The 2012 presidential campaign is coming down to its last few days, for those of you who have just recovered from an eighteen-month coma and have immediately decided to check out this website (and why wouldn’t you?) And for some reason, it’s actually kind of close. Not as close as many in the mass media are making it out to be; most pundits are deliberately ignoring any information that would make the race seem like anything other than a down-to-the-wire deadlock (like, say, the existence of the Electoral College, or the unreliability of the “likely voter” screen) because let’s face it, nobody tunes in to CNN to see a bunch of guys saying, “Romney’s DOA. Wanna break down the details of House Bill No. 497?”
But it is closer than it should be. Even if the two men are not absolutely deadlocked, Romney still has a chance to win this. And if you are one of the people who this open letter is addressed to, it’s because of people like you. I don’t know if you’re undecided, apathetic, or actually planning to vote Republican, but if you’re any of these things, I have one thing to say to you: Please change your mind. Right now. Because if Mitt Romney wins, I honestly think that’s pretty much it for the United States of America.
Not, mind you, because Mitt Romney has some unrevealed policy goals that will destroy this country. I think that Mitt Romney will be a bad President, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think he’ll do anything radically different than George W. Bush. He’ll probably be a better President than Bush, in fact…mainly because it’s not actually possible to be worse…but he’ll probably be more slightly moderate because he’s not a true believer like Bush was. He’s a cynical, calculating schemer with no personal convictions, which is actually an improvement over a President who had deep personal convictions that all happened to be absolutely wrong. (The analogy I always used was, “If you had a firefighter who thought that gasoline put out fires, would you want him to be a determined firefighter who always charged in regardless of the obstacles, or would you want him to be wishy-washy about it?”)
But it’s not the hypothetical Presidency of Mitt Romney that scares me. It’s the fact of his victory that I think would spell the beginning of the end for America. Because Mitt Romney has run the first campaign in American history founded entirely on lying. That’s not to say that other candidates, or indeed other successful candidates, haven’t lied before. We all know they have. But Mitt Romney has made the conscious decision to run using nothing but lies. He has lied about himself; he has lied about his opponent. When he has been caught lying, he has either responded with a new and slightly more complex lie, or he has lied about being caught lying. Where he has avoided lying, it has been either with empty platitudes or with pleas for trust in the absence of evidence. The only time the man has ever revealed his true plans, thoughts, opinions or emotions in the entire eighteen-month campaign, it has been when he did not know he was being recorded, and it was to express his open and naked contempt for almost half the electorate. Mitt Romney is running on the platform that if you spend enough money throwing enough bullshit at the wall, sooner or later enough of it will stick to convince people to vote for you. Mitt Romney is running the first ever entirely fact-free campaign.
And if it works…if the people pushing Romney’s candidacy find out that they can actually win with this strategy, they will do it again. Mitt Romney’s next campaign, in 2016, will be nothing more than naked lies and character assassination directed against his opponent, and 2020 will see another empty suit spouting empty bullshit. And every one of these empty suits will do what the last group perfected: Loot the public treasury with both hands and funnel it into the hands of their rich benefactors. They will steal until there is no money left if they have their way, and they will never tell the truth until they learn that there are consequences for lying.
So far, this campaign hasn’t exactly done a great job of teaching them that. The media hasn’t called Romney on his lies in any meaningful sense. Obama has pointed out the existence of the lies, but there’s only so honest he can be without opening himself up to charges of character assassination. The only people left to hold Mitt Romney accountable for being a shameless, craven liar are the American voters. So please…on Tuesday, can you go out and do that? Because I guarantee you, they will lie like this until it stops helping them get elected. Or until they have stripped this country to the bones like vultures feeding on a carcass. I’m kind of assuming you don’t want that to happen.