When former congressman Anthony Weiner was outed for sending salacious pictures of himself to a woman over Twitter last year, he reacted, at first, with bursts of furious denial. He said it was work of a “political hacker” who had retrieved the photos via illegal means and had done so to ruin his good name. While offering this possible explanation, he said, to the embarrassment of nearly everyone, that he could not “with certitude” deny the pictures were of him.
Now, the American people are not fools. Yes, they are often times apathetic. Yes, more often than not they will vote against their own interests. And yes, they are capable of being fooled for a very long time by capable politicians. But, when presented with an out and out fraud, a rotten fish wrapped in newspaper, they will, nine times out of ten, smell The Great Lie.
The resolution of Weiner’s scandal was never in doubt. He had, after all, been guilty of imprudence and was caught, for lack of a better term, with his dick hanging in the wind. What mattered was that he was guilty and that it didn’t take much to prove that guilt.
Enter Willard Mitt Romney and his disputed tenure at Bain Capital.
In the past week the Boston Globe released a scathing report that Romney had been lying about when he resigned as principal shareholder and chief-executive of Bain, an investment company that, after 1999 – the year Romney claimed to resign – engaged in wholesale efforts to outsource American jobs to countries around the world. This lie, designed during the GOP primary process to flank his rivals’ claims he was a ruthless businessman, unraveled in near record time due to (surprise, surprise) a little bit of investigative journalism.
The fact that Romney was personally responsible for the outsourcing is bad enough, but the inept reaction by the campaign to respond to the report in a reasonable, and professional, manner is most troubling. For days the campaign stayed silent before their talking point was revealed this Sunday morning: Romney did appear on tax documents as chief-executive until 2002, but his retirement had been “retroactive,” so those three years didn’t actually count toward his tenure.
This type of corporate mumbo-jumbo is a little odd to normal, hardworking Americans. But already polls are showing a change in momentum in the presidential race and Democrats, the soft-jawed cowards of politics, have gone on the offensive.
“Why is Mitt Romney running away…from Bain Capital like a scalded cat?” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked this morning on NBC’s Meet The Press.
Why indeed? If Mitt Romney, ahem, Multimillionaire Willard Mitt Romney is going to run on the “Why Is Being Super-Rich During a Major Recession A Bad Thing?” platform, why isn’t he going to push the idea that outsourcing is a necessary evil in the era of Super-Capitalists? Would normal, hardworking Americans not be so keen on such a message?
The smart money’s on no. Even the most adept politicians can only overcome a certain amount of strikes against them, and let’s consider those Willard has to face:
– Mitt Romney is worth hundreds of million of dollars
– Mitt Romney has been rich for the entirety of his life
– Mitt Romney headed a vulturistic investment company that bought and sold and dismantled American companies like baseball cards
– Mitt Romney originated the idea of a government healthcare system
– Mitt Romney, in the Internet Era, has been caught on film pandering and contradicting nearly all of his positions
For a presidential contest it’s an absolute mudslide of problems for Willard and his campaign to deal with, but The Globe’s revelations are positively damning. Now Romney is not only a rich, out-of-touch supercapitalist, but a lying, rich, out-of-touch supercapitalist. That, my friends, is what we call an “unfavorable” position.
What we’re looking at here is the possibility of this entire race getting out of hand. Modern contests, after all, are traditionally close affairs because the numbers for The Left and The Right are nearly identical. This usually holds true except for in a few occasions. Those are when A. a candidate is obviously overmatched (Obama/McCain, Bush/Dukakis) or B. a scandal, or incident affects national opinion so greatly it results in a landslide (Nixon/McGovern, where it was discovered that McGovern’s VP candidate, Tom Eagleton, had undergone extensive bouts of electroshock therapy). Already, Obama/Romney looks like it could suffer from both.
Romney’s treading a very thin line now, and will be forced to walk that tightrope for the next three and a half months. During a recession as long and grueling as this one, Americans start looking for men to serve as stand-ins and scapegoats. Multimillionaire Willard Mitt Romney, supercapitalist, outsourcing owner of multiple houses and multiple luxury automobiles, could fit into that role better than most. Before November rolls around we could be looking at effigies and men who bear a slight resemblance to Willard being tarred and feathered and carried out of town on a rail. The possibility is ever-present, and the only thing necessary to transform Mitt into American Goat No. 1 is for him to choose the wrong part of town to hang some brain.