10 Rankest Hypocrisies of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party
White House hopeful Mitt Romney, pictured on September 1, joined the latest chorus of criticism launched by fellow Republicans at President Barack Obama on Wednesday, attempting to take the shine off the Democratic convention.
1. Romney has promised that his first action on day one of a Romney administration would be to repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act. Of course, he wouldn’t have any authority to do that and attempting to pass legislation in congress would get stopped short in the Democratic-controlled senate. However, he may want to have a discussion with his running mate. It was recently disclosed that Paul Ryan quietly applied for funding for a Wisconsin healthcare clinic in his district. The funds would come entirely from the Affordable Care Act that Ryan and Romney now propose to repeal.
2. In an interview on the Bill Bennett radio show, Mitt Romney lashed out at what he considered to be false ads by a pro-Obama super PAC. In the course of his tirade he lamented that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” Romney said this even as he refused to pull his own ads that had been rated “Pants-on-Fire” lies by PolitiFact. Subsequently, the Romney campaign decided to abandon any pretense to honesty and declare that fact-checkers had “jumped the shark,” and that they would no longer “let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” In other words, we will lie if we feel like it.
3. At the GOP convention in Tampa, Ann Romney gave a keynote speech in which she told women, “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you.” It was a naked attempt to appeal to women voters the GOP is having trouble connecting with. However, beyond her flattery she never uttered a word of support for issues of importance to women. There was no mention of equal pay, gender discrimination in the workplace, parental leave, or child welfare services like healthcare or nutritional programs. The only references she made to education were how fortunate her husband and children were to have the benefit of attending first-rate institutions that most Americans will never see. And the GOP platform strikes a markedly different tone by banning access to family planning services and effectively asserting that women, “the hope of America,” are not competent to make decisions about their own bodies.
4. The comments of GOP senate candidate Todd Akin regarding “legitimate rape” caused a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Many on the right insisted that Akin withdraw from the Missouri senate race. However, most of the criticism was directed at the harm Akin caused to the GOP’s prospects of winning the seat, rather than to the offensive views he articulated. There was abundant gnashing of teeth over Akin’s stupidity for putting the election at risk. But when it comes to women, the right’s policies are actually a logical conclusion of Akin’s dumb outburst. In fact, Paul Ryan and Akin cosponsored a bill in the House that sought to redefine the term “rape.” Their bill would make federal funds unavailable for victims unless the crime was deemed “forcible,” which would have excluded many assaults that were statutory, incest or under duress.
5. Fox News and Romney have both recently made an issue of legislation in Ohio that would remove early voting availability for all voters except those in the military. The Obama Justice Department challenged the law arguing that every voter should have early access to the polls. Romney and Fox responded by accusing the president of wanting to make it more difficult for soldiers to vote, even though the administration’s position is to make voting easier for everyone. What Romney and Fox did not mention was that their position would have denied early voting to over 900,000 Ohio veterans (in addition to millions of other Ohio residents) who were not included in the GOP’s bill. [Note: An Ohio court just ruled in favor of the administration's position, but the Ohio Secretary of State insisted he would defy the court order to open the polls.]
6. Mitt Romney’s problems with his financial records are well known. He continues to refuse to release more than two years of his tax returns even as more evidence comes out that he has engaged in shenanigans involving off-shore banks and other tax avoidance schemes. Nevertheless, Romney had the audacity to address a group of donors and complain about big businesses that “save money by putting various things in the places where there are low-tax havens around the world.” Apparently that’s only acceptable for wealthy presidential candidates.
7. Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Mitt Romney says yes. The key issue of the Romney campaign from its inception has been his contention that the economy is in dismal shape and that it’s the president’s fault. Romney has said on numerous occasions that Obama may have inherited a troubled economy, but he made it worse. However, when asked by radio host Laura Ingraham about improving economic indicators, he said, “Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession.” Ingraham was stunned and gave Romney a second shot noting that he wasn’t helping his argument. Romney held firm saying, “Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.” Soon after, Romney went back to falsely accusing Obama of making things worse.
8. While running for the GOP nomination for president in 2007, Romney was asked by reporters if he agreed with comments by then-candidate Obama that if Osama bin Laden were discovered in Pakistan he would take action if the Pakistanis did not. Romney responded, “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.” Earlier this year, on the anniversary of the death of bin Laden (who was killed by American Special Forces in Pakistan), Romney diminished President Obama's role by claiming, “Anybody would have made that call.” Well…not just anybody.
9. Romney was a vocal opponent of the auto industry bailout orchestrated by the Obama administration. He famously wrote an op-ed for the New York Times with the title "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Fast-forward a couple of years to a newly profitable and growing automobile industry and we find that Romney has shifted his position. Today he not only claims he supported the bailout, but he considers himself responsible for its success. He told ABC News that “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” That’s a little like Pontius Pilate taking credit for Jesus coming back.
10. When Romney ran for the senate in Massachusetts in 1994, he claimed to support abortion rights and punctuated his commitment to that position with a story about a close relative who died as the result of an illegal abortion. In a debate with his opponent, Ted Kennedy, Romney referenced his family’s loss and said “It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.” So Romney once made an unwavering commitment never to force his beliefs on others, but now he’s pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Is he through with grieving now? Is he comfortable with the grief that other families will suffer if his promise to repeal Roe v. Wade is fulfilled?
Hypocrisy and the Republican Party have never been separated by much The GOP was the originator of the healthcare insurance mandate, but flipped to opposing it after it was proposed by a Democratic president. The GOP supported the DREAM Act until Obama put it on the legislative agenda. Cap and trade was a GOP innovation. And the war hawks of the Republican right – Bush, Cheney, Rove, Boehner, Bolton, Limbaugh, Hannity, Kristol, Beck, et al. – never saw a day of combat. Mitt Romney, after protesting in favor of the draft to send other kids to Vietnam, avoided service via his Mormon missionary work in Paris, and received multiple academic deferments.
The lies that have been so freely disseminated by the right are a serious impediment to democracy. But the GOP's hypocrisy is just as thickly applied and just as deceitful. It is emblematic of the character (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party.