Santorum Does His Infernal Duty

So as an appetizer for tonight’s dual “keynote addresses” by Ann Romney and Chris Christie (surely the first time in history when “keynote addresses” were delivered after the roll call formally nominating candidates), Sen. Rick Santorum will put in his bid for a Cabinet post by lying about Obama’s position on welfare reform. He rehearsed the lie–not even bothering to document it, but simply asserting it–in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column today:

His administration recently issued a new directive giving the secretary of Health and Human Services the power to waive federal welfare-work requirements.

That is a lie, but even if it were somehow true, the Romney campaign’s ads claiming that Obama has already eliminated every condition for receiving cash benefits would still be a lie.

But it appears the Romney/Ryan campaign is deploying the informal New Media diktat that once something’s repeated a few times it becomes a “fact.” Quite the practice for the party that supposedly deplores “moral relativism,” eh?

Word is the prize Santorum wants is to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, which would put his own self in charge of regulations governing the TANF program. That means he could issue an imaginary rescission of the imaginary rules abolishing work requirements. It would be good practice for Rick, since the real reason he covets HHS, I suspect, is so that he can redefine contraceptives as “abortifacients” even as he is abolishing insurance mandates for either one.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.