Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mitt's Painted Into a Corner

 The Pilot: Southern Pines, NC, July 22, 2012

First a quick correction: Last week, as a couple of readers pointed out, I had a brain fluff and mentioned the "Republican-controlled Senate."
Clearly it's the House the Republicans control, and I could have sworn that's what I wrote. But, sure enough, the original column has the mistake right there, plain as day. Mea culpa. It's the Republican-controlled House that's wasting precious time and millions of taxpayer dollars on votes that are little more than stunts meant to do nothing but generate ads for the fall. Hope this clears things up.
Anyway, it seems that Willard Mitt "Etch a Sketch" Romney has gotten himself into another hilarious pickle with his zany antics. Romney's been basing his entire campaign message around "trust me to fix the economy, I'm a big shot businessman who made bunches and bunches of money."
Well, I guess he can't run on his single four-year term as an actual chief executive, during which his signature achievement was a health care reform plan that provided the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act - you know, the so-called "Obamacare" that the current GOP hates with the burning intensity of a thousand suns, despite the fact it was originally a Republican idea.
No, he can't run on his record as the moderate governor of "Taxachusetts." The Rabid Right would eat him for lunch. So he's made his biggest selling point his tenure as the top kahuna of a bewildering set of interlocking entities known as Bain Capital.
Until, that is, people (including fellow Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry) started pointing out that some of Bain's strategies for making money from the companies it took over looked uncomfortably like one of those "bust out" scenarios from "Goodfellas" or "The Sopranos": Move in, use the company's credit to jack up its debt and pay themselves big fees with the borrowed money, then, if "restructuring" (usually involving firing a lot of people and moving jobs overseas) didn't turn things around, declare bankruptcy and walk away with pockets full of cash.
It was the accusations of "offshoring" jobs overseas that really got Mitt's goat. He had nothing to do with that, he insisted. His official campaign statement said that "Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point."
Then The Boston Globe found documents filed with the SEC and signed by Romney that told a different story. As just one filing from Feb. 20, 2001 put it: "Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president of Bain Capital and thus [and this is the important part] is the controlling person of Bain Capital." Oops.
The Romney campaign went into frantic spin mode, spamming Mitt's mug across five networks in one day to explain how a person described in legally required filings as the "controlling person" in 2001 wasn't really in control in 2001. "Who you gonna believe," the defense ran, "me, or those lyin' documents with my signature on them?"
It reached the height of absurdity when Romney surrogate Ed Gillespie earnestly explained that Romney had "retroactively" retired from Bain in 2002, after which late night comedians such as Jon Stewart and Conan O'Brian were seen literally dancing for joy at the gift they'd been handed.
Now it may be entirely true that Romney, despite what he said at the time, had no say in the "day to day" running of Bain. But does that really help Romney? Isn't that one of the things that disgusts people about corporate America - that required regulatory filings are just a sham, that no one's accountable, even though they say they are, and that this all seems perfectly normal to the mainstream corporate-owned media?
Are the American people really supposed to believe that that the guy who embraces this sort of corporate gamesmanship, obfuscation, and skullduggery is the solution to the problems in the economy? Finally, what's Romney going to do now that he's being forced to distance himself from the very experience he's touting as his main qualification for the White House?
I'm thinking he's got nothing. Which means we'll be hearing more lies about "socialism" and "apologizing for America" and attacks on the president's patriotism, interspersed with whining about how mean Obama is and demands for apologies that won't happen, all of which only serve to make Mittens look like a weak, ineffectual chump (see "Kerry, John: 2004 campaign").
Meanwhile, "where are the tax returns?" will become the Democratic version of "where's the birth certificate?"
It's going to be a long campaign. For Romney.


Fran said...

Dusty, in a weird way, it seems to me that Mitt's bigger problem is one of (non)personality. Paul Constant of Seattle's "The Stranger" wrote an op-ed piece about how nobody -- but NOBODY -- likes Romney. The American public will vote wholeheartedly for a scoundrel if he's likeable, obviously. But it's hard to vote for someone who is Mr. Roboto. People will vote not so much for Romney as against Obama.

Anyway, here's the link to Paul's piece, if you're at all interested (and if I'm allowed to post links; otherwise you can just look it up if you want).

JD Rhoades said...

Fran, the wingnuts aren't even bothering to pretend anymore. They're saying straight out that they don't like Romney, but they loathe Obama, and they're predicting that independents and moderates will hate him as much as they do. Let's just say I have my doubts. "At least he's not THAT guy" couldn't put John Kerry in the White House, and I don't think it'll work for Mittens. Right now, the election is still under a lot of people's radar, but I'm predicting a major nosedive after the debates.

Peter Eng said...

The thing that worries me about "running this nation like a business" is that any sensible CEO would be selling off the money-losing parts of a company. So what would Mitt do - sell Texas and Louisiana to China?

J. E. Medrick said...

Peter, Texas, at least, is making money. They have a high job-creation rate. And if Obama doesn't win, the TV ads here start with, "The first thing Romney would do, is sign the Alaskan pipeline into existence." So ching-ching for Texas. More likely he would sell off the northern states that are slogging half-heartedly through this economic pitfall. I'm in Ohio and it's pretty bad. Funny, it would be convenient that those same states are arguably more "blue" and "gay" as well. That's like double bonus time for Mittens (the best nickname ever, by the way.)