Rather than release his tax records, directly address perceived inconsistencies, or come up with a more natural sounding response to the Obama re-election campaign’s relentless pursuit of all things related to Mitt Romney’s record at Bain, the Romney campaign is floating a different conversation changer.
It doesn’t matter that the former Secretary of State and veteran of the Bush administration has said – repeatedly – she has no interest in the job. (Exact words: “There is no way I would do this,” Rice said. “I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elected office.”) It doesn’t matter that insiders said Romney is not likely to make “daring” or female veep choices due to the GOP still suffering from Post-Traumatic Palin Stress Disorder. It doesn’t matter that Condi has never run for political office or that for all her strength, she comes with the baggage of “President George W. Bush,” a presidential administration only Dick Cheney could love (because he not-so-secretly ran it).
Even Bush doesn’t defend Bush anymore. Why would Rice reopen that old wound?
Besides, it would just be too easy for Barack Obama. It would be like Romney was a double agent for my old joke website “The Secret Council of American Negroes” – working as an inside man trying to throw 2012 to the Great Hope Monger. Rice is pro-choice AND an extremely controversial warmonger. It’s a great lose-lose where all Mittens would have managed is to enrage all sides.
What moderates or Liberals Romney could potentially impress with a Rice pick get turned off once they’re reminded of how she was resolutely for the heavily flawed, murderous, bloody boondoggle that was our invasion of Iraq. The conservatives he could feasibly build on would run away screaming upon closer inspection of Rice’s pro-immigration leanings and lack of dedication to conservative causes such as abortion.
This is an obviously bad play, which means it’s probably a trap, a distraction, because Romney wants you to “LOOK AT THIS BLACK WOMAN! PLEASE IGNORE ANY REPORTING ABOUT BAIN CAPITAL,” and not actually seriously consider a Romney/Rice ticket.
Did it work? Did he make you look?
I don’t blame Team Romney for throwing up a Condi-sized curve ball in hopes of seeing some eyes blink. The Obama campaign isn’t pulling any punches and refused to back down from a staffer who pretty much accused Mittens of committing a felony in “potentially” lying on paperwork to government regulatory agencies about his status with Bain.
In fact, the campaign doubled-down with a new anti-Romney, Bain-related ad featuring Romney’s mockable, warbled, off-key rendition of “American the Beautiful.”
Romney claims he left Bain to run the Olympics in 1999, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has him down as sole owner, president, and CEO of Bain through 2002. Team Romney then blundered their way through the Sunday talk shows by saying he was “retroactively retired” (How Orwellian!) from the position.
This could be a plausible answer if the Romney campaign had couched it in any kind of non-defensive, non-constant-explaining way.
I get it. Maybe Romney took a leave of absence to run the Olympics thinking he’d return to Bain, possibly take a salary cut. But then his priorities changed and he decided not to return at all, and the company made his official “retire date” retroactive to when he first took the leave of absence. Ideally when something like this happens with a company head, there is some group of folks in the interim running the company.
But the Romney campaign didn’t answer the question that way. They got all huffy and defensive and blustered through it like they always do, as if the question in itself is surprising or offensive in the middle of a political campaign. They screwed the message on something I could explain in one or two sentences.
It’s not unheard of. But the fact that the Romney camp is getting blindsided by things they should already know about, done research on, and prepared answers for is a little disturbing. Attacking Romney’s record at Bain is a strategy the Democrats have used since his failed run for the Senate against Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994. How is Obama going, “It worked for Ted” not even something these folks considered?
If you can’t mount a defense to the thing the Obama campaign said they were going to attack more than a year out ,how on earth are you going to run America?
This following excerpt is from Politico. In August. Of 2011:
The second aspect of the campaign to define Romney is his record as CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm that was responsible for both creating and eliminating jobs. Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession — a sort of political Gordon Gekko.
“He was very, very good at making a profit for himself and his partners, but not nearly as good [at] saving jobs for communities,” said David Axelrod, the president’s chief strategist. “His is very much the profile of what we’ve seen in the last decade on Wall Street. He was about making money. And that’s fine. But often times, he made it at the expense of jobs in communities.”
Things aren’t “surprises” when someone says they’re going to do it. That’s a threat. “Retroactively retired” and “CONDI RICE! MADE YOU LOOK” aren’t strategies. That’s a cry for help, a call for donors to put their Team Mittens money into voter suppression. It’s like they’re trying to throw a close race in a weak economy to the beatable opponent. As an Obama supporter, I appreciate whatever help the O-Man can get, but I – for the life of me – don’t understand why Mitt is helping.