GOP tactic: Damn the facts, attack attack attack!

  • Published on September 12th, 2012

Romney smirks at death of US ambassador to LibyaWashington has finally erupted in outrage at Mitt Romney’s lies, although it took his attempting to politicize the deaths of five Americans in last night’s Mideast violence to do it.

Romney smirked as he concluded his press conference. He thought he’d done good. The man has absolutely no shame. (As @KagroX tweeted, “What has Romney just done here? Remarked on the murder of US diplomats? Or fired a factory full of workers?”)

This may well be the turn-around moment that costs Romney any last shred of hope he may have had of winning this election.

The sad part is, this kind of over-the-top, truthless smear has become the GOP standard over the past few years.

  • Even though it was perfectly clear that President Obama was talking about shared infrastructure like roads and bridges that the government provides to small businesses, the Romney campaign turned “You didn’t build that” into a lying centerpiece of both their advertising campaign, and day one of the GOP convention. Even after it was completely debunked.
  • Even though it was perfectly clear that the scientists at the University of East Anglia were talking about a statistical technique when they referred to using a “trick” to deal with climate change data, the GOP attack machine turned it into “climategate” and used it as the centerpiece of a year’s worth of attacks on climate science and scientists. Even after it was completely debunked.
  • You can’t walk ten feet in Washington these days without hearing some Senator, Congressman, or Presidential candidate referring to environmental regulations as “job-killing”. Even though it’s perfectly clear that the regulations in question prevent workers and children from dying. And even though the GOPers don’t actually introduce any job-saving or job-creating proposals of their own (other than tax cuts). And even though when it comes to actually saving jobs – at Detroit automakers, or at windfarms that need a government subsidy for their first few years – their attitude is “let the market decide” (that is, “let ’em fail, we don’t care.”). Even after it’s proven that the regulations don’t actually, you know, kill jobs.

So, is it more over-the-top to accuse the President who actually killed Osama Bin Laden of being a foreign policy weakling who apologizes to our enemies even as Americans are dying? Or to accuse the President of being a job-killer when he’s actually created more jobs in four years than Bush did in eight?

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Well, at least the Washington press corps is finally waking up to what’s going on.

@davidgregory tweeted:

Romney appears to have launched a political attack even before facts of embassy violence were known. Then uses day to issue vague FP vision


Unless Mitt has gamed crisis out in some manner completely invisible to Gang of 500,doubling down=most craven+ill-advised move of ’12

NBC’s Chuck Todd described it as “one of the most over-the-top and (it turns out) incorrect attacks of the general-election campaign.”

You’d expect the Sarah Palins of the world to quickly pounce on something like this, and she predictably did. But a presidential nominee running for the highest office in the land? After the facts have come out, last night’s Romney statement only feeds the narrative that his campaign is desperate.

Josh Marshall:

So while American diplomats were dying in the field, Romney pops up with an egregious attempt to politicize the deaths with a flat out lie.

…Bear in mind, this was all happening while attacks on US personnel abroad were ongoing.

Ben Smith at Buzzfeed:

“They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up,” said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an “utter disaster” and a “Lehman moment” — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.

… “I guess we see now that [the Romney campaign has been avoiding foreign policy] because they’re incompetent at talking effectively about foreign policy,” said the Republican. “This is just unbelievable — when they decide to play on it they completely bungle it.”

… “Romney blew it and revealed how seriously maladroit he is when it comes to foreign affairs and national security,” said Steve Clemons, the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. “An attack on an Embassy, the murder of U.S. officials including an Ambassador, is an attack on all Americans and the idea of America — and Romney gave terrorists what they want — a divided country still torn emotionally and politically by the events of 9-11. Romney talks of leadership but with his reckless commentary when events were fragile and still unfolding, he belly-flopped.”

Even Peggy Noonan, Nixon speachwriter and general GOP apologist, says, “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours.”

Here’s another view of the smirk, as Romney walks away from the podium in this AP photo:

AP photo: Romney smirks at death of US ambassador

What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

And watch that awful smirk at the end of Romney’s statement:

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.