Was a bigger political lie ever told than that Mitt Romney and the Republicans wanted President Obama to succeed when he became president? Although there are many examples of what others have called “post truth politics,” this one has to take the cake.
The way Romney parsed this was to say that though he wanted President Obama to succeed, he didn’t want liberal policies to succeed. Here’s his comment on the matter in an interview with Larry King on March 19, 2009:
I want liberal policies to fail. I want him to fail in trying to put in place a health care plan that takes away the private sector from health care. I want him to fail in this cap and trade program as long as China and Brazil and Indonesia are not going to play in it. But I want him to succeed as a president, meaning, I want him to succeed in strengthening our economy, keeping us free, bringing our troops home in success from Iraq and Afghanistan. But I don’t want his liberal policies to succeed.
Isn’t this a strange thing to say? Let’s say for the moment that Obama’s “liberal policies” did achieve much that Republicans claim to value. Would they think that to be a good or a bad thing for America?
Take health care as an example. If it can be shown in a few years that enhanced government involvement in the delivery of health care not only extends coverage but lower costs, will Romney say that this is a good thing? Or would he say that the principles on which it is based are wrong so the outcome is wrong?
This is where the debate between ideology and pragmatism takes place, and this is where Romney has decided to position himself, with the ideologues, though little in his political career prior to his run for the White House would have suggested this turn. This is, by the way, why neither conservatives nor liberals trust him.
This is what has become of the right-wing in America. Not only the outcomes have to be good, but also the philosophy that drive them.
Romney says he wanted Obama to succeed. Obama senior advisor David Axelrod responds in a recent interview with the Washington Post.
We met an implacable opponent in the Republican leadership. They made a decision, and they’ve been very open about it, that from Day One they weren’t going to cooperate on any major issue.
For Republicans, since they all went crazy, it’s not been about outcomes, it’s been about ideology. And that’s the truth.
(Cross-posted at Lippmann’s Ghost.)