To and Fro With Duplicitous Mitt

By Jeffrey Page

I’m not sure who first confronted a liar and declared, “You, sir, are a stranger to the truth.” Nor do I know how the great Yiddish expression “Pish nisht af mein fus, un dertzail mir az si regant” (Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining) came into being.

But here we are after what seems like the hundred years of the Republican campaign, now with just 131 days left until the election and both expressions have significance.

It finally dawned on the Republicans that they may get their money from guys in white shoes and pastel colored golf blazers, and they may yap on and on about their view that government should not provide any service except what is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, but that elections are decided by ordinary people with mortgages, illnesses, kids to educate, and intense worry about the future of their jobs.

And many of those people are Latino.

So when the Supreme Court tossed most of the onerous Arizona immigration measure – salvaging the part that allows the police to declare like Peter Lorre “Your papers are not in order” as they write a ticket for overtime parking – reporters called on Mitt Romney for comment. But Romney had a problem:

His party’s Supreme Court made the ruling against most of the Arizona law.

His party’s Arizona governor had enacted the law with her signature.

His party’s outer fringes have serious problems with people born someplace overseas.

His party’s members still capable of rational thought, who have resisted the onslaught of the Tea Party, understand that that the GOP’s continued nativist fear and/or loathing of immigrants – as the immigrant population increases – will cost them dearly in elections to come, maybe starting with the one in November.

So, did Mitt call a news conference and proclaim, “This ruling stinks?” Or did he assert, “The court should be commended?”

He did neither. Instead he did what he does so well. He ducked having to face the press on what is arguably the most contentious issue of this election year, and issued a gutless press release in which he attacked President Obama’s executive order on allowing certain undocumented young people to remain in the U.S. And Mitt declined to say anything else about the specifics of the court’s ruling.

Romney doesn’t understand that refusing to respond seriously – and issuing a press release is such a refusal – when you’re after the most important job in the world, is a form of dishonesty. It’s kind of like the time Romney said Obama is unqualified to be president because he’s “never worked in the private sector.” This of course ignored Obama’s work as a writer, attorney, teacher and community organizer. That’s OK Mitt, maybe no one noticed.

Maybe he had nothing to say into a TV camera for fear of offending some Republican yahoos. Or maybe some Hispanic or Latino voters, but he will continue to condescend to them by uttering the required “Buenos Dias” at southern and western campaign stops and then turn the show over to his son Craig, who is fluent in Spanish, to deliver the message.

“How can we trust him on anything?” Newt Gingrich has said.

“If a man’s dishonest to obtain a job, he’ll be dishonest on the job,” Mike Huckabee has said.

Romney is a “chameleon,” Michelle Bachmann has said.

Chameleon? Mitt? In 1994 Romney (running for the Senate), said abortion should be safe and legal – though he opposed it. In 2002 Romney (running for governor), asked abortion supporters for their backing. That same year, Romney responded to a Planned Parenthood survey, saying he supported state funding of “abortion services” under Medicaid. “In 2005 Romney (as governor), identified himself as pro-life. In 2007 Romney (running for president), was quoted in The Times: “I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice.” This year (running for president), Romney said Planned Parenthood should be defunded.

Hold on. I hope that’s just rain on my leg.


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