Liars and Taggarts and Boors, Oh My!

Here’s a lie, told while in office. A successful lie, too:

“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages. This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind.”

Tagg Romney inadvertently let the cat slip out of the bag, and it was a family affair.   Here’s the lie:

Tagg Romney jokes about ‘swing’ at Obama
Kevin Robillard / Politico

Mitt Romney’s eldest son joked in a radio interview that he wanted to “take a swing” at President Barack Obama after Obama called his father a liar.  —  “Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the stage and take a swing at him,” Tagg said, laughing.

Now, let me tell you the lie about the lie:

Josh Romney accompanied his mother to the show and sat in the audience. The five hosts grilled him about a comment this week from eldest brother, Tagg.

Tagg Romney told a North Carolina radio station on Wednesday that during the presidential debate earlier this week, he was so frustrated at the president calling his dad a liar he wanted to “jump out of [his] seat and … rush down the debate stage and take a swing at him.”

“That brother has slugged me a couple of times; I am sure President Obama has nothing to worry about,” Josh Romney joked.

You really don’t like to see your dad get beat up by the media or by President Obama, or whatever it is. That was just something he was saying off-the-cuff, and I assure you he didn’t mean it.

(His dad was “beat up” by “President Obama”? Poor little Joshie. How are Malia and Sasha supposed to feel about the first debate, then?)

Princess Romney appeared on the View,
today in lieu of her craven husband

Uh, yeah. Before we get to the lie or the lie that Josh says it’s a lie, let’s step back and take a look at the Romney family dynamic.

Daddy lies. The campaign “walks it back.” Lather, rinse, repeat.

That’s a fancy term for lie, kiddies, and it’s happened with such distressing regularity that the ever-somnolent mainstream press don’t seem to care anymore. What is the great attack on Candy Crowley for her debate moderation? That she called a lie a lie. That she corrected a fact — a fact crucial to the debate.

And the continual use of the non-thought and non-argument that “all politicians lie” as justification. No: some lying is necessary to politics, because absolute, unrelenting truth is impossible. Try it for a day and see how it comes out. Whatever you think about somebody, tell them EXACTLY what’s on your mind. And save a beefsteak you’ll need for that black eye you’ll probably be nursing. Yes, all humans lie. But not all humans are Richard Nixon, nor are they Oliver North, nor are they Charlie Manson. There is an ORDER of lies that matters very much, and I want you to think about the kind of lying Mitt does as it applies to what kind of lying he’d do AFTER he got into the office he’s trying to lie his way into.

When someone is demonstrably untruthful, when they look you square in the eye and lie, and leave it to their lackeys to say “That statement is inoperative,” as Ron Ziegler, Nixon’s Press Secretary coined for the defining euphemism of Watergate. It literally MEANS “That was not the truth.” And that’s ultimately the issue here. Get that.

Actually, dude, you WERE

The “Iran Contra Affair“s Oliver North basically rubbed congress’ nose in his entire “shadow government” cabal with euphemisms and wrapping himself in the weepy flag in one of the more brazen acts of mendacity in modern American politics, and managed to get off on the technicality that his congressional testimony was given under “immunity” and it became impossible for prosecutors to retry the case after an appeals court threw out his felony convictions under this rationale. North skated.

[If you want to hear the perfect example of the insincere/sincere bluster of a cornered crook, AND his chastisement of the investigators for having dared investigate him or question Reagan, click here.]

Nixon ran secret wars in Laos and Cambodia. Reagan sold at least 2500 TOW missiles, and Hawk missiles and parts (and lord knows what other spare parts for the US manufactured fighter jets sold to the Shah and now needed for Iran’s 8 year war with Iraq)  to Iran and smuggled drugs up from South America to finance his anti-Nicaraguan war — the one Congress had explicitly prohibited him from running. George Bush the Smarter pardoned the Reagan felons on his way out the door in 1993, by the by. Reagan still holds the record for most felony convictions of any U.S. Administration, making the Grant Administration look like Elliot Ness by comparison.

George H.W. Bush did his part, too:

However, when CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations “liability” for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of allowing his drug operations to proceed unchecked. Operation Just Cause, whose ostensible purpose was to capture Noriega, pushed the former Panamanian leader into the Papal Nuncio where he surrendered to U.S. authorities. His trial took place in Miami, where he was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Noriega’s prison sentence was reduced from 30 years to 17 years for good behavior. After serving 17 years in detention and imprisonment, his prison sentence ended on September 9, 2007.He was held under U.S. custody before being extradited to French custody where he was sentenced to 7 years for laundering money from Colombian drug cartels.

This isn’t BS conspiracy, kiddies. It’s real, if suppressed history.

A lie within a lie within a lie: draft dodger pretends
to have landed jet on aircraft carrier, claims that
“just” invasion of Iraq is “mission accomplished.”

George W. Bush’s Administration was simply a kleptocracy that came within a very uncomfortable gnat’s eyelash from a military dictatorship with suspension of habeas corpus, suspension of Posse Comitatus, secret prisons, torture, and the wholesale looting of the treasury with secret “no-bid” contracts going to political cronies. When the Pentagon auditors attempted to do their jobs, they were summarily dismissed. Oh, and virtually unlimited surveillance of American citizens including but not limited to the predations of the “Patriot Act” — as toxic a lie as when Augustus Caesar ended the Roman Republic by proclaiming its “restoration.”

Real or photoshopped? To the GOP it doesn’t actually
matter if it furthers their agenda. Lies matter.

Lies MEAN something, and mean liars ought to merit nothing at all.

Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, and at least Josh Romney are all liars.

They inadvertently say what they think, and then another walks it back for them. The height of Mr. Romney’s Northian gall was when he decided to start calling the President a liar. But when Tagg Romney says that he wants to “take a swing” at the President of the United States of America, he’s gone too far, but in the Romney culture, no one can admit that. They won’t apologize. They’ll joke about Tagg not being able to punch too hard, say they “assure you he didn’t mean it” and then act LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? What’s wrong with YOU that you are bothered by this?

Well, the President of the United States of America represents ME, aholes. If Tagg thinks it’s OK to take a swing at Obama, he’s saying that it’s OK to take a swing at me. When Romney disrespects the President and treats him like a ribbon store clerk, he’s disrespecting ME, and the office that Mr. Obama holds in trust for ME.

Got that?

I will lie to you. You will lie to me. That’s inevitable. But there is a threshold lie that is a dealbreaker. When — as happened to me — a friend of mine comes into my campaign office, pretends to be my pal, and then I learn that his wife has been my opponent’s campaign manager since nearly the moment I declared for office, I don’t accept his protestations “Oh, I told you.” No. If you had, I’d have remembered. Some things never slip into the memory hole. You lie to me, you fat stooge.

And he probably won’t answer anyway

And that’s a threshold lie: I don’t do business with him. He’s not welcome in my home. His spying on my campaign materials and preparations isn’t something that I can forgive or forget. I don’t hold a grudge, but I don’t do business with serpents.

And that’s the level Mitt reaches all too often: paranoid, secretive, willing to lie at the drop of a hat, and, most importantly: a bully.

Just like Tagg’s comment, which is, let’s face it, the response of an entitled bully, and not the civil, civic response that democratic process requires.

To ignore the endless whining, puling and “inoperative” statements of Mendacious Mitt is to pretend that Watergate, or Iran-Contra, or Invasion Iraq didn’t matter.

They’re now precedents for presidents and if you are so foolish as to hand Mitt the keys to the White House, consider that you’re fundamentally handing the paranoia of Richard Nixon the  unrepealed and almost absolute powers of George W. Bush.

Think forward in time and ask yourself what four years of fact-checking and then back-walking would be like.

And then tell me that the choice in this election isn’t merely a choice between two philosophies or temperaments, but also not a choice between civilization and barbarity.

And then don’t look surprised when I laugh in your face.

And if Tagg decides to swing his prissy little fist, I promise that I’ve already decided I will respond by decking the sonofabitch.

No apologies to Ann Romney forthcoming, since she’s definitely earned the sobriquet.

The time for being polite to these a-holes is long, long past.



A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, an honorary Texan, Clown (ditto) and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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