I already understood that Mitt Romney was a very bad man, at least according to the Obama Campaign. I didn't imagine that he was actually a carcinogen.
That is about as dirty and mendacious as one could imagine a political ad to be, in this day and time. It piles one bald faced lie on top on another. As I pointed out previously, the "vampire capitalism" storyline about Bain and GST is false. Bain did not acquire GST to shut it down; rather, it invested $100 million in modernizing the plant. Though GST ultimately failed, Bain kept it alive for eight years.
As CNN reports, Joe Soptic's wife did not lose her health insurance when Soptic lost his job. She did not become ill "a short time later" but five years after the GST plant closed. Ms. Soptic's death is tragic to be sure. It is a vicious fabrication to blame it on Mitt Romney.
Much the same is true of Harry Reid's now infamous statement that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for ten years. From the Washington Post's Fact Checker:
"The word's out that he [Romney] hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years."
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Aug. 2, 2012
Reid has generated a lot of controversy with his claim that presumptive GOP nominee did not pay any taxes for 10 years. He originally told the Huffington Post that a person who had invested with Bain Capital had called his office and told him this. Then, he told reporters in Nevada that "I have had a number of people tell me that."
Reid refused to identify any of his "sources," and the claim is manifestly false.
Romney has refused to release more than two years of tax returns, citing a precedent that is not very credible; he earned three Pinocchios for that claim. Most presidential candidates in recent years have released more than two years of returns, so Romney may be paying a political price for failing to release more. But Romney's 2010 return and his estimated 2011 return do show that he paid substantial taxes in those years.
Fact Checker Kessler awards Reid four well-deserved Pinocchios. I would not go so far as George Will and call it "McCarthyism." Reid was not accusing Romney of treason. It is comparable. Like Joe McCarthy, Reid made a flamboyant accusation based on information he claimed to have but refused to show. For the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate to make such a claim from the Senate floor makes him not just a liar but an utterly shameless liar. He doesn't care that he demeans himself, his office, or his chamber; he is willing to prostitute all those things to win an election.
I don't expect honesty in a political campaign. This is not the dirtiest Presidential campaign in American history, not by a long shot. It is almost certainly the dirtiest in decades. I make no claims here about the honesty of the Romney campaign. I do recall how Democrats persuaded themselves that they lost the White House in 2000 and 2004 only because the Republicans were willing to fight dirtier. If they lose this time, they won't be able to take refuge in such illusions. It doesn't get much dirtier or dishonest than what I have described above.