One of the great mysteries of election 2012 so far is, how the hell was Team Romney so completely unprepared for Team Obama’s withering attacks on his past at Bain capital, his tax returns, his off-shore bank accounts, and his general Richie Rich persona?
Romney ran against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts in the ‘90s and the Obama campaign has basically been repeating that playbook, so they can’t claim they didn’t see this coming. Whether or not the Obama slams on Bain Capital are distortions or “unfair”, they’re hardly the same thing as calling a Vietnam war hero a treasonous liar, yet that’s what Team Romney appears to be trying to claim: that the man is being Swift-Boated.
If you’re Mitt Romney, and you’re running for president claiming that you’ve run complex institutions and prospered before, so we voters might as well let you get behind the steering wheel of the presidency, you’d better have a retort for all the obvious claims that you pioneered outsourcing and destroyed American jobs and threw widows and orphans into the street and all the rest.
They very tone-deafness with which Romney has parried these attacks shows that he remains beholden to right-wing orthodoxy and not much else. He knows any mention of a safety net for workers displaced by globalization would get howls from Talk Radio. He understands that his greatest accomplishment as a public servant—Obamneycare—remains sacrilege to that crowd as well.
On some level culturally conservative voters, whose main interests remain issues like abortion, gay marriage, firearm possession, illegal immigration, and ensuring their tax dollars do not get “redistributed” to black people, have come to peace with a political movement that they must know does not give two shits about what they will do if they lose their job and get sick, that does not care if a mortgage issuer can include fiscal IEDs in a home loan agreement, that does not care how much mercury is in their water.
Yet the problem is that Republican proposals have become so outlandish in lavishing riches upon the already wealthy, it’s becoming a parody of itself. Perhaps they really would have been better off with these proposals coming out of the mouth of someone like Rick Santorum, who at least doesn’t sound like he owns multiple houses and an Olympic horse that competes in dressage. Romney sounds like what he is: the scion of an oligarchic family and life-long member financial elite who’s long viewed the presidency as something he’s as entitled to as a 13% tax rate.
And, as I’ve noted before, his economic plan is to double down on the same deregulatory madness and tax cuts for the wealthy that blew up the deficit and almost allowed the world economy to melt down in 2007-2008. You want to know why the Obama campaign is hitting you so effectively, Mitt Romney? You want to know why they’re doing such a swell job of painting you as a rich jerk running for president in order to help other rich jerks?
You’re the multi-millionaire son of a multi-millionaire who wants to use programs that benefit the working-class, the poor, and the elderly as a “piggybank” for tax cuts that will benefit mostly multi-millionaires.
Rocket science this is not.