"A lot of people inside the Beltway are tut-tutting about the recent campaign focus on Mitt Romney’s personal history — his record of profiting even as workers suffered, his mysterious was-he-or-wasn’t-he role at Bain Capital after 1999, his equally mysterious refusal to release any tax returns from before 2010. Some of the tut-tutters are upset at any suggestion that this election is about the rich versus the rest. Others decry the personalization: why can’t we just discuss policy."
"And neither group is living in the real world."
" however, why not run a campaign based on that substance, and leave Mr. Romney’s personal history alone? The short answer is, get real."
"The point is that talking about Mr. Romney’s personal history isn’t a diversion from substantive policy discussion. On the contrary, in a political and media environment strongly biased against substance, talking about Bain and offshore accounts is the only way to bring the real policy issues into focus. And we should applaud, not condemn, the Obama campaign for standing up to the tut-tutters. "
Yes! Krugman nails it. The debate over Bain is not a way to avoid a substantive debate, it's actually the way to actually have one for once. This is the beauty of a "liberal dog whistle" as I've explained in a previous post.
In my last post I noted that the team Romney has literally no answer to Bain
I just came across an article at Daily KOS that clearly shows that I'm not the only one who has been struck by how weak the Romney campaign is on responding to the Bain attacks.
"What HASN'T been discussed, so far as I've seen, is the Romney's campaign's seeming lack of ammunition in this battle."
"For if there ever was a time when you would want an ammunition stock-pile at your disposal, it is when your opponent is driving the narrative, forcing you into corners, causing you to make errors, and controlling the news cycles for weeks on end."
"The only other option I can see, besides Romney having nothing on Obama, is that he DOES have something BIG, and wants desperately to save it for October. But this means he's got only one thing. Which leaves Obama the entire battlefield, up until October, to himself. Continually putting Mitt on the defensive, and keeping him in check."
"I wonder if Obama's team is as surprised as I am over Team Romney's utter lack of offensive (and defensive) skills and ammunition in this campaign?"
No, the only thing they've been able to do are weird Birther stuff like Sununu saying the President is not an American, and making a big deal about a recent speech of the President's where he basically pointed out that even the very successful benefit by what economists call externalities. Rush heard this and declared the President of the United States hates his own country because he hates capitalism.
As the above linked post also points out, Romney has really been checked-to use a Chess analogy:
"My guess is that the Bain attack ads are only bishops, knights and pawns. They are begin used, simultaneously, to limit Romney's moving space, and to force errors. And, so far, they've worked brilliantly. Pundits have commented on how Obama has put Mitt into a corner, where his only two choices are:
1. Keep stalling on releasing his tax records
2. Release his tax records.
It has been brilliant. In terms of a Romney response I did notice one other thing at a very recent speech. He referenced the President's speech that supposedly shows he hates the country and capitalism and when he got to the big line said, "No! The government didn't give you the roads and bridges and American system but rather God."
So maybe that might be something. Rather than praising job creators he praised God. So maybe we'll hear more God-Talk in an attempt to finally connect with the voters.
Now, as to the substance of the attacks on Romney's personal finance, well party of it no doubt that it is long precedent that Presidential candidates hand in very many years of taxes-the President gave us 8 years in 2008 and we've gotten them him every year since he's been in the White House. It goes to the core of Romney's secretiveness, his lack of transparency, as sense that he conceals who he is, the idea that we still have no idea who Mitt Romney is, personally or politically.
It's also relevant as we are pretty clear that the reason why he won't release his taxes is that it shows a long pattern of astonishingly aggressive tax avoidance. This from a candidate who favors a tax plan that aggressively favors the rich-and also favors the Paul Ryan budget.
The Romney tax plan also provides even more incentives for offshoringexternalities that they are able to utilize on their way to phenomenal wealth-what the President called "our American system."
"Romney’s proposed exemption for foreign profits would exacerbate the worst features of our current tax system. It would:
- Enhance the tax code’s rewards for moving jobs and investments overseas
- Provide a gratuitous windfall to some of the very companies that have already shifted jobs and profits overseas
- Further invite the offshore tax haven abuse that deprives the U.S. Treasury of tens of billions of dollars in revenue every year
"One of the many ways that our tax system is broken is that it actually encourages and rewards U.S. corporations to make job-creating investments overseas even if similar investments in the United States—absent tax considerations—would be more profitable."