I'm not trying to be strident or outrageous, but it has come to this. In at least the spirit of mid-20th-century totalitarian propaganda techniques, the Romney campaign is all in.
We suspected as much when they unabashedly and later unapologetically lifted an Obama video from the 2008 campaign, in which the Democratic candidate repeated (attribution, clipped) the Republican candidate's self-troubled admission. The really stunning dimension of that Romney ad wasn't its naked misrepresentation--this is, after all, politics--but the Romney campaign's absolute refusal to concede its absolute untruth.
When pressed on the ad's scurrility, Romney's campaign spokesmen and Romney himself would just grin their wicked, knowing little grins--the black-hearted grin of the grifter, of the political thug, of the frustrated, unaccomplished novelist. George W. Bush reinvented Reality; now Mitt Romney will reinvent Truth--it is whatever Mitt Romney says it is, although it's even more repugnantly opportunistic than that; it is, plainly, whatever 50.1 percent of the electorate is willing to believe.
To truly be a first-rate propagandist of world-class scurrility, however, one must repeat one's naked transgressions against both reality and truth. You know, just to show the bleeding-heart bastards and media watchdogs and goo-goo types that one not only intends to play rough, but without any sign of correction or contrition or rehabilitation. Ever.
In short, bullying thugs double-down, which is precisely what the Romney campaign has done in this sickening ad, which purports a shocking presidential reversal on the merits of government employment. Here I'll just leave the ad's description at that; the ad itself is too preposterous to bother with elaboration.
Doubtless the ad is aimed strictly at lowest-information voters. No one who has read a newspaper or watched any news in the last few months could absorb it without experiencing utter incredulity. And the more knowledgeable among us might be tempted to say--as I said above--well, this is, after all, politics. Everybody does it.
Yet there is something qualitatively different here. No one has ever "done it" like the Romney campaign; even throughout the heretofore most vicious presidential campaigns of, say, 1800 or 1828 or 1860, there were at least some elements of truthful reality in the wildest charges of monarchism or militarism and adulterous bigamy or violently unwanted government encroachment.
But this is new. What the Romney campaign's doing is staggeringly, venomously fresh. No one has ever done it before--not in America, anyway.
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