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We’d been promised that Mitt Romney would eventually shake the Etch-A-Sketch and redraw a whole new Mitt Romney who isn’t the least popular presidential candidate in recent history. But what we didn’t know is that he would shake that Etch-A-Sketch for so hard and so long that he’d erase the last three decades of American history.

Let’s be honest: Romney put on a good show in Denver. He won the debate the same way Teresa Giudice won the Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion — with lies, histrionics and an amazing dye job.

If you’re baffled by a reference to a Bravo TV reality show, let me explain.

Real Housewife Theresa continually does and says heinous things both on and off camera. When she’s called out, she just denies these heinous things ever happened. If pressed, she accuses her adversaries — with certainty and disdain — of lying.

Romney merged his reality-TV tactics with a rambling list of lies, half-truths and misstatements some call the Gish Gallop —named after the Creationist Duane Gish, who spews so much nonsense that rebutting it all is impossible. This allowed Romney to frame the incredibly unpopular policies he’s proposed so that they resemble the actual policies President Obama has enacted and proposed.

Romney also used two “zingers” to accuse the president of not telling the truth, once by comparing them to a group of people who are apparently the most dishonest souls he knows — his sons.

Mitt’s deceptiveness during the debate has been well documented. Our Joe Conason documented Romney’s worst lies. ThinkProgress noted 27 myths in 38 minutes.

But when it came to taxes, Mitt Romney shook the Etch A Sketch so hard his hair almost moved. He said, “My plan is not like anything that’s been tried before.”

LOL.

Romney is promising huge tax breaks, a repeal of crucial regulations and huge increases in defense spending. This has been the Republican formula for governing since 1980 and its exact formula for creating monstrous deficits and making the rich richer.

To hide his intentions, Mitt makes the same basic promise George W. Bush did: He won’t cut the share of taxes the richest pay.

But he’s certainly planning on doing exactly what Bush did: giving huge tax breaks to people who need them least.

According to every study that has ever looked at Romney’s plan, there are only two ways he can make his tax cuts revenue neutral —  as he’s promised. Either he raises taxes on middle- class Americans or he expects the tax cuts to pay for themselves with the same old voodoo fairy dust Republicans have been promising forever and has never, ever happened.

The difference between the Republican Tea Partier base and the Republican pros who get paid to elect Republicans is that the pros know their ideas will lose. That’s why Romney could be honest about his tax breaks for the rich during the primary and is forced to hide them now.

How do you know for sure that GOP establishment recognizes that they can’t even try sellling disproportionate tax breaks to the top 1 percent anymore?

They’ve appropriated “Trickle Down” — the term Democrats have used to describe Republican policies for decades. Mitt Romney attempted to spin it back on the left by describing President Obama’s policies as “Trickle-Down Government.”

On the campaign trail, as he preaches to the converted, Romney gets huge cheers for saying that he wants to get rid of PBS and Big Bird. But since the debate, he’s been mocked for saying he’d cut a beloved program that represents less than 1/100 of the budget. But that was Mitt’s one big pander to the right in Denver (besides selling out our ally Spain). He did well because the rest of his rhetoric was sanitized and poll-tested to make sure he didn’t reveal his actual “Trickle Down” plans.

Let’s be clear, Mitt Romney has not actually moved to the center.

His ideas are not any more rational or moderate than they were in the primary. And he’s clearly said he would sign the Ryan budget the GOP passed in the House, which cuts taxes for the rich by trillions to pay for huge cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

Romney’s rhetorical move to the center is an attempt to hide that what he’s proposing is still “Bush on steroids.” Tax breaks that he doesn’t pay for, deregulation he won’t describe and a belligerent foreign policy that could easily lead to new wars that cost America untold lives and treasure. Plus he’s promising to take health care away from 30 million Americans on his first day in office by repealing a nationalized version of his own health care plan.

Mitt Romney is a man who will sell out his own sons to make a point. He’ll sell out his own greatest accomplishment to win the GOP primary. And he’ll erase 30 years of American history to win a debate.

The only thing Republicans believe in recycling is bad ideas. But at least Mitt Romney is smart enough to realize that he has to change the packaging of his BS if he wants voters to believe they’re buying something new.

Photo: AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

Photo by Biden For President/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

In the two weeks since Election 2020, the country has oscillated between joy and anger, hope and dread in an era of polarization sharpened by the forces of racism, nativism, and hate. Still, truth be told, though the divisive tone of this moment may only be sharpening, division in the United States of America is not a new phenomenon.

Over the past days, I've found myself returning to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, in 1967, just a year before his own assassination, gave a speech prophetically entitled "The Other America" in which he vividly described a reality that feels all too of this moment rather than that one:

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