Here is Romney’s ad dubbing Obama’s allegations of Bain outsourcing a lie on Politico.
Mitt Romney’s campaign was slightly derailed in the swing states this past week, with a slight dip in the polls. The Obama campaign’s attack ads are running heavily and Romney has assumed the moral high ground, insisting that President Obama apologize for stooping to a smear campaign. Romney’s falling numbers have been attributed to the success of Obama’s attack ads, which have successfully, it would seem,undermined Romney’s narrative of job creation.
Here are the latest poll numbers:
This is a classic political move when one has been backed into a corner, but given that Romney totally lacks any precedence of ‘being the bigger man’ in terms of campaign ads and public references to Obama in general, it seems to me he has no grounds for asking for an apology or mercy now.
The ads paint Romney as a kind of mogul: one who sends jobs overseas, has offshore bank accounts, and tries to obfuscate his potential misdeeds through vagary or by complicating the issue, which in the world of tax loopholes and a potential mishandling of a investment firm, is not hard to do.
One might’ve characterized these ads as a bit hyperbolic, but given that Romney has so poorly quelled these characterizations, maybe not. What we have had in response are so many half-measures to try to defend his record without saying anything he can’t truly stand by. Rhetorically, he can talk all he wants about how he could better run the country than President Obama has, but as the facts about his past amass, his responses more than ever have to be carefully measured so he is not caught in an unmistakable lie.
So rather than denouncing outsourcing, which he obviously cannot do, he must defend the practice as economically sound. This past week’s debunking has been able only to fend off the ad’s allegation that Bain was not a PIONEER of outsourcing.
We have also seen more studies that claim outsourcing has a neutral net job production rate.
is a WaPo article citing a study conducted in London making the case.
The most recent issue–Romney’s Bain departure–is a particularly sticky one, and has prompted a request for a more comprehensive release of Mr. Romney’s taxes, including those when he supposedly was relieved of his managerial position at Bain.
His hurried departure from Bain may well be a reasonable answer to the question to why his name appears on government documents, but without a complete answer it fails to allay our suspicion.
The details are still emerging, but a recent ABC interview seems to suggest that Romney may have perjured himself, claiming that he was no longer acting head of Bain Capital. Additionally, despite his claim that he “had no ongoing involvement” at Bain during ’99 to the end of ’01 he was the sole stockholder for a period during those years. It is estimated that he received a salary of anywhere from $100,000 to under 7-figures.
Romney’s recent interviews haven’t hasn’t done much to check the ad’s main charges of outsourcing or when it has, it has left Bain holding the bag, claiming Romney had left by that time. I’ll buy the ‘it was complicated’ defense, regarding his move from Bain to the 2000 Olympics, but he stands no chance of defending Bain against what it was designed to do.
As Greg Sargent puts it:
We find reasonable grounds for labeling the companies as “Romney’s.” He was the founder of Bain and assembled a team that looked to make high returns. One strategy was to invest in companies that played off the trend in outsourcing.
If picking a company makes it yours, then these were Romney’s companies and in a general sense, they did what he expected them to do.
Romney’s responses to allegations of holding offshore accounts have not been met with denial, but that he paid all the taxes that he was legally obligated to pay. From an average Joe, this would’ve been a straightforward answer, but for a multi-millionaire it means Romney’s tax lawyers found every possible loophole and wired all they ‘were legally allowed’ to tax havens in the Caribbean.
A release of his taxes would clear up some of these questions for the public. Seeing as how he has not, we are led to think two things: 1: that the demand has struck him as an indignity and he is not giving Obama the satisfaction, or 2: that he is afraid of what we will find.
Romney ran a much cleaner campaign than his now fallen Republican opponents, backing away from the Birthers and similar distracting issues in this campaign, but he and his ads, backed largely by few and wealthy donors, have been no stranger to Obama-bashing.
The Romney campaign has seized on the economy as Obama’s fatal weakness and early in the race he saw his own poll numbers begin to tick up. Now that the Obama campaign has once again taken the lead, and has looked into Romney’s job-creation record, Romney is playing hurt and claims Obama is running a crooked race.
This request for an apology amounts to little more than whining. Although we’re not of the opinion that “all’s fair in love and campaigns,” what is fair game is the record you’re touting, and the platform you’re running on. If you say you know what creates jobs, you should have no reservations about it being broadcast. If you think the upper 1%, or 3%, or 100% should pay less taxes, Swiss bank accounts should be a mark of honor, not shame. If you think that outsourcing jobs is better for the economy and will help pay down the deficit, make that case, but don’t blame an opposing campaign for uncovering your past, especially when you’re defending the ideology that guided it in your stump speech.
Although it completely undercuts his request for an apology, Romney concurrently retorted with ‘I know you are but what am I?’ Romney doesn’t want to concede that he outsourced jobs, and apparently doesn’t agree that outsources creates jobs generally, as he’s trying to use it as a criticism of Obama.
Romney’s betting that his relativism will seem more favorable than Obama’s hypocrisy, and that as long as people think they’re both guilty of outsourcing, at least it was Romney’s job to do so.
In my upcoming post, I will address the outsourcing record as we now know it, but as I addressed in the last post, Obama’s attack of outsourcing energy jobs is not well substantiated and, as this CBS story points out
, the outsourcing of bridge-buiding contacts to China were decisions made at the state level.
We all have our quixotic conception of a nice, clean race, but nobody runs that race and pulling that card well into the campaign, when cynicism has fueled your ads as well as your opponent’s is a cry for help, not civility. Negative ads sadly are more effective, and despite the recursive cynicism it provokes, it also an expedient way to distinguish oneself from one’s opponent. A recommendation of one’s own policies without reference to the other’s is almost nonexistent, and this has been true since Demosthenes. So if people want to know if you earned money from a company you claimed you weren’t running, you’d better have a defensible answer and blame no one but yourself if you’re culpable.
Here are quotes of Romney throwing some mud of his own in the past several months:
Romney says at the CNN Republican Debate, “I don’t think we’ve seen in the history in this country, the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, and religious tolerance we’ve seen in a Barack Obama.”
Here is a speech given just off the bus in New Hampshire, “[Obama's] giving a speech in Fantasyland–which is obviously appropriate because he’s been living in a sort of Fantasyland: he will be talking about what a great job he’s doing on the economy.”
Romney characterized Obama as being “out of touch,” after taking Obama’s press conference sound byte “the private sector is doing fine” out of context.
Romney makes the baseless charge in April 2012, that “Obama would like to erode gun owners’ rights.”
is Andrew Sullivan’s well codified ‘Ad War Updates’.