BY MARY ANNA TOWLER
Do Democrats and Republicans really have this little respect for voters?
The exaggerations, lies, and slurs seem to get worse by the day. Mitt Romney’s recent insistence that President Obama plans to “gut” the welfare-to-work program is absurd. As the Times noted this morning, several Republican governors have asked for the waivers that the Obama administration has granted.
And, the Times noted, in 2005, 29 Republican governors – including Romney, who was then governor of Massachusetts – wanted the ability to get waivers. Romney and his campaign have no problem repeating the lie, though, because they know it will resonate with much of their base.
I’d give the summer’s mudslinging award to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, though, for insisting in a Huffington Post interview – with no evidence whatsoever – that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. His source? An unnamed Bain Capital investor, who had called him with the information.
Reid went on to volunteer this in the interview: “Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid.
So politicians should just toss out rumors here and there and everywhere, right? And then distance themselves by saying they have no idea whether it’s true or not.
This is what politics has come to, and the results won’t be good. At the least, the lying and mudslinging fuels the irrational hatred of fringe voters of all stripes and turns off conscientious voters. But it also erodes what little respect Americans have for government at all levels. It erodes our trust in government. And it will discourage conscientious, ethical people from getting involved in politics. What we’ll be left with will be people whose love of the brawl and respect for the truth trumps a willingness to compromise and to seek the common good.