Op-Eds


Mitt's telling the truth. Seriously

By Jennifer Granholm, POLITICO

I’m as guilty as the next progressive in calling out Mitt Romney for his lies. There have been so many it’s getting boring. I get whiplash trying to keep track. Google “Romney” and “lies” — and you get 59.3 million entries.

So I decided to buck the trend. Let’s take him at his word.

I say, let’s give Romney a break.

When I started listening closely, I realized: Wow, he really hasn’t moderated his messages in this campaign. If anything, he’s pushing the message and policy harder. This should come as exciting news for the far right.

So I’m here to proclaim: Romney is telling the truth. We should believe him when it comes to his plans for our country.

Now, I confess, I was a little worried that my newfound belief in Romney’s consistency and veracity would be tested when he spoke before the Latino Coalition summit. How, I wondered, would he reconcile his harsh anti-immigrant positions with this crowd?

Fortunately, my worries about him Etch-A-Sketching away his GOP primary positions were assuaged when I learned that he never even used the word “immigration” in his address. He didn’t mention “self-deportation,” either.

And you had to admire the man’s consistency on Monday. When the Supreme Court struck down portions of Arizona’s law and Romney’s spokesman repeatedly, insistently refused to modify his candidate’s immigration position with reporters, my fears of another flip-flop were assuaged. Twenty times he was asked to clarify, and 20 times he passed up the chance to move to the middle. So folks, back off the poor man.

We can still believe him when he says he would veto the DREAM Act, and when he says he would push for policies that would cause immigrants to “self-deport.” He still considers Arizona’s harsh immigration laws a model for the country. Whew.

We can take him at his word on other issues as well. When he says he means to lay off teachers, firefighters and police officers, believe it. By embracing the Ryan budget, he’s made it super clear. States would see their funding wiped out for those categories. In fact, most of the federal government “would cease to exist,” according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, using a CBO analysis, if we follow Ryan’s fiscal plan.

If Congress opts to pass the House Republican budget proposal as Romney urges, it would cost us 4.1 million jobs through 2014, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Grover Norquist has got to be pinching himself. Maybe he can use a smaller bathtub for his drown-the-government party.

Let’s believe Romney when he says he wants to cut those jobs. He’s not kidding.

Similarly, when Romney said he would have let the auto industry fail, maybe it wasn’t just a pander to the tea party. Let’s assume he actually meant it. As the former leader of a firm that specializes in taking on debt and bankrupting companies, Romney knows exactly what he is saying when he tells people that the automakers “should have gone through traditional bankruptcy.” Read: Kill the U.S. auto industry and its pesky unions all in one fell swoop!

He could have laid off workers, crushed the United Auto Workers and jettisoned pensions and health care plans for senior retirees — then had the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. pick up the tab.

In other words, he would’ve broken up the companies and sold off the pieces — just like he did at Bain. No inconsistency here. The bankruptcy business is right up his alley. No doubt, if he were still in the private sector, he would have made millions on the deal. If it cost America 1.4 million more lost jobs during the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, so be it. Take him at his word.

I’m totally prepared to trust him when he utters the word “vouchers.” Romney loves vouchers! Medicare, for example, would be run by a voucher system someday, with seniors receiving a fixed amount. If they needed something more, they’d have the choice to pay for it out of their own pocket.

Seniors’ peace of mind due to certainty of coverage is replaced by the joy of personal responsibility! Mom will appreciate that, for sure.

When Romney said he wants to turn our public schools over to private, for-profit organizations funded through a voucher system, he’s telling you the truth. You can have the privilege of sending your kids to Wal-Mart High someday.

You have to admit it’s exhausting to constantly try to interpret Romney’s political-life nuances. It makes things so much easier when you just believe the man’s statements of the past year.

Don’t try to decode the Ouija board. Don’t overthink it. No “He can’t really mean that, can he?” No “Oh, that was just his position in the primaries — any day now he’ll move back to the center.”

People, accept it! After all, Romney vowed last week, “When I make a promise to you, I will keep it.”

So let’s start taking him at his word. He’s going to cut millions of jobs across America, destroy the rights of workers to organize, privatize Medicare and public schools, roll back environmental protections, abandon clean-energy efforts, give corporations and the wealthy more tax cuts, appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and veto rational immigration reform.

Believe him when he says these things.

And then, get thee immediately to the nearest swing state and work like hell to make sure he doesn’t get the chance to do it. 6/26/2012