They do this with any and all subjects, real or imaginary. Kenyan birth, anyone? Death panels? Jeeps from China?
On Nov. 1, a letter on this page claimed that Democrats intend to double Medicare deductions from seniors’ income.
An editor’s note added that this had “no basis in fact” though it was “widely posted on Internet sites.”
Quoting the AARP, the claim was “an attempt to scare older Americans” — as if FDR’s admonition against “fear itself” was not a cry to rally us, but a blueprint for how to trick us.
That editorial note is called “fact-checking,” something lost on those who prefer the convenience of “widely posted” claims.
Hence, a Romney staffer’s open declaration: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
Result? A never-before-seen strategy: The Romney/Ryan campaign expected voters to disbelieve readily accessible evidence.
Doctored quotations kept tripping off Romney’s tongue, something with which Newt Gingrich bitterly confronted him during a Florida primary debate.
By summer, the GOP embraced the tactic with their convention’s indignant theme — adapted from Romney’s warp of Obama’s reference to public infrastructure into a reference to private business:
“Yes, We Built It!”
If bearing false witness were a crime, the site of the Republicans’ next national convention would be a choice between Leavenworth and Sing Sing.
With unchecked Internet sites for support, however, false witness is now “balanced” opinion, and the Grand Obstructionist Party figures to “romney” the future.
Consider a romneyed past:
The Gettysburg Address romneyed into a wish to have government “of the people, by the people, for the people perish from the earth.”
The Declaration of Independence romneyed into a groveling concession that “dissolves the bands of liberty.”
The Lord’s Prayer romneyed into a travel brochure for Las Vegas: “Give us our trespasses, lead us into temptation, deliver us evil.”
Give me one hour and a pint of Guinness and I’ll romney the Sermon on the Mount into a synopsis for “The Art of the Deal.”
One stone may be full, one political career finished, but both the Mayan calendar and romneying will continue through 2013 and beyond.
One chopped onto another stone, the other clicked from thin air.
Jack Garvey of Plum Island can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.