On this Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, former Bush-Cheney stategist Matthew Dowd did his best to give a little cover to Mitt Romney and his presidential campaign based on an endless string of perpetual lies by playing the 'both sides" are equally terrible game.
Sadly this is the type of false equivalency we see day in and day out from the talking heads in the media, but one of the more ridiculous ones. Since when is Romney refusing to release his tax returns the equivalent President Obama supposedly not saying we're going to have to have some "shared sacrifice" when it comes to balancing our budget?
First of all, it's not even true. Unfortunately President Obama has shown more than a willingness to make a deal with Republicans, much to the ire of much of his base, and cut some sort of "grand bargain." The side which has said they refuse to budge and raise a penny in taxes has been the Republicans. Sadly I think this was an exercise in these Villagers just dying for more austerity when our country cannot afford it and insisting on balancing the budget as an excuse to destroy our social safety nets, because Republicans have always hated them since the day any of them were enacted -- as much as it was trying to muddy the waters on Romney's lies. They want the New Deal dismantled so badly, they can taste it.
Republicans never cared one iota about the deficit when their hero George was blowing huge holes in it with his tax cuts and a couple of wars he left off the books. But now what a Democrat is back in office they're all screaming to the hills about how we're "broke."
And you've just gotta' love George Stephanopoulos here saying it's not a debate moderator's job to fact-check the people debating. Sadly that's the status quo these days, but it shouldn't be.
Transcript below the fold.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the things you see there, Governor Barbour, is that each candidate is much better when they are on offense, sort of in a concerted attack. But, you know, one of the things we're seeing telegraphed by the Romney camp is this idea that Governor Romney may call President Obama out on not telling the truth in his answers. Do you think that's a wise strategy?
BARBOUR: Well, if it's a campaign not about truth, Obama's got a huge advantage. I mean, the facts -- Chris Christie was on here earlier -- the facts of what's happening in America, the reduction of America's standing in the world, the reduction of middle-class prosperity in the world, the idea that health care costs are going up, health care premiums are going up, the Federal Reserve Board, for the first time in its 100-year history, Barack Obama's Federal Reserve Board, says the economy is so bad, Obama's policies are so bad, they're going to have to have a job creation, unprecedented job creation program.
You know, that gets (inaudible) nobody -- nobody said, what does that mean? It means his own Federal Reserve Board has given up on his programs.
DOWD: The best thing I think that could happen in this debate is if -- in the course of these debates if truth is on trial, actually, on both sides of this, because if you look at all the ads that have been run and everything that has been said, both sides have a really incapacity to really tell the truth to the American public. Both sides are unwilling to say, "We're going to have to do a shared sense of sacrifice. We're going to have to basically -- we're going to have to -- taxes have to be included, expenditures have to be included."
Mitt Romney has run away from the truth. He puts Paul Ryan on the ticket. They're going to have a big conversation about entitlements and Medicare and what we're going to do. We have it for 48 hours. They realize it's not a good idea, and he never talks about it again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me just stop you there. If truth is going to be on trial, isn't that going to have to be up to the candidates? I don't believe the moderators who've been chosen or the mandate they have is to be fact-checkers in this debate. I may be wrong, but it doesn't appear to be.
DOWD: Well, that's part of the problem in this environment that we're in, because everybody wants to -- just as we saw what happened in the Middle East and in Libya, everybody views the truth through their own prism and doesn't accept reality if it disagrees with where they are. I don't think the moderator's going to do that. I think both sides are going to accuse the other sides of not sharing the facts. One person won't release his tax return, the other person won't be honest with the American public about the really status of where we are in the economy and whether or not we're going to be able to move through it. They're both going to do that, but at some point, somebody's got to call it on it and say each side has a great -- as I say, a great incapacity to tell the truth to the American public.