Mitt Romney’s Stump Speech: Just Make Stuff Up

Rod Dreher highlights this clip from a recent Mitt Romney stump speech where he makes a claim that is completely untrue:

Andrew Kaczynski, however, takes note that there are plenty of pictures on the Internet of those darn foreigners putting their hand over their heart when their nation’s anthem is played. Even the Chinese!

This is hardly the most important thing in the world, but what is it that possesses a politician to just make up out of thin air something so meaningless and inconsequential? Romney is hardly the first politician to do this, but that doesn’t really excuse it. What’s the point of even making the claim at all? Is Romney trying to suggest that Americans are so self-conscious about their patriotism that we need to make believe that people who live in other countries don’t love their country as much as we love ours?

It’s really all pretty silly. Especially given the fact that, as the guy who saved the Salt Lake City Olympics, Romney really should know about this stuff.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. The US is, and has been for some time, one of the most powerful countries in all of human history and yet we can be a strangely insecure lot.

  2. Rob in CT says:

    They say “new money” is often insecure and thus showy with it. Perhaps we’re still “new power.” I dunno.

    As to the question: why would he make up something like this…

    I don’t know. Some possibilities:

    Conjure something from thin air and see if it “sticks.” If it’s too silly, you just pretend it never happened (at worst, you have spokescritter “clarify” your remarks).

    You’re not lying, so much as BSing. Lying = knowingly saying something false. BSing: simply not caring about the truth. Many political lies are the latter. So if you BS a lot, the truth ceases to matter to you… perhaps to the point where you think there will be no consequences?

    And after all, what will the consequences be here? A few of us will cry foul. Mostly, GOP partisans will cheer (or, at most, quietly overlook it or explain it away). Dem partisans will boo. Same ‘ole, same ‘ole. From a really cynical viewpoint, the potential benefit to BSing may outweigh the downside.

  3. Hey Norm says:

    The guy is a pathological liar. He can’t help himself. His speech after winning Florida was just a litany of untruths. Not just his own opinions that I happen to disagree with…but demonstrably untrue claims.
    Palin is bad. Romney makes her look like the paragon of truth.

  4. DRS says:

    Why shouldn’t he make stuff up? You think the average American voter knows enough about the real world to tell something’s phony?

  5. Moosebreath says:

    “Mitt Romney’s Stump Speech: Just Make Stuff Up”

    As we say at Passover, why is tonight different from all other nights?

  6. WR says:

    There are so many true statements possible in English. It seems impossible that Romney has yet to hit on one of them, and yet here we are.

  7. sam says:

    There’s a question whether it’s a heart where he places his hand or a mechanical device of some sort. I’m going for mechanical device.

  8. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Is Romney trying to suggest that Americans are so self-conscious about their patriotism that we need to make believe that people who live in other countries don’t love their country as much as we love ours?

    Yes. Then again, he is speaking to a cohort that booed in 2008 when McCain said he was sure that Barack Obama was a good man who loved America.

    Meanwhile, there is “the Romney is actually a robot” meme on the left, so…

  9. legion says:

    @sam: I thought that was Cheney?

  10. An Interested Party says:

    I thought that was Cheney?

    He actually has a heart? Mechanical or otherwise? Shocking…

  11. gVOR08 says:

    The Amazon description of “On Bullshit” by Harry G. Frankfort, which I highly recommend:

    One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, “we have no theory.”
    Frankfurt, one of the world’s most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.
    Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

    That’s Romney in a nutshell. At this point does he any longer have any connection at all with truth?

  12. MarkedMan says:

    I heartily recommend the Frankfort book (and it’s short!). It will forever change the way you look at Rush/Hannity/Sharpton