Do You Promise Not To Tell?

David Frum, who knows a thing or two about telling plausible-sounding lies to fool the rubes, on “Mitt Romney’s Leadership Secret”:

Gov. Romney is getting much better at inviting hard-core conservatives to believe that he agrees with them, even when he obviously does not. For example:

It’s an article of faith among U.S. conservatives that the countries of southern Europe are in trouble—not because of the Euro currency—but because of excess public spending. It’s an article of faith that the U.S. is in imminent danger of following.

On the other hand, the professional economists from whom Mitt Romney gets his advice believe neither of these things. And it’s a fair bet that Romney inwardly agrees with his economists more than his base. …

If ever there were a fool’s game, it’s guessing what “Romney inwardly believes.” He’s been a self-described “moderate”, and a “severe conservative”, depending on what he thinks the person standing in front of him at that moment wants to hear. If Romney believes anything at all about public policy– a dubious assumption– it’s malleable enough that he’ll do whatever he thinks will marginally improve his polling. 

“There is also a recognition in this country” nicely elides the question whether Romney himself believes in any parallel between America’s situation and those of Greece, Spain, and Italy.

The “conceivably” is an elegant extra-distancing touch. A lot of things are conceivable, including many things that are impossible.

Well, yes. He’s quite a bullshitter! No one has any fucking clue what he’d actually do were he elected president!

Are we supposed to be glad about that?

Can he keep it up? He may not have to. The conservative base’s will to believe is a tenacious thing, and right now Mitt Romney is its primary beneficiary.

I… I just hope that David Frum is doing performance art here.

This post starts out with a tone that seemed, to me, to be positive about Romney’s public statements.

But this post apparently reflects Frum’s view that Republican voters will believe any crazy goddamn thing you tell them to believe, and that Romney knows they’re idiots, so he says a few buzzwords that will induce them to salivate without actually saying anything meaningful, all the while secretly knowing that everything the GOP base says and thinks is wrong.

I mean, “The conservative base’s will to believe is a tenacious thing”? That’s one way of putting it, I guess.

If this is praise, what would criticism be?

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