There are no 33-page change-of-address forms here.
A video made the rounds yesterday, featuring Mitt Romney expressing amazement at his ability to order a sandwich on a touch-screen at a WaWa's in Pennsylvania. Dylan Byers makes the case that the larger context is far less damaging to Romney, and he appears to have a point.
But immediately before Romney's WaWa comments, the Republican shared an interesting anecdote with his Pennsylvania audience.
"I met an optometrist this morning and ... this optometrist wanted to change his billing address. He moved his office from one side of town to the other, same Zip code, same post office. But he wanted to change his address. He got a form from the federal government. This is so he could get reimbursement from the federal government for the services he provides for the poor and seniors.
"The form he gets to change address is 33 pages long -- 33 pages long. He calls someone to ask how to fill it out. He calls someone in government. They tell him what to do. He sends it in. They sent it back. It wasn't done right, got to do it again, another 33 pages. He calls another person. They tell him what to do. Doesn't get it right the second time. The third time's the charm, though. This takes several months during which time he's not getting the checks for the work he's doing for people who need his care. That's how government works."
While the WaWa story caused a bit of a stir, this little story about the change-of-address form at the post office is infinitely more interesting -- in part because it's so ridiculously untrue, and in part because it helps underscore the absurd philosophy Romney is trying to peddle on the campaign trail.
As Paul Waldman explained, "Have you ever changed your address? You probably have. Did you have to fill out a 33-page form? Of course you didn't. The form to change your address is a friggin' postcard. Old address, new address, when you want the change to happen. Done. You can do it online now, and it'll take about 2 minutes. Yet Mitt Romney gets up in front of a crowd of people and tells them that government is so awful, at the Post Office you have to fill out a 33-page form to change your address."
Romney wants -- and in fact, needs -- voters to have nothing but disdain for public institutions, which leads him to tell outlandish falsehoods like these with a straight face. And Republican voters, conditioned to believe that public institutions are broken and untrustworthy, accept the lies at face value.
But the non-existent 33-page change-of-address form underscores an important truth: if government is so awful, and the public bureaucracy is such a Brazil-like nightmare, why can't Romney point to real examples instead of passing along nonsense?