Thursday, April 05, 2007

Romney Shoots Himself in the Foot

Why do they do this?

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man," the AP quoted Romney as saying. "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life."

Now, Romney's campaign is acknowledging that, despite his assertion that he was a longtime hunter, Romney, 60, had in fact hunted one summer as a teenager and then just once when he was in his late 50s.

This is the type of thing that makes the average person distrust (if not downright despise) politicians.

The Little White Lies are what distinguishes a genuine candidate from a phoney. The Little White Lies are a large factor in the public's distrust of Hillary Clinton. The futures trade. The billing records. The used underwear. Joe Biden couldn't even get out of the gate because he borrowed a sentence from a Neil Kinnock speech -- and the sentence was true. But that was then.

When Mitt Romney entered politics, he was as clean as an MIT lab. The man couldn't lie. It was not in his vocabulary. But a few years in office and some well-paid "consultants" will do a lot to taint a man's character.

How does this happen?Strongly advised by his handlers that the gun owners were an essential constituency for him to capture, he offers up that he once owned a gun when he was a teenager. Prodded further by the handlers, he remembers doing a bit of rabbit hunting one summer in Idaho. Then, they suggest, he's "been a hunter all his life." The first time he sees a man with an NRA hat on, out it comes. Woops!

This is John Kerryism at its worst. It's even worse than "can I get me a huntin' license here?"

I was annoyed enough to be pelted with the recent Romney television ad which touts how he "turned around" a democratic state after rescuing the Olympics. I'll give him the Olympics claim. The only thing he turned around here was his back -- towards us.

But at least I've come to expect such puffery in a Presidential campaign. I'd prefer the unvarnished truth from everyone, but I'm not that gullible.

I'll accept that the Next President is telling me things now that are not going to become true. But if s/he isn't capable of the simple humility to tell the truth about seemingly insignificant details of his/her past, I wonder if he truly stands for anything. He ends up looking like nothing more than a mouthpiece for his consultants. Another unknown product in a glossy package.

The thing I liked about Mitt Romney when I first worked for his campaign in 1994 was that he was the squeaky clean Eagle Scout. This sort of dissembling does a disservice to the Boy Scout Oath:

A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.

Read it again, Gov. Remember it.

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