Mittens is in a long-term bind of his own long-term making. I have been saying — for a long time now — that Mitt Romney is the absolutely ideal candidate to run against in the prop wash of a worldwide recession driven by … the self-serving casino-like gaming of guys exactly like Mitt Romney. Romney and Bain Capital’s form and style of business may befuddle the mythical Average American, but Joe and Sally Venti Latte know a few things for sure, among them that they could never benefit from the byzantine tax dodges, shelters and debt-leveraging strategies Romney used, and that Bain in some cases lobbied into law.
As a media hand I was greatly amused by last Friday’s end-of-the-week “Mitts-krieg”, wherein the notorious bubble candidate, Romney, appeared in a quick succession of satellite interviews with five networks, (although not with those impudent knaves at MSNBC). Everyone in the news game is familiar with the Friday afternoon data/news dump, wherein something that is going to cause problems or play badly is thrown out at the very moment most reporters are heading to Happy Hour. The strategy being that by Monday, chances are, whatever had to be said will be flattened by a new story and quickly forgotten.
Good luck on that with your financial history, Mittens.
Even more amusing, for anyone who knows the TV news game is the choice of the satellite format, with each network dropping in for a tightly allotted slice of time, rather than a press conference — with reporters from the same networks who are most likely within walking distance of wherever Romney is in a given moment.
The satellite-interview shtick pretty much guaranteed that each network would ask exactly the same question — every candidate can rely on journalistic group-think to ease the dike patching in an emergency. With each asking that same question, Romney could, and did provide each with exactly the same answer. He could stay on script, bloviating away most of the allotted time. In an open press conference he would have risked some scurrilous bastard, perhaps a pot-smoking Lutheran or atheist hedonist from something like Mother Jones who snuck in under the velvet ropes, to blurt out a follow-up or pursue a more specific facet on the standard line of questioning.
While Average Americans like you and me try to define exactly what “retired retroactively” means, we can be assured that Romney’s troubles explaining both how and when he made his fortune are not going to go away, probably ever.
Team Obama had to have kept a supply of fresh napkins close by to deal with all the drool conjured up by the thought of running against Mitt Romney. I mean, think about it. After a job-crushing, debt-inflating financial sector meltdown caused by the casino culture of a highly insulated financial class that put “shareholder value” and their own lavish bonuses before actually making stuff — that required middle-class workers — the GOP couldn’t stop itself from nominating a … financial “services” guy. A guy whose business was creating fantastic profits for himself and his closest associates, often with the collateral damage of shutting down functioning American industries … in the interests of productivity and efficiency, you understand.
(And the GOP couldn’t help itself because despite the noisy babble of the Tea Party lunkheads, it is big money, dependent on “worker productivity” — more work, less pay — and the shift of taxation from them to the middle class that sustains the party.)
Running against sex-obsessed Rick Santorum wouldn’t have been half as much fun.
Team Obama’s real problem will be pacing themselves through the rest of campaign, doling out the right quality of “attack” (i.e revelation of Mittens’ career work) at precisely the right moment, each one fresher than the last yet oddly familiar
The business of Romney’s taxes alone will be gold for weeks to come, at least. Again, ask yourself why he hasn’t simply released them, “taken the hit”, as George Will suggests, and moved on? We all know he’s rich. We already know that he’s only paying a 13%-15% tax rate — thanks to the lobbying of Bain Capital to drive those rates that low — and that he/Bain has over 100 off-shore accounts in the Grand Cayman alone. How much worse could it be?
I’m guessing,”quite a bit”. And in ways that Team Romney can’t calculate, given the microscopic analysis those returns will go under once out in the open. If ten years worth of returns (and his 2010 return alone was 500 pages) produces only 10 uncomfortable questions for Romney, a guy who embodies sweaty discomfort in the face of impudent questioning, that’s almost one a week until election day.
But until then Mittens has other critical decisions. Like, for example, how to get Sarah Palin up in front of his convention, with him, in a photo-op that satisfies the Teabaggers, without torching himself with the persuadables, folks who may not be happy with Obama’s inability to work an economic miracle, but think the modern Republican party is a ship of toxic fools.