Friday, August 3, 2012

Or So I’ve Heard

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) raised a few hackles with his claims that he’s been told by unnamed people that Mitt Romney may not have paid any taxes. Even Jon Stewart called him out on it. But as Steve M points out, it’s rather hypocritical for the GOP to get their tails all puffed up over unfounded and unsourced rumors and innuendo.

Y’know, it’s a bit like saying that the current president is a secret Muslim socialist who lied about his U.S. birth and has a fake Social Security number and is secretly plotting to take away all privately owned guns if he’s reelected, either before or after he finishes the job of deliberately destroying American capitalism. It’s also a bit like saying that the previous Democratic president was a drug dealing serial murderer and rapist whose lesbian wife had her male lover killed when she wasn’t hanging sex toys on the White House Christmas tree.

It’s almost like that. The difference is that Romney’s not facing an ever-expanding list of accusations, most of them truly grotesque and preposterous, many of them of a felonious or treasonous nature, spread by multiple prominent rumormongers over the course of years, and believed in every particular by roughly a third of the country. Hell, what he’s being charged with isn’t even illegal.

It reminds me of the probably-apocryphal story about Lyndon Johnson. He was running for Congress in Texas and decided to spread the rumor that his opponent had committed indecent conduct with certain barnyard creatures. His campaign manager said, “Lyndon, you know he doesn’t do that!” Johnson replied, “I know. I just want to make him deny it.”