In case you're unfamiliar with Eric Fehrnstrom, let me introduce you to him. The original creator of the "Etch-a-Sketch" candidate, Fehrnstrom is Mitt Romney's brain, much like Karl Rove was George Bush's brain. He's counting on each and every person out there to suffer from collective amnesia, too, or just love the Etch-a-Sketch enough to appreciate it when he erases and re-draws a narrative.
Today's picture concerns the auto bailouts and Romney's role in them. Mr. Fehrnstrom would like you to forget the title of Romney's 2008 op-ed, calling to "let Detroit go bankrupt." Or his 2012 op-ed, where he reiterated his 2008 stance.
But if you don't remember those, maybe you remember the primary debates, where he sneered at the bailouts (begun under George W. Bush, by the way) as a "giveaway to the UAW." If you don't, just watch the video at the top of the page.
Today we have the New and Improved Mitt Romney position on the auto bailout, courtesy of Fehrnstrom, via The Hill:
One of Mitt Romney's top advisers said Saturday that President Obama's decision to bailout Chrysler and General Motors was actually Romney's idea.
"[Romney's] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that," Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said.
"The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney's advice."
"The fact that the auto companies today are profitable is because they've shed costs," Fehronstrom said. "The reason they shed those costs and have got their employee labor contracts less expensive is because they went through that managed bankruptcy process. It is exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do."
Welcome to the 2012 general election campaign, where up is down, right is left, wrong is right, and whatever you said yesterday is yesterday's truth because today is a new day with a new truth. This is the cynical Romney campaign at it's lying-est best.
This is an outright lie, and it wasn't Fehrnstrom going off the reservation. It was planned, it relies upon a gullible and uninformed public to accept the lie as truth because memories are too short to remember yesterday and for the most part, the part of the press that reaches the most viewers hasn't bothered to actually call a lie a lie or to pull them up short on any of the lies they've told, so why not?
This is who Mitt Romney is, and Fehrnstrom is merely amplifying it:
[Romney]’s not stupid. He’s not a stumbling, gaffe-prone doof. He’s a soulless, cynical robot who has no problem with saying exactly what he thinks voters want to hear, and he doesn’t care if the subsequent contradictions, flip-flops and nonsense are utterly obvious and transparent. Voters expect politicians to be two-faced and inconsistent, so why not say whatever it takes to make it through the week and over the next hurdle?
The now-infamous line from Romney staffer Eric Fehrnstrom about the campaign resetting its language when the general election begins — like an Etch-A-Sketch — was one of the most glaring examples of meta-cynicism in the history of modern presidential politics. Not only was Fehrnstrom describing the cynical strategy in detail in front of a national audience, but he was cynical enough to believe that voters wouldn’t care — they expect candidates to be shifty, so why the hell not?
Romney is easily the most jaded, cynical presidential politician since Richard Nixon. He operates with the hubristic attitude that voters expect him to be shifty, and therefore he’s allowed to be shifty. The expectation gives him permission to be that caricature.