In a recent piece headlined “Never Waver, Never Wobble,” Frank Bruni argued that Mitt Romney won his first debate with Barack Obama because he showed more “bravado,” which Bruni seems to think is the one character trait common to all successful politicians.
In making his point, Bruni dodged an important question: Would voters favor the candidate with bravado — “outsize confidence” is another term Bruni used — if they knew that candidate was a liar?
Bruni wrote “For the debate viewers [Romney] was all pluck and no doubt, even when he fibbed or flipped,” while Obama, on the other hand, “…just lost touch with his bravado in Denver.”
There’s the dodge — Romney didn’t merely fib and flip, he contradicted positions he’d previously taken and pretended he’d been taking the same positions all along. He lied, boldly and frequently, and Bruni should have stated this plainly. He should have mentioned that Romney lied when he said Obama “has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years”, and when he said Obama was “silent” in the face of street protests in Iran in 2009. And so on.
Bruni’s piece would have seemed a lot less specious if he’d addressed the history of Romney’s compulsive lying, as Robert Parry recently did.