The Mitt Fib Roundup: October 18, 6:15:03 Edition
Even though it’s gotten to the point where you need a minute-by-minute roundup to keep track of The Mitt’s latest falsehoods, confabulations, distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies, WC will undertake a kind of snapshot of the whoopers de jour to assist readers. WC cautions that if you are easily inclined to either rage or despair, you may not want to read further.
In the second debate on Tuesday night, The Mitt said President Obama had quadrupled regulations on small businesses.
A lie by any measure. According Bloomberg, Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database.
If you measure by the cost of regulations, the number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation.
But quadrupled? Ridiculous.
Also in the second debate, The Mitt described a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of his cabinet.
in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
The Mitt is taking credit for a bipartisan effort that occurred long before he was elected. So The Mitt is fibbing about this. But it’s worse. The Mittster did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is an okay but not outstanding 42 percent. But there’s much less there than meets the eye:
However, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that The Mitt didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.
Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
Finally, how is it that The Mitt, this alleged human being who claims to have led and consulted for businesses for 25 years, didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?
In the second debate, The Mitt claimed President Obama waited two weeks to admit the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, Libya was terrorism.
As a threshold matter, WC agrees with Josh Marshall’s summary:
It’s been a nonsensical proposition from the start to imagine that foreign policy seriousness is defined by being the first one to hit the ‘terror’ buzzer like you’re a contestant on Jeopardy. But the Romney camp laid the trap. And tonight Mitt walked right into it. Live by the buzzword, die by the buzzword.
But yes, On September 11 and September 12, President Obama used the phrase, “act of terror” in relation to the murder of embassy staff. He also quite sensibly said that investigations were continuing, that the culprits would be run down and that the culprits would be punished. You can bet that if the President hadn’t said there was an investigation, The Mitt would be accusing the President of jumping to conclusions. WC supposes that if this is the best The Mitt can do attacking the foreign policy of the President, the outcome of the election should be a foregone conclusion.
A final distortion, The Mitt claimed oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.
Looking at any single year is nearly meaningless. A catastrophic accident like the Deepwater Horizon disaster, or a decision by the major oil companies to invest in private land in any given year, can result in fewer competitive leases being granted. If you look across three years, instead of a single year, oil production from federal leases is actually up under President Obama:
• From 2004-08, well into Bush’s tenure, oil production on federal lands and waters fell in four of five years, for a net decrease of 16.8 percent.
• From 2009-11, the Obama years, oil production rose two of three years, for a net increase of 10.6 percent.
Moreover, there are more federal leases in place in 2011 than in 2007, 50,444 in 2011 and 48,933 in 2007. The Mitt knows all this. He just chose to cherry-pick his facts, and to lie by omission.
So The Mitt Fib Index – the ratio of truth to lies – remains appallingly high. No surprise there. But that’s all WC can stomach for now. It’s probably just as well WC missed the debate, or his television might not have survived the experience.
Postscript: In Iain M. Banks’ latest Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, one of the characters (an artificial intelligence that is also quite a powerful spaceship) has given itself the name Refreshingly Unconcerned with the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity. Many of Banks’ Ships have euphemistic names. None of the others, though, is quite so close to current American events.