So, Mitt Romney has decided to put a blatant, demonstrable lie at the center of his entire presidential campaign. As of today, the Republican has successfully stopped the talk about his tax returns by telling one of the more offensive falsehoods of the year: that Obama has ended the work requirement in welfare law.
Does this have any basis in reality? Not even a little. The president is giving states the option of experimenting with new welfare-to-work programs -- an option Romney used to support -- but work requirements remain intact.
The question is what Obama is going to do about this. Simply pointing out that Romney is blatantly, shamelessly lying probably isn't going to cut it -- most news organizations are reluctant to hold politicians responsible for dishonesty, and voters are easily fooled. So what's the next best option? Ed Kilgore suggests putting Bill Clinton in front of the cameras, since he's the one shown in Romney's dishonest attack ad.
...Team Romney is leaving itself a bit vulnerable by going there, because Bill Clinton is very much alive and well and has a somewhat better idea of what he was trying to accomplish in 1996 and throughout his presidency than members of the party who tried to force him out of office and hated him almost as much as they hate Obama.
So if I were advising the president, I'd get the 42d occupant of the White House out there post-haste to rebut the lies and expose their intent.... If nothing else, it would discourage Romney's campaign from ever again pretending he's more like Clinton than Clinton's Democratic successor.
That's a good idea, but the Big Dog is busy, I've got a Plan B: end the states' flexibility.
Republican governors were the ones who asked for the flexibility to experiment, and Obama agreed. But if Romney and the GOP have decided to go nuclear on this, making up garbage in the hopes that voters are fools, the president can simply reverse course -- Republicans are against state flexibility and experimentation? Fine, no more state flexibility and experimentation.