Mitt Romney’s Secret Twitter Account Is Unethical

It’s…..Mitt!

For some reason Ann Althouse is defending Mitt Romney’s fake Twitter feed identity. She’s wrong.

This week it was revealed that Senator Romney has been maintaining an undercover Twitter account as “Pierre Delicto,” a funny choice for a Mormon, since it sounds like a porn star name that George Costanza might have used if he discarded his first choice, “Buck Naked.” Mitt confessed that he used to account to “lurk” on Twitter and read what others were writing. If that was all he was doing, I would have no problem with the ethics of being “Pierre.”

However, those perusing his account, notably Georgetown professor Don Moynihan, who revealed his discoveries on Twitter, found  that Mitt also used his Twitter account to signal approval of post critical to other Republicans, like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Lindsay Graham, and Marco Rubio, whose critic got a “like” from Pierre for this tweet…

Nice.

Rubio has been a prominent Romney supporter, and now Mitt mocks him online behind a fake name? I like Romney—I voted for him for President twice—but this is cowardice, and the equivalent of slurring someone behind his back, 21st Century -style. For the second time this month I have reason to quote George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility, #89, “Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.”

If George’s father were to have updated the rules that he made young George memorize to include guidance to not being a snake in the grass, it might have included, “Speak not evil of the absent while pretending to be someone else, for it is cowardly and dishonest.”

When long-time Romney foe Mike Huckabee attacked Senator Romney for his Twitter alter-ego with this…

….bloggress Ann Alhouse defended Mitt with a full-throated “everybody does it” along with a really terrible analogy, especially for a law professor:

Question for Mike Huckabee: Were the authors of The Federalist Papers kids, cowards, couch potatoes, or perverts?

Pseudonyms are an American tradition. They’re all over the place in debate over ratifying the Constitution. And how about Rocky Clark? Was he a kid, a coward, a couch potato, or a pervert? (Rocky Clark was the pseudonym Steve Wozniak used “when attending the University of California, Berkeley after co-founding Apple Computer, because ‘I knew I wouldn’t have time enough to be an A+ student'” — see “Pseudonym” (Wikipedia)).And then there’s Donald Trump

Yechhh. The Founders used pseudonyms because they were risking arrest and imprisonment for some of their attacks on King George: I’d say they had a better excuse and purpose than wanting to secretly slam colleagues on-line without having to be accountable for it.

30 thoughts on “Mitt Romney’s Secret Twitter Account Is Unethical

  1. From what I’ve read so far, I find interesting is that Romney behind the pseudonym is the account that was sharing Romney’s honest opinions and showing his true character, and the twitter account using his real name was the false facade of what he wanted people to think his character is. When Romney was running for President I couldn’t vote for the man because there was something about him that didn’t seem genuine, nice enough guy but not genuine; now I know why.

    I have no problem with people using a pseudonym and that includes politicians using a pseudonym to get viewpoints and engage in conversations that they might not get otherwise. What is done behind the pseudonym represents the person. Kings and Queens used to dress down and wander the streets to see and hear what they otherwise could not see and hear, in a way those were pseudonym’s and it can be a useful tool.

    I think Romney having a pseudonym wasn’t unethical, how Romney chose to use that pseudonym to voice opinions that he would never share as the “real” Romney is signature significant and shows us that Romney’s public persona has been a fake facade for a long time. Romney’s public persona is fake, that’s where Romney’s is truly being unethical.

  2. I believe that if you think something to say of importance then stand up and be counted.

    I now regret voting for Romney. I once believed he was wrongly maligned because of his wealth. Had I known he and his fellow travelers were cowardly fair weather conservatives none would have gotten my vote.

    When I first started posting on online forums I chose to use my full name as others do here. I don’t believe all persons using pseudonyms are behaving cowardly, I only think that of people who hide behind false names to play dirty while maintaining an image of fake decorum.

    Romney just proved he is a two faced coward. He is the Republican sore loser equivalent of HRC. At least HRC owns her venom.

    Note: Romney and McCain are the reason I will not donate to the NRCC but would donate to Trump and those that don’t denigrate him to enhance their personal DC society credentials.

    • Would m’lady like a couch to faint into?

      Let’s take a giant step back…. Mitt made an account that never actually made a single post. He clicked the “like” button a couple of times. On things that it might be politically inconvenient to click like on normally, sure, but I don’t think I can read “I believe that if you think something to say of importance then stand up and be counted.” in this context without my eyes rolling back into my head so hard they disconnect. I’m blind now. Thank you.

      • Yet every time the President “likes”a post that some contrived logic can be applied to support any one of the Big Lies, then that’s fair game. If Mitt wants to lurk, then he can lurk. If he’s going to register opinions, then he should do so openly.

        • So…. That contrived logic…. Is it good or bad? Do you accept it, or reject it? Because unless you’ve done a complete 180 on your opinion of the left fishing for meaning in Trump’s tweets, then the first sentence is a complete non sequitur.

      • HT
        My comments are less to do with this moronic twitter account than Romney’s continued underhanded attempts to sow discord. What I have read however suggested Pierre did more than just a couple of likes. If my understanding is incorrect it really does not change my overall assessment. I challenge anyone to produce a quote in which Romney has not bashed the administration when he is given airtime. Romney is no Graham, Rubio, Cruz or Rand Paul. None are Trump syncophants.

        The fact is that Romney, Mueller and others actively sought positions in the Trump administration. It appears that because they were unsuccessful (probably because their true nature was udentified) at landing a plum position they have opted to join the resistance.

        I have no problem with people of roughly similar political ideals being at odds with each other. But I draw the line at public infighting. Romney, McCain et al could have helped Trump’s transition from private sector to public sector but instead each worked to undermine him because he offended their delicate sensitivities during the campaign. Even Low Energy Jeb who took the lion’s share if Trump’s jabs and uppercuts has not overtly worked to scuttle this presidency.

        • Despite Jack agreeing with you, I have no idea what you even think your point is, because you’ve completely shifted the goalposts.

          Your first message was that you regret voting for him because he was too cowardly to say in public what he was tweeting in private, even though he didn’t actually tweet anything. And now you’re saying he actually said all those things every time someone handed him a mic, but you think that it’s just sour grapes for not being handed a position?

  3. When I first read about this story, I did not understand the kerfuffle. I imagine lots of people of fake accounts to see what people are saying about them, though I can’t imagine why fake accounts are needed because the comments are right there on your page, no? What does “Pierre Delecto” mean? is it a play on “in pare delicto”? Then, I learned that St. Mitt used the fake account to respond to critics and negative comments. THAT, right there, shows me that the account was unethical, though I imagine St. Mitt didn’t do much of the commenting – he probably has an army of staffers doing it on his behalf.

    jvb

  4. I… disagree. I mean, to state the obvious elephant in the room, I use a pseudonym… Although to be fair, when I started here, I used my name, but there were two too many Jeffs at the time, and even I couldn’t keep us straight.

    I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the argument is that using a pseudonym to duck responsibility is unethical. I don’t think what’s being said is that the messages are unethical… First off because Romney didn’t say anything, we’re commenting on the history of his likes… And second off because there’s nothing really unethical in saying, for instance, that you approve of a message at Mike Huckabee mocking him for cheating on his second wife with his third wife while going balls to the wall at Bill Clinton for cheating on Bill’s first wife. No, the argument, I think, is that if you’re going to approve of those messages, then you owe it to the target of those messages to do so openly.

    I mean…. I get that becoming a political pariah is materially different than risking your life, but I really do see where Althouse is coming from. Was the expectation that Romney’s choices were to either not express those approvals, or to risk his political career in order to make politically inconvenient thoughts known?

    And… See, I’m a bit of a free speech purist, and the idea that someone can’t even approve of, let alone say, relatively benign but counter-party comments without risking their careers probably has free speech ramifications. And getting one’s nose out of joint when someone takes literally *the* smallest effort to get around that hits me as both a little out of touch and very over-invested.

    And so today, I am Pierre Delecto.

      • Is it? Remember that part of the context of my comment was that I agreed with Ann that there were parallels to the founding fathers.

        Is the rule then “If you’re a public figure and the likely consequences aren’t a charge of treason, you have a duty to conduct all correspondence under your actual name.”?

    • HT

      I am with you on the idea that a counter party position should not carry with it career ending punishment.

      I too am a free speech purist and cringe when when some say speech has consequences. No doubt it does, but do you want a leader that evaluates what direction the flock wants to go? I don’t so I will not suffer fools that hide their beliefs behind a false persona. Speech only has negative consequences when those that disagree with such speech have the power to silence you and lack the conviction of their own perspectives forcing them to rely on the safety of groupthink. Attempts to silence opposition must be met with vigorous resistance usung better arguments to bolster your points while forceful pushback on censorship.

      As earlier stated I have no issue with pen names but when one uses a false name to pitch one idea but a different one to argue the preferred narrative that is just cowardly. That is my issue. Using a pseudonym consistently to communicate the same ideas as those you would otherwise publically state with your true identity is not a problem for me.

      My earlier point was based on the idea that if you want to lead me then lead otherwise you are simply the person in the front of the line that lacks direction or conviction.

      • You’re going to have to be specific, because I don’t think you’ve thought this through. What positions, specifically, do you think Romney advocated in his likes that were the opposite of his public statements? Because there might be some things on here that he might not have wanted to say publicly, but I don’t think there’s any real contradictions here.

        Literally the best that I think you can do here might be the snipes at people like Rubio… But at the end of the day, they weren’t exactly substantive, and he had to work with these guys.

  5. ”it sounds like a porn star name”

    From what I’ve…um…gathered, one’s porn star name should be your first pet and the street upon which you grew up, which would make me Samantha Rock; maybe I’ll just stick with Sam

    “Pierre Delicto”? Perhaps because Carlos Danger was taken?

  6. I’m beginning to think Mitt Romney is nothing more than Hunter Biden from an earlier generation. He’s George Romney’s son and floated along on a mostly Mormon gravy train with biscuit wheels his entire life. He’s a dope and a stuffed shirt. Son of a pol. The light’s on but nobody’s home. Mitt Romney won’t you please go now.

  7. I have multiple avatars and pen names, and they have a long tradition in letters and politics. Louisa May Alcott had many, including male ones she sold to the dime store novels, her family was on the radical side for their era as abolitionists. Asimov was also Paul French, and Stephen King was Bachman. Jayne Ann Krentz uses several bylines to separate works in different sub genres and publishers. I know some workers I deal with, I stay away from politics as it’s harder to get a job done if they go ballistic, others I enjoy some spirited banter. As much as I deplore the recent harrassment in neutral situations like restaurants, I don’t want to walk around with a target on my back in day to day living.

    I agree it is a rotten thing to make sock puppet accounts, to snark about enemies or leave cooked reviews for books or products. But many settings like fanfic, the default avatar is never a true name. It’s kind of pointless to make an extra account to leave revews for yourself, unlike Amazon, there is no profit. I could understand a celeb making an alt, so they can interact with people on a more authentic level and give opinions of thoughts their publicists would not approve of. Romney should have balkanized the spare twitter to chat about beekeeping, Dark Shadows and the Beach Boys and stayed out of politics and things he could just relax with. That way both accounts are honest. Speakers and writers can tailor their words without becoming sleazy.

  8. By the time the Founders wrote the Federalist papers, I don’t think they were at risk of King George getting them. I was under the impression they wrote under pseudonyms to add an air of each work being part of a larger consensus and not just the works of individual men…since they did represent a sort of general consensus among the pro-Constitutionalists.

    • That’s correct: the Revolutionary War had ended several years before the papers were published, but old habits die hard. That group had operated like a secret organization for more than a decade, in part out of necessity, and was still behaving like one. The papers’ audience probably knew who the writers were.

      It remains a misleading comparison for what Romney is doing.

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