Mitt Romney is the most brazen liar I’ve ever seen in politics. His lying is vast in scope and borders on the pathological. If Romney told me my name was Rick, I’d check my birth certificate. My favorite of his lies is the one about Barack Obama going around the world “apologizing” for America. Totally false. Never happened. A complete fabrication. Yet Romney repeats it daily.
Beacuse Romney has been on every side of every issue multiple times, telling the truth is as alien to him as wearing unpressed jeans. Sentences are written and focus-grouped. These sentences then emerge from Romney’s oral cavity. Their veracity is of no importance. Romney’s lack of anything remotely resembling a principle allows his rhetoric to reach levels of dishonesty that Karl Rove himself probably envies.
Ironically, the more lies Romney tells, the less likely the media will brand him a liar. This is because news organizations must appear “fair and balanced” or incur the wrath of conservative bomb-throwers and the disapprobation of liberal hand-wringers. If Romney tells twenty lies, which he does almost every day, and CNN exposes them, then CNN has to find twenty lies Obama told and expose them, too. Now Barack Obama is no saint, but as a liar, he’s no Mitt Romney. It’s not even close. Therefore, CNN is unlikely to expose anybody’s lies. They won’t even go there. Too risky. As for “watchdog” outfits like Politifact — well, what about them? Wolf Blitzer and David Gregory don’t care about facts. They know how the game is played.
So can Romney continue to lie with impunity? Yes and no. The probability that the media will get him to stop lying is close to zero (although this takedown by Jake Tapper gives me a sliver of hope.) But Romney’s biggest problem is himself. He lives in his own fact-free universe of situational lying, which is fine as long as he sticks to a carefully prepared menu of untruths, distortions and flip-flops. But in an unscripted setting, such as a debate with Obama or a real interview (not a Hannity fluff job), he’s liable to get his new lies and flip-flops mixed up with his old lies and flip-flops, and say something so bizarre and indefensible as to call into question his fitness to be president. In fact, I’d go so far as to say such a scenario is likely, particularly since Romney’s prep-school bully boy personality appears to be easily rattled when he’s not surrounded by lackeys on the payroll.
Being a world-class liar and flip-flopper isn’t without peril.