Romney on the morning talking head shows issues strained distinctions to support his claims about McCain’s alleged commitment to “amnesty”

[…] On TW, Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said that he erred in calling the McCain immigration plan “amnesty” even though it was “amnesty.” You see, he said, though it was not “amnesty” by the dictionary definition, it was “amnesty” by the “normal, colloquial definition.” (Would he know it if he saw it, under the alternate definition of “saw”?) Steph argued that after Saturday night’s debate, it seems the term “flip-flop” had stuck to Romney. Romney blamed McCain […] writes Mark Kilmer in a RedState.com blog burst titled The Sunday Morning Talk Shows – The Review

[…] Wallace asked Romney about his false claim that John McCain’s proposed legislation would have granted amnesty to illegals. Romney said that McCain would have offered a “form of amnesty.” Wallace asked Romney about his false assertion that McCain would have granted Social Security to illegal immigrants. Romney argued that he had read in newspapers that this is what McCain’s measure did. He further argued that the McCain bill he had called “reasonable, quite different from amnesty,” was not the same as the one which passed. Romney said that he has opposed McCain’s bill “from the outset.” He reiterated that he thinks McCain’s bill offered a “form of amnesty, though technically it is not.” [NOTE: See the notes on Romney’s TW interview, below.]

Wallace asked Romney how much of his personal fortunate he had spent to try to secure the nomination. Romney answered that he’d spent “more than I’d like, but not as much as I’m willing” to spend to get the nomination. Wallace asked him if there were a limit on what he is willing to spend, and Romney replied that while he had no limit, his wife did […]

[…] MITT ROMNEY ON TW. Steph asked Romney about his use of the term “amnesty” to describe John McCain’s immigration plan. Romney admitted that he “was incorrect,” then he made the case for why he was correct.

“You’re going to have to define the word for me,” Romney said regarding amnesty. (There you go again.) He said that under the dictionary definition, it wasn’t amnesty, but it was amnesty under the “normal, colloquial definition.” Well, “is” is what? Would we know it if we saw it, under the alternative definition of “saw”?

Steph played a few clips from last night’s debate, some of the various jabs at Romney for his position-changes, and proclaimed: “It seems ‘flip-flop’ has stuck.” (It certainly was underscored at Saturday night’s debate.) Romney blamed McCain […]

Remarks:

In Goffman’s terms, Romney’s line that Sen. McCain does not support amnesty only he does support it, requires

(a) heroic face-work as the candidate must labor to clarify and defend his position against all encounters with common sense meanings of the relevant terms

-and-

(b) casuistry in the form of strained distinctions, i.e. the distinction between dictionary and colloquial definitions

Here is the problem for Romney—and it is a dynamic and evolving problem—(a) Romney’s face work, and (b) Romney’s casuistry, together complete a causal loop. It goes like this. Romney issues a flat contradiction. This requires face work to repair, i.e. Romney must justify his claim to save his reputation. So Romney issues distinctions that strain credulity. This further damages Romney’s face. This requires face work to repair etc., etc.

The last time Romney caught himself in one of his death-spiral causal loops was on the question of whether, or in what sense, Romney “saw” his father (may his name be for a blessing) march with MLK.

Parker: “casualness with the truth [by figures like Romney] is what has alienated good citizens across the country from the elites who are running our political machinery”—and: was Mike Allen Romney’s unwitting dupe, or was he complicit in Team Romney’s campaign of lies and obfuscations?

The effect is cumulative. It supports the fixed point that Romney is cynical, dishonest, and that he simply cannot let things go.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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