Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
For more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.
For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.
They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.
Archive for the ‘Capitol Jill’ Category
Ohio really did go to the president last night.
And he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii.
And he really is -legitimately- President of the United States.
And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make-up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence
That cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And the polls were not skewed to over-sample Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election
To make conservatives feel bad.
He was doing math.
And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us.
It was not a scandal by us.
And no one is taking away anyone’s guns.
And taxes haven’t gone up.
And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.
And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA isn’t building concentration camps.
And UN election observers aren’t taking over Texas.
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry
And the financial services industry
Are not the same thing as communism.
Adapted from The Rachel Maddow Show 11/7
There no longer exists any doubt that Mitt Romney intends to win the White House by conducting the most dishonest, unscrupulous and reprehensible campaign ever devised, in mere whimsy. The unethical stench of this man is not only breathtaking, it’s meteoric. I have never seen anything like it, never heard anything like it, never imagined anything like it.
All you American political history books, move over; there’s a new king of demagoguery in town, and future history will never see his malevolent depths of dishonor again.
What triggered this outburst? Today in St. Louis, just today, in just this one day, mind you, this despicable wretch of a man called President Obama’s economic policies a “moral failure of tragic proportions”; and he threw in, just for the hell of it, I guess, that “There is nothing fair about a government that favors political connections over honest competition and takes away your right to earn your own success. And there is nothing morally right about trying to turn government dependence into a substitute for the dignity of work.”
Observed ABC News: “Romney used the word ‘moral’ or a variation of it five separate times in pushing the idea that Obama’s policies have been a failure for the country.” Moral.
It’s only June, and Mitt Romney has already exhausted all the hideous possibilities of a Dorian Gray mentality that would make even Oscar Wilde blush. Moral. That’s this pathetic, vile little pol’s new favorite word. Moral. Here’s a man who leads a party that endorses torture as well as unprovoked war, and coddles the rich while showing indifference to the poor. Moral.
Combine Gray with Elmer Gantry and you’d still come up short of the “moral” abomination that calls itself Mitt Romney.
Romney will run against a fictional Obama, and Fox will provide the cover, and unless Obama is able to change the frame of this debate, the relentless propaganda will be potent. Yes, the level of deception is so great it’s breath-taking. But Romney, I’m increasingly inclined to believe, is a businessman all the way down. His ethics are about getting, as he put it, 50.1 percent of the vote in any state. He does not believe there are any ethical or principled reasons not to try and get to that 50.1 percent however he can. A businessman can compartmentalize core moral and political questions into marketing. The goal is 50.1 percent saturation.
So he marketed a bunch of policies when running in Massachusetts – blithely becoming pro-choice out of deep conviction and personal experience, implementing Obamacare on a state level as a centrist conservative, being “more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy” on discrimination. But now he is not running in Massachusetts, he will simply change the policies. He favors a constitutional amendment criminalizing all abortion, total repeal of Obamacare, and will not stand by even a gay national security spoeksman if it means offending the religious right. This is who he “is”. If a line will work against Obama, he will use it, regardless of its truth. Because there is no truth in Romney’s world. There is only advertizing.
There is something increasingly chilling about this shape-shifter, isnt there? He views himself as a product to be marketed to different audiences at different times. And the actual content of that product is completely malleable. It can change as swiftly as Mormon doctrine, when market share is at stake. To predict Romney, in other words, you simply have to merely examine the market he’s selling to.
As I noted once before, he doesn’t just believe that corporations are people; he is a walking corporation masquerading as a person.
Meanwhile, there’s this quote from Romney:
One must ask whether we will still be a free enterprise nation and whether we will still have economic freedom. America is on the cusp of having a government-run economy. President Obama is transforming America into something very different than the land of the free and the land of opportunity.
Well, maybe NOT!
“There was a woman in Iowa who shared her story of financial struggles, and he gave her an answer right out of an economic textbook. He said, “Our productivity equals our income.” And the notion was that somehow the reason people can’t pay their bills is because they’re not working hard enough. If they got more productive, suddenly their incomes would go up. Well, those of us who’ve spent time in the real world — (laughter) — know that the problem isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve been working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now, and the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade, is that harder work has not led to higher incomes, and bigger profits at the top haven’t led to better jobs,” – President Barack Obama
Why is the snap resignation of Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman so damaging?
The Obama campaign has spent days hammering the claim that Mitt lacked the fortitude to make the risky choice to launch a commando raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Either it was that he said it wasn’t sufficiently important or that he said he wouldn’t violate Pakistani sovereignty to launch such an attack. In either case, the core message was ‘I was right; he was wrong.’ But as I’ve argued, the ferocity of the attack itself was meant to diminish Romney as weak and helpless, a man unable to properly defend himself.
This is “bitch slap politics” at its best or its worst, depending on your measure. Through the day, Romney struggled to find a way to say that the President deserved credit for his decision but that anyone else would have done just the same thing.
Against that backdrop, the sudden resignation of Romney’s new foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell came at just the wrong time since it told just the same story about Romney as the Obama campaign has been telling all week: Romney is weak.
The Romney campaign is telling reporters that its top operatives tried to keep Grenell from resigning. And that may well be true. But the context is that anti-gay activists have been attacking Grenell for his homosexuality and Romney for appointing him from the day he announced the appointment. And the Romney campaign had been conspicuously silent in the face of those attacks.
“It’s going to be difficult for Romney to take other steps like this. And that’s what’s really frightening to me,” Fred Karger, openly gay Republican candidate for president told TPM. “It’s just too tough to stand up to these groups because they have a lot of money and power. You’ve got to be able to do that, that’s leadership.”
“Would a public statement of support from the campaign for Ric have made a difference?” Chris Barron of GOProud told Buzzfeed. “I don’t know, but it certainly would have been the right thing to do.”
In other words, Romney’s actions have spoken louder than his awkward replies to the original bin Laden smackdown. In the face of attacks meant to show he can’t stand up to Osama bin Laden, Romney shows he can’t stand down the far-right homophobes in his own party.
The two things are worlds apart. Literally. But they put Romney in the same place.
I can see no problem with the ad above run by Obama on his extraordinarily ballsy decision to choose the riskiest path to get bin Laden and all the intelligence his compound contained. It is the kind of ad that would be a no-brainer for any Republican president, seeking re-election. If Bush had done it, he would have jumped out of a helicopter in a jump-suit with fireworks. And it is simply true that both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney downplayed the importance of finding and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.
Here is the last president, after his bungling of the battle at Tora Bora, in March 2002:
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority… “I am truly not that concerned about him.”
And here is Mitt Romney who still seems to believe that the “Soviets” are our number one geopolitical foe:
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
And this was a key issue in the 2008 election. You may remember the debate in which Obama pledged that he would launch a unilateral attack within Pakistan if necessary to get the mass murdering religious fanatic. McCain cited this as evidence of Obama’s insufficient experience in foreign policy and general jejuneness. So this was a hugely successful policy opposed by McCain, opposed by Bush and opposed by Romney. No wonder they’re so upset at reality. It’s the same reaction they have when it becomes clear that Osama bin Laden was captured and killed by a president smart enough not to deploy torture, years after a bunch of thugs took over US intelligence on the orders of the panicked incompetent, Dick Cheney.
And one thing about John McCain. He actually said: “And, you know the thing about heroes, they don’t brag.” For his entire political career, McCain has done nothing but brag about his own military service, milking every last, disgusting drop for his own interests, making it the center-piece of his campaign. And he didn’t kill anyone – just crashed his plane, was tortured, and cracked under tortured interrogation. He has spent decades making this a reason for him to be elected to various offices, from the very first first=person account in US News, which launched his political career. Heroes don’t brag, Senator? How else would you describe your entire career?
I’m with Jon Meacham, who plays a tiny violin for the upset Republicans:
Republicans are — forgive the cliché — shocked, shocked to discover that a presidential contender is “politicizing” an important national event. In this sense, “politicizing” might be best translated as “beating us up and we don’t have anything much to say to stop it.” The ad itself raises intriguing, substantive, legitimate questions — and the ferocious, sputtering Republican reaction is proof positive that they know it, or at least suspect it.
It couldn’t be more hilarious, watching these Republicans rend their garments over the Obama administration’s bin Laden video. Imaging the paroxysms we’d have been forced to endure if George W. Bush had iced the dreaded one is all we need to do to understand how hypocritical it all is. But what obviously gets under Republicans’ skin is not the fact of this video’s existence, but the fact that Barack Obama got him and they didn’t, which destroys their assumption of the past decade that they are “the 9/11 party.” And more than that—and this is the real story here—it’s the fact that the Democrats don’t appear to be afraid of the Republicans anymore. That, to Republicans, is what’s truly unacceptable.
I think the Obamaites need to be more aggressive in foreign policy arguments. Obama ended one war in Iraq, dispatched Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi without a single US casualty, re-set relations with Russia, brought unprecedentedly united international pressure against Iran’s nuclear bomb potential, wiped out much of al Qaeda’s mid-level leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and presided over democratic revolutions in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain. He restored this country’s moral credibility after the dark period of Nazi-style interrogation under Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld.
Ann Romney is a good mom.
She’s also a good pol.
And though her people skills are far superior to Mitt’s, it turns out that Ann is just as capable as her husband of turning an advantage into a disadvantage.
After the liberal strategist Hilary Rosen clumsily mocked Mitt Romney for relying on Ann to tell him what issues women care about when “his wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Ann smashed that lob back.
Blasting out her first tweet, she said: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Shaken Democrats dived for cover and threw Rosen under the campaign bus. The media, worried about being perceived as favoring President Obama, jumped in on the side of the maligned Ann.
She pressed her advantage, scolding Rosen on Fox News. “She should have come to my house when those five boys were causing so much trouble,” Ann said. She alluded to her brave battles against breast cancer and multiple sclerosis: “Look, I know what it’s like to struggle.”
But at a fund-raiser at a private home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday, the night before her 63rd birthday, Ann made it clear that she wasn’t really aggrieved. She was feigning aggrievement to milk the moment.
“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” a gleeful Ann told the backyard full of Florida fat cats, sounding “like a political tactician,” as Garrett Haake, the NBC reporter on the scene, put it.
It’s important when you act the martyr not to overplay your hand. If you admit out loud to a bunch of people — including Haake, who was on the sidewalk enterprisingly eavesdropping — that you’re just pretending to be offended, you risk looking phony, like your husband. (It also doesn’t fly to tell Diane Sawyer that your dog “loved” 12 hours in a crate on top of the car or that it’s “our turn” to be in the White House.)
The candidate, meanwhile, continued to look phony by presenting a completely different side of himself to the wealthy Palm Beach donors who came in fancy cars to eat snapper and hear a snappier Mitt.
Rather than making bland pronouncements or parsing patriotic songs, as he usually does, Mitt gave a more specific vision of a Romney White House, including the possible elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which his dad once led, and vivisecting the Department of Education. He also talked about ways he might close tax loopholes for the affluent — another matter he hasn’t been too detailed about — to pay for his cuts in tax rates.
Mitt offered a different view of the value of working parents in January when he talked about how he changed welfare rules as governor of Massachusetts:
“I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, well, that’s heartless. And I said, no, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It will cost the state more providing that day care, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”
So the dignity of work only applies to poor moms?
This latest kerfuffle is piffle, but it is another instance of Republicans dragging women back to the past to re-litigate issues they thought were long settled.
Just as women had assumed their contraception rights were safe, they had considered the tiresome debate about working moms versus stay-at-home moms over. My mom stayed home to raise five kids, and she is my feminist role model.
For the most part, nobody’s casting aspersions on anybody else’s choices, which are often driven by economics. Women have so many choices that they’re overwhelmed by the stress of so many choices.
The real issue is whether Mitt, a tycoon who has been swathed in an old-fashioned cocoon, understands the plight of working mothers and the rights of 21st-century women.
When the Romneys got married and moved to Boston in 1971 so Mitt could attend Harvard, they set up house in a suburb, befriended other young Mormon couples and kept to their cloistered, conservative, privileged, traditional, white, heterosexual circle.
Campuses were roiling with change — feminism, civil rights, antiwar demonstrations — but the Romneys were not part of that. They were throwbacks.
“The parental roles were clear,” Michael Kranish and Scott Helman write in “The Real Romney.” “Mitt would have the career, and Ann would run the house.”
We will see if these affluent, soon-to-be owners of a car elevator in La Jolla and members of the horsey set can relate to the economic problems of regular people.
Given how secretive and shape-shifting Mitt Romney is, we’ll probably have to keep eavesdropping to find out.
Mitt Romney has a gift for words — self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
That’s clearly not what Mr. Romney meant to convey. Yet if you look at the race for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism.
Start with Rick Santorum, who, according to Public Policy Polling, is the clear current favorite among usual Republican primary voters, running 15 points ahead of Mr. Romney. Anyone with an Internet connection is aware that Mr. Santorum is best known for 2003 remarks about homosexuality, incest and bestiality. But his strangeness runs deeper than that.
For example, last year Mr. Santorum made a point of defending the medieval Crusades against the “American left who hates Christendom.” Historical issues aside (hey, what are a few massacres of infidels and Jews among friends?), what was this doing in a 21st-century campaign?
Nor is this only about sex and religion: he has also declared that climate change is a hoax, part of a “beautifully concocted scheme” on the part of “the left” to provide “an excuse for more government control of your life.” You may say that such conspiracy-theorizing is hardly unique to Mr. Santorum, but that’s the point: tinfoil hats have become a common, if not mandatory, G.O.P. fashion accessory.
Then there’s Ron Paul, who came in a strong second in Maine’s caucuses despite widespread publicity over such matters as the racist (and conspiracy-minded) newsletters published under his name in the 1990s and his declarations that both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act were mistakes. Clearly, a large segment of his party’s base is comfortable with views one might have thought were on the extreme fringe.
Finally, there’s Mr. Romney, who will probably get the nomination despite his evident failure to make an emotional connection with, well, anyone. The truth, of course, is that he was not a “severely conservative” governor. His signature achievement was a health reform identical in all important respects to the national reform signed into law by President Obama four years later. And in a rational political world, his campaign would be centered on that achievement.
But Mr. Romney is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, and whatever his personal beliefs may really be — if, indeed, he believes anything other than that he should be president — he needs to win over primary voters who really are severely conservative in both his intended and unintended senses.
So he can’t run on his record in office. Nor was he trying very hard to run on his business career even before people began asking hard (and appropriate) questions about the nature of that career.
Instead, his stump speeches rely almost entirely on fantasies and fabrications designed to appeal to the delusions of the conservative base. No, President Obama isn’t someone who “began his presidency by apologizing for America,” as Mr. Romney declared, yet again, a week ago. But this “Four-Pinocchio Falsehood,” as the Washington Post Fact Checker puts it, is at the heart of the Romney campaign.
How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality? For it was not always thus. After all, that health reform Mr. Romney wants us to forget followed a blueprint originally laid out at the Heritage Foundation!
My short answer is that the long-running con game of economic conservatives and the wealthy supporters they serve finally went bad. For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy — a process that reached its epitome when George W. Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists, then announced that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security.
Over time, however, this strategy created a base that really believed in all the hokum — and now the party elite has lost control.
The point is that today’s dismal G.O.P. field — is there anyone who doesn’t consider it dismal? — is no accident. Economic conservatives played a cynical game, and now they’re facing the blowback, a party that suffers from “severe” conservatism in the worst way. And the malady may take many years to cure.