“Contempt for the electorate”

Romney’s lies are an insult to the voters and a threat to republican government.

George Bernard Shaw once said that for democracy to be a workable form of government the average citizen would have to resent a fallacy as much as an insult. The Romney campaign has illustrated that point, and it’s good to see the Washington Post editorial say that it “insults voters.” So it does.

Here’s the beginning and the end the end of the piece:

Through all the flip-flops, there has been one consistency in the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney: a contempt for the electorate.


Mr. Romney … seems to be betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and a general inability to look behind the curtain. We hope the results Tuesday prove him wrong.

And that’s the question the Will-Frum-Brooks Axis of Weasels has yet to answer: How can people who present themselves as thinkers support a candidate whose entire campaign defies fact and logic? Policy positions aside, Romney’s contempt for the truth makes him a threat not just to Enlightenment values but to the very project of republican government. In the long run, lies and liberty are not compatible.

Update Prairie Weather points out that the Post is a little late to the party: its reporters and editors have helped to enable the Romney bamboozlement. Still, better late than never.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

6 thoughts on ““Contempt for the electorate””

  1. Wow! Couldn’t be any clearer. Romney’s not one of us. But, as Prairie Weather points out, that’s an interesting judgment for Wapo to make given their own skills in speaking with forked tongue. On the other hand, maybe the old maxim is true; It takes one to know one.

  2. I think Prairie Weather is vastly underread (sp?) ; it’s my favorite blog! I’m a typical Leftie hooked on about a dozen several times a day, and another 20+ regularly. Prairie Weather has wonderful sources and outlooks.

  3. You can understand most Washington Post editorials through the psychological theory of projection: They hate most in ohters what they dislike most in themselves. By tieing the Post so closely to the Democratic line, particularly President Obama, through they years, they’ve been forced to associate themselves with a huge amount of “betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and a general inability to look behind the curtain” on the part of the President.

    Examples? How about this set, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:


    These are not hard to find, but of course they’re not part of the “reality” this community chooses as their base.

    1. Invoking the WSJ editorial page means you lose.

      As for the Post, they are wh*res to power; this editorial is admitting that Romney is gonna lose. Therefore, they’re cutting him loose, and pretending that they were not supporting him.

      1. “Invoking the WSJ editorial page means you lose.” Ah, the ability to ignore facts, much to be admired when one has to construct their own reality.

        Upon clicking through, you would have discovered that the cited WSJ article, though it’s from the editorial “page”, is mostly just a comparison of President Obama’s own words from before and after. So if you want to criticize Governor Romney for “betting that voters have no memories”, you first have to distinguish the behavior of the two candidates. Since they both do it, which does it more? you can’t just assert facts not in evidence. At least not if you’re living in the same reality as the rest of us.

  4. Romney’s welfare and Jeep ads are not simple contradictory statements. They are outright lies.

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