A Lie Too Far

I can’t say I’m shocked to learn that Penn State coach Joe Paterno and other university officials knew about Jerry Sandusky’s little “problem” for 14 years and chose to overlook it. Men, especially powerful men, have gotten passes for sexual predation since the dawn of time.

But there was a time when even powerful men were held accountable for losing money. The AP reports that JP Morgan Chase has now admitted losing $4.4 billion on one little trading “oopsie,” yet CEO Jamie Dimon still has his job. It seems that “too big to fail” applies to big-shot executives, too.

And then there’s this:

Mitt Romney testified to Massachusetts officials in 2002 that he maintained business ties during his Olympics work, undermining his argument that he had no connection to Bain Capital or related companies after 1999. Notably, his campaign has refused to deny whether or not he ever held meetings with Bain during his time in Salt Lake City.

Romney, who at the time was trying to convince the state Ballot Law Commission that he should be allowed to run for office in Massachusetts despite living in Utah the last three years, did not directly address his work with Bain Capital. But, in testimony obtained by the Huffington Post, Romney said that he returned home for “a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth.”

Romney noted that he remained an active member of the board at Staples, where Bain was an early investor and a company Romney frequently cites on the trail, and LifeLike, a toy company where Bain was heavily invested at the time.

If you go back to what Mittens was saying while he was an Olympics honcho, 1999-2002, it appears that he turned day-to-day operation of Bain over to others but was kept in the loop about what the company was up to and probably weighed in on major decisions. He retained his title and salary until 2002. It also appears he fully intended to come back to full-time management of Bain until late in 2001, when he decided to run for Massachusetts governor against acting governor Jane Swift. Steve Kornacki:

It was only in late 2001, when Swift’s governorship began to implode, that running in 2002 became a serious option for Romney. And it was only in 2002 that Romney actually struck a severance agreement with Bain. Before Swift’s demise, Romney’s only other possible post-Olympic political opportunity had involved Utah’s governorship, which was possibly going to open up in 2004. In the summer of ’01, Romney took some tentative steps to put his name in the mix for that race, but it was still several years away and there were real questions about how viable he’d be if he ran.

And, you know, this makes sense, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Except that Mittens wants to be inoculated from certain actions taken by Bain during that 1999-2002 period.

Romney didn’t start pushing the idea that he’d severed all ties with Bain in ’99 until late in the ’02 campaign, when Democrats played up Bain’s closure of a Kansas City steel plant, a move that cost 700 workers their jobs. Confronted with this potentially damaging attack, Romney pleaded ignorance, insisting he couldn’t have had anything to do with the closure because it came two years after he’d left. That’s the story he’s stuck with ever since – and especially this year, as national Democrats have taken up the GST story.

Now, it may be that he had no direct input into the GST closing. But in the long run, would it not have been better if he had come up with some plausible reason why closing the plant was a good decision? He could have said something like “I wasn’t in on that management decision but I defend the actions of my company because blah blah blah,” and tossed out some numbers and business-speak that no one really understands, and it might have shut everyone up about it. Instead, he told a disprovable lie.

Alex Pareene writes,

If you’re planning on running for president, here are a few quick things you should probably do:

Make sure your tax returns and finances are in order
Make sure you’re not blatantly lying about some major portion of your biography.

Mitt Romney seems to have decided to do neither, I guess because he thought no one would check?

Romney seems to be trying to bluff it out. He is thumping his chest and demanding an apology for things the Obama campaign said about him. If the things being said are demonstrably true, however … well, he is cordially invited to hold his breath until he gets that apology.

The list of disprovable lies Mittens has told about President Obama is ponderously long, and I don’t know if they’ve all been compiled in one place. Here is a list of lies from just one speech. But we all know Republicans have been allowed to get away with lying for some time. Maybe Mittens went a lie too far.

9 thoughts on “A Lie Too Far

  1. I’m OK with Dimon. I think when you found out about the London Whale he kept losses lower than they could have been by demanding to see the positions right away and taking quick action.

  2. Nice title for the post, maha!

    I suppose there comes a time in some rich and powerful peoples livse, where they just lose any sense of social responsibility, since they’ve distanced themselves so far from society in general.
    They’re surrounded by sycophantic “Yes People.”
    They are fawned over by the press and public, and made to feel even more superior than they already did for leaving behind the company of the riff-raff.
    They are FAR better than the riff-raff!
    They are Nietzschean Supermen/women! Galtian Overlords!

    And so, the lying they start to do may start with some embellishments, to even further separate them from the masses.
    And when they’re not called out for those, then they start with “little white lies.” Still no outcries.

    Now, something not positive happens, and they lie. All the “Yes People” assured them that at this point, that’s preferable to the truth.
    And if they’re called on this – then they lie some more.
    And more.
    And more.

    I think after awhile, they even convince themselves, that despite documented evidence, they either didn’t do it, or if they realize they did, they rationalize that they had some completely innocent, if not altruistic, reasons for doing so.

    Mitt is a spider caught in a web of his own lies.
    We’ll see how strong that web is. THAT depends on what lies he told to whom, when, where, why, how, and for what reason(s).
    If it’s lying to the FEC of the SEC, he might be in some really serious trouble.

    But you know what?
    Neither he nor the Republicans may care.
    The investigations will take time.
    And in all of that time, he and they will claim that the Kenyan Witchdoctor is having his Chicago thugs hold witch trials for the poor little rich man, because he’s afraid he’ll lose if he doesn’t.

    “the Witch Trialgate!”
    Does anyone doubt that the MSM won’t go along for THAT ride?

  3. It may be since the advent of cable television that we have been subjected to almost non-stop political campaigning. Whatever, by now I’ve become so well educated in the art of political rhetoric – misinformation, disinformation, distortion, dissembling – that I was surprised that I had failed to note the art of changing the subject when the subject is your candidate’s mendacity.

    Romney’s past indiscretions? are being processed by his operatives constantly resorting to changing the subject – which can only mean that they are indefensible?

  4. Being an alum, the whole Penn State debacle completely intrigues me. I haven’t read Freeh’s report, but I can well imagine a kind of group-think, a kind of long-running cultural inertia going on that would make Sandusky’s transgressions appear almost invisible to these men. Also, Paterno should’ve been made to retire years earlier – anyone with his decades-long tenure and reputation would only add to the inertia and resistance to see anything troublesome. By contrast, UCLA’s legendary basketball coach John Wooden had the sense to retire at 65, at the very pinnacle of his career.

    Having once worked for someone from a wealthy family, a scion not unlike Mitt Romney, I fully get that someone like Mitt is so disconnected from reality that he has utterly no problem saying and believing anything, especially when he’s making vast sums of money. I saw the same kind of behavior all the time when I worked for this guy.

  5. “Having once worked for someone from a wealthy family….I fully get that someone like Mitt is so disconnected from reality that he has utterly no problem saying and believing anything”

    I love the part about how he will reveal one and only one more tax return. It’s like “sure Officer, I’ll get out of the car, but you can’t look in the trunk.”

    Or “I am NOT a crook!” [Cue peace sign]

    And Mitt was alleged to be one of the smarter Republicans!

    It’s killer than Bain is so toxic Obama didn’t even have to bring it up– the Newt-ster did it for us back in the Fall. It’s even toxic to Republicans.

  6. Mitt ran to France when the war got hot. Back in 1966, well the jungle was no place for him. Judging by the way he walks had he ended up in combat we would not be considering him so unfortunately today. I think FOX was reporting on France today, no yes it was Obama had stitched the French looking uniforms in China, how much did that cost us on Air Force One.

    Stop appleogizing and selling our land to China Barrack Hussein Obammmma

  7. I love it when Mitt says “I don’t know were my money is”. I have yet to believe that these very rich people “don’t” know where their money is. Mitt is the sort of rich person who “knows” were every penny is, where all his horses are, and which house to vacation at. I am the same way with my money…But unlike Mitt… all I have to do to see all of my bucks is to reach into my pocket….ok the other pocket and count the pennies, nickles, and an occasional quarter.

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