Romnocchio (image by: mariopiperni / flickr)

Sadly it is not unusual for politicians to lie; but when most politicians lie, they don’t do so in ways that can be immediately proven to be lies. Politicians tend to lie by stretching the truth, deceptively citing data, and using clever language designed to mislead. The biggest politician lies tend to be campaign promises which we may only find out years later were lies when the candidate fails to follow through on them once elected; for example, Barack Obama campaigning against an individual mandate. The important thing is that many politicians seek to deceive, but rarely can you directly and quickly prove they are lying.

Mitt Romney, though, seems to engage in telling immediate provable lies. The type of lies that can quickly and clearly be labeled a lie – with solid evidence. The most recent example:  in an interview with Jan Crawford Mitt Romney said the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act was a tax, but the nearly identical mandate he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts is not a tax. Romney, “They don’t need to require them to be called taxes in order for them to be constitutional. And — and as a result, Massachusetts’ mandate was a mandate, was a penalty, was described that way by the legislature and by me. And so it stays as it was.”

The thing is that Romney acknowledged on the record that his mandate is a tax penalty or results in those without insurance “finding their taxes are higher.” In a 2009 op-ed he specifically described his mandate as a “tax penalty.” If not calling making you pay the government money as part of your tax returns a ‘tax’ is all it takes to make something ‘not a tax,’ than the ACA mandate would seem to be even less a tax than Romney’s mandate.

Romney may have been lying when he once called his mandate a tax penalty or he is lying now when he says his mandate is not a tax, but both can’t be true. Either way he lied at some point.

I don’t know if Romney tells clear lies like this because his opinions inherently have no constancy or because he simply thinks he can get away with it. Neither answer is particularly reassuring for one who wants to obtain power.