Friday, July 13, 2012

Where is Mitt's Long Form?

For almost 4 years, we have heard that President Obama’s failure to produce his long form birth certificate was evidence of a massive cover up, an indication that he had something to hide about his past.  Never mind that he had produced the state approved (perfectly legal) version of his birth certificate immediately after the issue was first raised in the Democratic primaries.  Never mind that a birth announcement appeared in a Hawaii newspaper announcing his birth at a hospital within the borders of the United States.  Never mind reality.  The story had legs and fit the meme that Obama was ‘different’ and that he was the Manchurian President, waiting for the moment when he could seize complete power, take all the guns, and fulfill his Robin Hood crusade of stealing from the rich to give to the lazy poor.

Now it is Mitt’s turn to be victimized by claims of a massive cover up, an indication that he has something to hide about his past.  There are several stories circulating that fit the meme that Romney is ‘different’ and that he is the Manchurian Candidate, waiting for the moment when he can seize complete power, give everyone guns, and fulfill his Montgomery Burns crusade of stealing from the poor to give to the lazy rich.  “Smithers, release the hounds.”

The Obama campaign is keeping poor Mitt on the defensive this month about his professional past, some of which have no real bearing on his qualifications to be President.  Politics is so unfair.

The latest story involves the question of when Romney actually stepped down from his leadership of Bain Capital operations.  It is being floated that Romney was still in charge when politically toxic decisions were made regarding the dissolution of companies that Bain was “helping”, at the same time he was listed in SEC filings as in charge.  At its core, it’s a non-story and the details will bore you; however, the Obama camp is using the story as an opportunity to demand that Bain release Board of Director meeting minutes to prove a negative – that Romney wasn’t involved between 1999 and 2002.

This is no more than a diversion that most people outside the political intelligentsia (an oxymoron?) care about.  It does have the benefit of continuing a focus on the mean business of vulture capitalism (Newt’s word, not mine and he’s a Romney surrogate).  It also is no doubt the hope of Team Obama that the Board meeting minutes become an issue all by itself.  I can’t imagine that selectively clipped quotes from the meeting minutes of a venture capital firm would be politically helpful to the Romney campaign.

The carefully interwoven stories being told about Romney all lead to two questions:  What is he hiding and why?

·         What’s in his tax returns that he is so afraid to release them to public scrutiny like every other Presidential candidate?

·         What other secret overseas accounts does Mitt Romney control, and why won’t he tell the American public about the other secret accounts that we know exist but can’t prove?

·         Why did Romney as Massachusetts governor order the unprecedented destruction of official computer records after leaving statehouse, and what was in those records?

·         Who are Mitt’s campaign finance bundlers and why won’t he disclose their names?  Is this the transparency he has in mind for Washington?

·         And finally the elephant in the room – what is the Mormon religion, why is it so secretive, and why won’t he talk about it?

Some of these are more important than others; some are downright irrelevant and hypocritical to ask.  But the caricature is being drawn with a SuperPAC pen, and quite effectively so far.  Obama and his campaign will glad tie these stories together for us.  “Do we know the ‘real’ Mitt Romney?”  It is a short walk to questioning whether or not Romney was actually born in Norway and was indoctrinated in an anti-colonial Norwegian capitalism philosophy.

I’d rather focus on the GOP candidate’s lack of policy specifics, like GOP pundit William Kristol did.  We could focus on his unwavering support for the Ryan Plan and its fuzzy assumptions.  We could talk about his sad history of changing positions on everything from social issues to climate change to health care to taxes.  We could spend some time on his lack of leadership on a variety of public issues, like immigration or the Paycheck Fairness Act or Afghanistan.  But that’s not what drives things anymore.  Substance is not a winning strategy.  The GOP has proven that.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Obama spend the last 4 years being defined as “not like us”.  Now Obama is returning the favor and painting Romney as someone “not like you”.

Paybacks are a bitch.

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