In fact, judging from the smirk on Romney's face as he exited his press-conference podium (captured by AP photographer Charles Dharapak), it would seem that the Romney campaign counts the slaying of U.S. officials in Middle East as a boon to its fortunes.
Mendacity, Meet Pomposity
"All of us are watching events closely, but we know who America is dealing with in these attacks," Paul Ryan told the largely evangelical audience. "They are extremists who operate by violence and intimidation. And the least equivocation or mixed signal only makes them bolder. Look across that region today, and what do we see? The slaughter of brave dissidents in Syria; mobs storming American embassies and consulates; Iran four years closer to gaining a nuclear weapon; Israel, our best ally in the region, treated with indifference bordering on contempt by the Obama administration."
If Ryan's remarks sound mild compared to those made by Romney earlier in the week, that's because his speech was teed up by the poisonous rhetoric of former Reagan administration official William Bennett, who made much of the fact that Ryan was his former intern.
But once he dispensed with the adorable image of Paul Ryan making copies and running errands for his high-rolling boss, Bennett drew the sum total of his mendacious pomposity to accuse the administration of deeds that would almost amount to treason, were they remotely true. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he said, "wonder[ed] aloud whether...our own constitutional freedoms go just a bit too far."
That would indeed be a horrible thing -- if it had ever happened. But it didn't.
Bennett went on: "A Muslim mob brutalizes and murders an American ambassador, a representative of the United States of America, to disgrace him, and to disgrace us. They would murder us, and brutalize us, too -- all of us. And our government reacts by shuddering and shaking, and wondering that the consequences of our First Amendment, that blames an inconsequential fool of a filmmaker with a paltry influence, for the venom unleashed in another part of the world. God help us. God help us."
Bennett read Romney's statement verbatim, and went on to fault the media for the fallout Romney suffered. "Most of the press jumped in on Romney to kill this truth in the womb -- something it is well-practiced at," Bennett said.
Romney running mate Paul Ryan did not take issue with a single bit of Bennett's introduction.
Lying to Win Obama-Haters
If the voters Romney is vying for were people remotely like you and me, the political exploitation of the murder of American officials and Navy SEALs, even before their families had a chance to bury them, would be a highly alienating act. Ditto for the rhetorical assault on a sitting president of the U.S., falsely painted as anti-American. But they're not.
Romney's game is not to win his margin from among the mere 4 percent of the U.S. electorate who have yet to make up their minds about which presidential candidate they'll vote for in November. His game is to turn out every single vote from every single person who would never vote for Barack Obama in 100 years -- people who are not naturally inclined to love Mitt Romney, given his pro-choice past and Mormon present.
And so he lies, conjuring a false narrative he hopes they'll find believable, based on their suspicion of the black, urban, Democratic president. And now his allies are piling on.
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