Fool me twice, 2008 edition
Head first into the ‘invisible primary’ contest, I caught wind of a not-so-fantastic Mitt Romney ad today that read:
“If we’re going to change Washington, Republicans have to put our own house in order,” Romney says, speaking directly to the camera. “We can’t be like Democrats — a party of big spending. We can’t pretend our borders are secure from illegal immigration. We can’t have ethical standards that are a punch line for Jay Leno.”
Let’s dissect this gem, shall we?
“[Republicans] can’t be like Democrats — a party of big spending,” begins Romney’s litany. However, a look at federal budget deficit numbers since 1970 seems to conclude otherwise. To spare you a painstaking glance at the obvious, the bar graph demonstrates that in 1983, 1992 and 2003, when Republicans were in office, the US budget deficit (adjusted for inflation) was at its highest. Granted, Democrats had their big spenders too. Clinton’s shocking budget surplus from 1999 onward occurred, in part, due to Republican congressional support. But the graph, to an extent, proves Romney wrong. The Republicans are just as reckless at spending as their left-leaning brethren. The score: 1-0, simple common sense.
“We can’t pretend our borders are secure from illegal immigration,” Romney says next. Much as I may dislike the guy, he’s correct on this one. The Christian Science Monitor, shattering some hopes and dreams last May, indicated that anywhere from 7 to 20 million immigrants presently live in the US, though official census records estimate there are approximately 8.5 million. Specifics aside, that number is astounding considering how often politicians referenced immigration along the campaign trail.
Yet Romney, who likely experiences a boatload of immigration troubles up in the great state of Massachusetts, said little else on the issue. There was no mention of how the US could secure its borders without disturbing Mexicans’ access to the jobs the American economy takes for granted. And certainly, Romney’s remarks failed to address a recent ICE report that stipulated it would cost nearly $94 billion to detain and deport all the illegal immigrants currently living in the US (what was that about big spending?). 2-0, informed voters.
Finally, Romney articulates that “We can’t have ethical standards that are a punch line for Jay Leno.” To a degree, I can’t take that away from the man. The biggest problem Americans (ought to) have with their political system is inadequate representation; that partisan politics, when combined with big bureaucracy, seem to upset any notion of political efficacy. But my problem isn’t with what Romney said, it’s how he intends to accomplish that goal. In my mind, not a single politician on either side of the political fence has done his or her part to clean up Congress’ tattered reputation. And perhaps its the traditionalist in me talking, but I see lying to the voting public (what Romeny et. al. do when they mislead those who stare intently at such advertisements) as unethical as hiding thousands of dollars in your freezer.
So, it’s 3-0, in that respect. Romney really misses his target. But amidst the same-old same-old that optimistic pundits constantly reassured us we would not see, it really does seem like we’ve lost, now doesn’t it?