Truth a casualty in U.S. election campaign

Mitt Romney's ability to contradict his own positions (and reality) could change the way elections are fought on both sides of the border

History has shown that political trends have a way of drifting northward into Canada from our American cousins. And if that turns out to be the case with the current political campaign, it promises to be far more frightening than any of the goblins who turned up at your door on Halloween night.

U.S. President Barack Obama is fending off a challenge from Republican rival Mitt Romney in next Tuesday’s presidential election. The candidates offer a stark contrast in their views for the future. Unfortunately, many voters would not know this unless they have been following the campaign very closely.

President Obama is promoting a plan that would increase taxes on Americans earning more than $250,000 a year to bring more middle-class tax relief. Romney has pledged a massive tax cut for America’s wealthiest citizens, paid for by eliminating loopholes and deductions. Independent analysis has shown that ending those “loopholes” would cost the average American more than $2,000. But when the issue arose in the presidential debate, Romney simply denied any knowledge of the policy — despite video footage and the candidate’s own website.

The same goes for his pledge to repeal health care, something he repeatedly said would be his top priority. During the debates? He vowed he would keep all the main components of Obamacare. During the financial meltdown, Romney famously urged the government to “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” But the Republican candidate now paints himself as the auto industry’s biggest defender. And with Republican Senate candidates — along with Romney’s vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan — vowing to protect the rights of rapists and force victims to carry that baby to term, Romney has shown himself devoid of any core beliefs even on issues as deeply ingrained as abortion.

But instead of pointing out the contradictory and hypocritical stance of a man who could be the leader of the free world, the media narrative has been that Romney has cleverly tacked to the centre to better appeal to moderates.

Hopefully, the truth will remain a fundamental issue with American voters. The future of Canadian politics could very well depend on it.