and blaming it all on Obama. The truth of the matter is quite different. But who cares, right?)
Now we know, beyond the slightest doubt: Republicans have decided they can't win without lying, that they've concluded that people whose votes they seek won't choose their candidates based on honest characterization of their plans, or a true discussion of Obama's. How pathetic, how cynical. How derisive they are of voters. How poorly it speaks of a national political party, choosing to base an entire campaign for the presidency, for control of the government, unapologetically, inarguably, on lies. How Orwellian. How characteristic of those regimes they claim to hate!
Soon enough, we'll find out: how dumb are American voters? Sadly, I think I know the answer.
[As is often the case, after I write something I read the words of another who says it better. This time it's Robert Reich.] [And here's another. And another. Lots of people besides me look at Romney and his current party and see the same thing. Just not teabaggers and Foxophiles. Not, in other words, people willing and/or able to process information.]
* That link is worth reading, by the way: from a more credible and impartial source than myself (a Christian one, even!), it outlines Romney's love of the lie and how he gets around the fact-checkers.