Common wisdom on the left is that Mitt Romney has decided to lie his way to the Presidency. But there is another explanation, one that is much worse: Romney may actually think he is telling the truth.
Ideologues don't live in the same world as the rest of us. If the facts don't fit the ideology, then the problem must be with the facts, as the ideology can never ever be wrong.
GOP Congressman, and Senate hopeful, Todd Akin wasn't merely being sexist and stupid when he said that 'legitimate' rape can't cause pregnancy, he was repeating a falsehood that he believes as absolute fact - a convenient untruth that allows him to avoid the question of whether abortion should be available to women who are raped.
The problem is much bigger than Rep. Akin and the topic of rape.
Republicans today have to believe the convenient untruth that lowering tax rates on the rich will increase revenues, the convenient untruth that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by corrupt scientists seeking grants, the convenient untruth that in-person voter fraud is a real problem and anything else Fox News tells them to believe.
Making policy is easy when you can change the facts to eliminate hard choices: Want to raise spending, cut taxes and eliminate the deficit - just change the laws of mathematics.
Akin's comment on 'legitimate rape' was monstrous and inexcusable, but it is only words. The convenient untruth, and the policy based on that untruth, that he proposed with Paul Ryan and 50+ other Republicans would have had real consequences.
The national battle over Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” has shed light on a “personhood” bill, co-sponsored by Akin and Paul Ryan, called the Sanctity of Life Act. Much of the chatter today has focused on whether Ryan opposes abortion in cases of rape. The Romney campaign confirmed today that Ryan does personally oppose it, while clarifying that a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose it.Making 'faith based' policy is easy. Cleaning up the mess is not. It isn't an accident that George W. Bush left the country with a ballooning deficit, two unfinished wars and a fiscal crisis: Those outcomes were the direct and predictable consequence of his policies in office.
But what about the other legal implications of the bill Ryan and Akin co-sponsored? In an interview just now, Dem Rep. Louise Slaughter, one of the leading pro-choice voices in Congress, raised two startling possibilities.
“One of the questions around this legislation is, Could a rapist who impregnated a victim sue that victim if she decided not to carry that baby and to have an abortion?” Slaughter said. “Another question: Could in vitro fertilization be outlawed?”
It’s unclear how this legislation would work. The bill affirms that from the moment of fertilization onward, “every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” It then says that Congress and the states have the “authority” to protect all human beings — again, defined as human life from fertilization onward — residing in their juristictions.
The Bush presidency failed because policy was based on beliefs that were demonstrably untrue. And now Romney is desperately tying to prove to us that he wants to make the same mistake.