Posts Tagged ‘untruths’

… “[Voters] have fallen out of love with a Republican Party that was supposed to be carrying the banner of traditional values and limited government, whom they no longer trust to do so,” writes the estimable Star Parker in an Urban Cure post titled Romney symptomatic of Republican problems; Americans have fallen out of love with a Republican Party that was supposed to be carrying the banner of traditional values and limited government, whom they no longer trust to do so

When Reagan ran against the entrenched political establishment in 1980, the sentiment toward him was similar to what we hear today about Mike Huckabee. How could this guy — a class B actor, former sportscaster, with a bachelor’s degree from Eureka College in Illinois — be running for President of the United States?

But Reagan had been traveling and speaking around the country for years. He knew the country and he knew its people. When he ran against government and the establishment, these folks felt he was representing them.

But now Republicans have become a detached ruling elite like the Democrats that Reagan ran against. And they have alienated a chunk of the grass roots within their own party, and independents that Reagan had wooed in.

Republicans can win back the hearts and minds of Americans. But they have to get real and get honest. Unlike the former governor of Massachusetts … etc.

Parker’s case in point: Romney’s obscene gyrations about whether, or (unbelievably) in what sense, he “saw” his father, George Romney, march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when the historical record argues otherwise:

It’s doubtful that anyone needs any more reasons to explain why Americans are fed up with politics as usual. Nevertheless, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has given us one more.

Apparently when Romney said, “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King,” in his much publicized “Faith in America” speech, this was not exactly true.

It appears that not only did Romney not see this, but there is serious doubt whether his father ever indeed did march with Dr. King.

Romney now says that he meant this “figuratively.”

According to the former Massachusetts governor, “If you look at the literature or the dictionary the term ‘saw’ includes being aware of in the sense I have described. It is a figure of speech….”

We haven’t seen a politician parse a sentence like this since Bill Clinton dissected the meaning of the verb “is” and explained that it was Monica who had sex with him and not the other way around.

The next sentence in the speech following the King claim was, “I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways nearby….” Also figuratively?

The Detroit Free Press says that it has no record of Romney’s father, onetime Michigan Governor George Romney, ever marching with King. According to the Free Press, when Dr. King marched in Detroit, their archives show that Romney’s father did not participate because he said his religion prohibited him from public appearances on Sunday.

How ironic that Romney chose to insert this apparent whopper in his “Faith in America” speech. Perhaps the governor’s idea of faith is what Groucho Marx had in mind with his line, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes.”

This kind of casualness with the truth is what has alienated good citizens across the country from the elites who are running our political machinery … etc.

Just so. For Jon Ponder—in a Pensito Review release titled Was Duped by Team Romney on Mitt’s Dad Marching with Martin Luther King—Romney’s transparent lie raises the question of Mike Allen’s complicity:

Nothing gets reporter Mike Allen hyperventilating like sticking it to the libs. Last week, Allen — former White House stenographer on the payroll of the Washington Post, now taking GOP dictation for — reported a big gotcha on lefties who accused Mitt Romney of lying when he claimed he “saw” his father, the late liberal Republican governor of Michigan, George Romney, marching with Martin Luther King.

All of this evidence is important to present to the general public, but it is unnecessary for the Romney campaign — it has been clear for some time that they know perfectly well that the two men never marched together.

Allen “found” two eyewitnesses — probably with the help of the Romney campaign — who claim to remember seeing Gov. George Romney with King in Grosse Point, a wealthy enclave outside Detroit. One remembers the two men walking hand in hand …

… Another woman told Allen she remembers it vividly: “I was only 15 or 20 feet from where both of them were.”

It is possible that these two women saw Martin Luther King in Grosse Point in 1968, and they may have seen Gov. Romney at a civil rights march there in 1963. But, according to David Bernstein at the Phoenix, the historical record shows that the two men were never in Grosse Point — or anywhere else — at the same time …

… The Romney team is, simply put, lying about this episode, Bernstein says …

Which brings us to a familiar question: Was Mike Allen complicit in the campaign’s deception, or was he simply lazy about checking the facts?

Mitt Romney has already had to backtrack on the claim that he actually saw his father with Martin Luther King. Mitt actually had the chutzpah to say that he was using a secondary definition of the verb “to see,” insisting that he “figuratively,” not literally, saw his father marching with Dr. King.

Politically, it’s a puzzle what Mitt hopes to gain from this. All this palaver about his support of civil rights for African-Americans might help him with his country-club base: folks who don’t approve of racism even though they don’t personally socialize with anyone who has brown skin. But the image of Mitt’s father marching with Martin Luther King will cost him votes among Christian nationalist voters, the GOP base whose reactionary views he insists he shares.

And telling easily debunked lies like this one will get Mitt Romney nowhere with both constituencies, who are used to the Bushies’ Teflon coated prevarications … etc.

Let Allen’s example serve as a cautionary tale for all journalists covering the Romneys—even, or perhaps especially journalists sympathetic to the Romneys or their message—do not trust these people. Your reputation means nothing to them. In stronger terms: you mean nothing to them. Trust nothing that they say. Always check your facts; always verify their every claim.

yours &c.
dr. g. d.


“Two women contacted the Mitt Romney campaign this week, offering their memories of seeing Romney’s father march with Martin Luther King Jr., in Grosse Point Michigan in 1963. Campaign officials were well aware that the women were mistaken,” writes the intrepid, articulate David S. Bernstein in a post titled When A Claim Becomes Offensive available in The Phoenix’s Talking Politics blog.

Yet, they directed those women to tell their stories to a Politico reporter. The motives and memories of the two women are unknown and irrelevant; the motives of the campaign, however, were obvious — to spread information they knew to be untrue, for the good of the candidate.

By getting this story out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend — good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday — the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about “seeing” it, not about it taking place.

Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.

Those facts are indisputable, and quite frankly, the campaign must have known the women’s story would eventually be debunked — few people’s every daily movement has been as closely tracked and documented as King’s. As I write this, I am looking at an article from page E8 of the June 30, 1963 Chicago Tribune, which discusses both events (among other civil-rights actions of the previous day), clearly placing the two men hundreds of miles apart. I also have here the June 30, 1963 San Antonio News, which carries a photo and article about Romney at the Grosse Pointe march; and an AP story about King’s speech in New Jersey …

Note the subtlety, the elegance, and yet the force of Bernstein’s argument:

… Believe me, [the Romneys] know the two men never marched together. This is an attempt to rewrite history. And even if it is a small rewriting, it is offensive.

[The claim that they did march together] is offensive because of people like Russell Peebles.

Peebles is an 88-year-old man, a former resident of Grosse Pointe for 48 years, who was present at both the Grosse Pointe march in 1963, and the MLK speech in Grosse point in 1968 — the event at which the Romney campaign initially insisted Romney and King marched together.

I tried to contact Peebles earlier this week, prior to writing the original article, but we missed each other back-and-forth. Peebles sent me an email today, attesting to the fact that George Romney was at the 1963 march, but not the 1968 speech; and that King was at the 1968 speech, but not the 1963 march.

Peebles, and many others like him, deserve to have the history of what they did told honestly. Changing that history by mistake — which is quite possibly how this began — is unfortunate. Changing that history intentionally — which is what the campaign is doing now — is offensive … etc.

Here is Bernstein’s larger point: The Romneys are undermining the integrity of an historical account—and historical accounts derive from personal accounts, from personal experience, from people, from real, flesh and blood people acting and pursuing their interests in the world. And the integrity of those experiences should matter not just to the Romneys, but to everyone, as we all have a stake in knowing, learning about, and understanding the past.

But wait: Didn’t Romney himself claim that he was speaking “figuratively” when he said that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr.?—how is this exercise anything other than a cynical and pointless act of outrageous vanity on Romney’s part?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.