Mitt Romney: A sleazy salesman who doesn't respect his customers (Reuters)
of Mitt Romney's claim that women lost 92.3 percent of the jobs lost during the Obama administration, you'd think Romneyland would be satisfied with a "mostly false" grade
from PolitiFact, given that PolitiFact claims that its judgments are based not just the accuracy of the words uttered by campaigns and politicians, but also the intended effect of those words.
But instead of thanking their lucky stars PolitiFact didn't whip out its Pants on Fire logo, Romneyland tasked its policy director with writing a 1,106 word letter demanding that PolitiFact retract its judgment on Romney's absurd claim.
I was deeply troubled to read your piece dated April 6, in which you review Romney for President Press Secretary Andrea Saul's statement that "women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under Obama," find it to be "accurate," and then rate it "Mostly False."
I'll admit that I think PolitiFact's rating system is completely bogus, and that labeling Romney's statement as "mostly false" is nearly as ridiculous as the statement itself. But given how PolitiFact does things, "mostly false" is about as good as Romneyland could have hoped to get, and at this point they should just keep their mouth shut.
The technical accuracy of Romney's claim isn't the issue here. The issue is that he cherry-picked a meaningless number to support a misleading message. Romney's 92.3 percent claim is entirely a function of the fact that he arbitrarily decided to start counting from January 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated even though the recession actually began in December 2007.
As I wrote earlier, from the beginning of the recession through February 2010 (when the job market finally started growing again), women accounted for roughly 3 in 10 job losses. Since February 2010, they have accounted for roughly 3 in 10 jobs created. Over the last year, they've actually accounted for one-third of jobs created.
So where does Mitt Romney's 92.3 percent number come from? Well, job losses hit men hardest earlier in the recession, and by the time we got to January 2009, many of the men who were going to lose their jobs had already lost them. Jobs have been growing for both men and women since February 2010, but because men lost their jobs earlier than women, they are already just about back to January 2009 levels.
As a result, you end up with this weird 92.3 percent statistic. Keep in mind, though, that next month the statistic will change. At that point, it's likely that men will have had net positive job growth under Obama. Therefore, every single job lost since January 2009 will have been lost by a woman: 100 percent.
According to Romneylogic, when that day happens it should be great news for men, right? Maybe they'll throw a big party: "Congratulations men! Only women got hurt in the recession!" Except the truth is that nearly 70 percent of jobs lost since December 2007 were lost by men. And 7 in 10 jobs gained since February 2010 have been gained by men, exactly as you would expect.
Beyond simply calling it a lie, debunking Romney's lie isn't something you can do in just a couple of words. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a lie. Fortunately, it's such an absurd sounding claim, that a lot of people will assume it must be a lie even if they don't take the time to figure out why it's untrue. But it's still worth taking the time to help people understand what was so misleading about his claim, because once you understand how Romneyland constructed this claim, you realize just how sleazy and dishonest his campaign really is. These are the kinds of tactics that scuzball salesmen use to snow unsuspecting customers. These are the kinds of lies a con artist tells in order to influence his mark into doing what he wants. And it's vintage Romney. He doesn't see voters as the people to whom he is accountable. He sees voters as the people he must manipulate in order to achieve his personal goal.
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