Jack Hitt Watches the Republican Convention
Irin Carmon on Ann Romney

The Leap of Faith That Is Supporting Mitt Romney

Josh Barro:

Romney and Christie's Hard Truth Problem: I will just note Christie’s use of the future tense. Christie promises Romney “will tell us the hard truths.” It would be hard to contend that he has done so in the past….

Christie’s record in New Jersey is mixed. He really has told some hard truths and defended some politically difficult positions, and the state is better off for it. He has put a focus on pay and benefits structures that have made public employment in New Jersey unaffordable…. Part of his 2010 budget plan was eliminating property tax credits…. This wasn’t popular in the state with the country’s highest property taxes, and it drew fire from the right and left, but it was a necessary part of addressing the state’s dire fiscal situation…. But a hard truth Christie absolutely will not tell is that every one of his budgets has been unbalanced by more than $2.5 billion. When Christie said tonight he has signed “three balanced budgets,” he wasn’t telling a hard truth -- he was using bad accounting to hide a hard truth….

Christie isn’t the first governor to underfund New Jersey’s pensions or to sign a budget that was “balanced” with gimmicks. And he’s not the only governor to brag about an inadequate pension reform…. But Christie claims to be a unique truth-teller, and in these key areas, he has not been one.

As for Romney, his political career has been built around avoiding hard truths. He was a moderate when that was convenient and a conservative when that was convenient, always modifying his message to meet the demands of the audience. Mitt Romney needs hard truths like a fish needs a bicycle….

Maybe Christie has reason to believe Romney will start telling hard truths if we first elect him president. I actually think that’s possible -- it’s closely related to my Secret Economic Plan hypothesis.

And that’s the hard truth about Mitt Romney’s candidacy -- the only way to support him is on a leap of faith.