We are an angry nation. Angry. Frightened. Confused. Distrustful. Nearly five years of national and personal economic loss and turmoil have cost most Americans some of the sense of individual security we’ve enjoyed – and taken for granted – nearly all our lives. At the moment, Mitt Romney, the billionaires supporting him and many Republican leaders are doing their level-best to feed the insecurities. The anger. With a lie.

Our country’s political history is littered with examples of distortions, twisted truths, tortured logic and wild claims. All that can be found in abundance in the politics of today as well. But something else is out there now that I’ve never seen used in such a bald-faced way. A lie. A lie debunked by nearly all with the power of research to show it for what it is. A lie so completely and clearly expressed repeatedly that it can’t be written off as some “over exuberance” or “misquote” or “misunderstanding.” Debunked. Challenged. Disproved. Yet repeated over and over and over. Romney – and now House Speaker John Boehner – and others who know the lie for what it is – are swearing to it. Repeating it. Lying.

There’s no proof – not a word – that President Obama has approved giving welfare payments to people without the requirement for recipients to work at least part time or be actively engaged in looking for work. What he’s done is grant the requests of a number of governors to allow states to redesign their own welfare programs using the federal dollars now available to them. One of the federal requirements for such localized programs is that they show at least a 25% reduction over time in the number of people receiving state welfare support.

Romney is currently running a fifth ad in a continuing campaign accusing the President of removing work requirements for welfare recipients. It’s a lie. Romney knows it. And he’s repeating it daily.

“How does he know,” you ask? “How can you be so sure, Rainey?”

The proof is amazingly simple. When he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney and four other governors made the same request for the same federal waiver to do exactly the same thing: exercise control over welfare programs at the state level. They got it. Romney got it. They know they got it. Romney knows it and what the restrictions were. And are.

This isn’t conjecture by some old fella out in the forests of Oregon. This isn’t just a rant or some excuse. Romney is lying. Boehner is lying. The Romney campaign and the billionaires putting up millions of dollars for the SuperPACs are lying. Top Republicans and their pundits are lying. Call it for what it is. If you want to fact-check me, do the same search of State of Massachusetts and federal records I did. It ain’t hard.

The Romney campaign has been showing these ads to focus groups made up of middle-aged men and women. White men and women. Each ad shows whites working and blacks in government office lines. Or doing nothing. There are variations of whites and blacks on the same theme. Focus group response – white focus group response – has been acceptance of the intended message that whites are working and blacks are not. The acceptance level has been very high – especially with whites with no more than a high school education. Since results of other groups and polling show Romney is not doing well attracting white women, they’re trying to do so with the welfare lie.

What the President did was no different than in granting similar waivers for other government programs. “No Child Left Behind” from the Bush years is one. States asked for – and got – permission from both Bush and Obama to vary from the federal education rules in their use of federal dollars. And that permission came with similar requirements for accountability – mainly improved test scores. States weren’t given control of those dollars to drop underperforming kids out of school. They had to show improvements.

Here’s another thought: would the current President – or any President- make it possible for people already considered “deadbeats” by far too many to make money for doing nothing during an election year? Kinda like a President – any President – making sure gasoline stayed at $4.00 a gallon during the campaign. From a political standpoint, not terribly smart.

Mitt Romney has two major problems with voters thus far: his inability to take a public stand on any major political issue and stay with it – and his reluctance or inability to show who he really is and what his core values are. So we’re left to look for clues for ourselves. To try to construct the man.

Voters want to know his stand on tax issues important to them based on how he’s conducted his own affairs. They don’t know because he won’t document what he’s done. Voters want to know what unchangeable, personal positions he has. They don’t know because he won’t say. Voters want to know why many of his published statements have been challenged by public documents showing just the opposite from what he said. Voters want to know what makes the guy tick.

People who might support him if they knew him – if they knew some of these things – are left questioning. Yet, instead of opening up about the truths of who he is, the Romney campaign – and Romney himself – continue to perpetuate a well-documented lie as the lead issue in the campaign.

Pushing the truth envelope in political campaigns happens so often we just expect it. It’s doubtful anyone has been successful in the pursuit of public office in the last 200 years or so that didn’t have a bit of fudge left on the old fingers. But lying. Then lying again. Then again. And again. And again. Same lie to the same people. Absent information from the candidate personally about who and what he is, we are left to construct – as best we can – the man as he and those around him portray him.

Even if the welfare lie were to disappear from the airwaves this hour, there are still nine weeks to the election. That’s a long time to continue trying to keep one lie alive. To keep it effective with the narrow group of support the campaign is trying to attract and hold. Will there be another? And another?

We don’t know. But we know this. There’s one lie out there now. It’s out there to feed fear and distrust among just enough of the electorate to tip the scales. Not knowing any more about the candidate than I do, I’m gonna vote based on what I know. And that’s the truth.

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