Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shell Game

In Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency, his money isn’t the only thing he’s stashing in the Cayman Islands.  Looks like he’s stashing the recent past there too.

Rosie Gray in BuzzFeed flagged an announcement about an upcoming seminar scheduled for November 2nd and 3rd on Grand Cayman.  It’s the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, and the opening night keynote speaker will be none other than Republican National Convention no-show, former President and persona non grata on the Romney campaign train, George W. Bush.

Yes, this is awkward, isn’t it?  No, I am not making this up.

4 days before the election, original Decider will join fellow investors learning about the tax avoidance benefits of stashing millions in Cayman financial houses.  His address to the assembled job creators will most likely not mention Governor Romney’s empathy for the working man or Mitt’s new-found love for the lower 47%.  The search for WMDs will probably not make the final edit of the speech either.  George will probably avoid talking about the Presidential election completely.  But the visuals from the event could be a devastating final nail in the 2012 campaign.

Romney released his 2011 returns and the record shows he has cash on the island.  The cash is there not for the beaches, but to stay one step ahead of the IRS.  Now Bush will be there to stay one step ahead of the public's memory of his disastrous 8 years while they head to the polls.

“Institutional investors, private investors, asset allocators, fund managers, service providers, academics and regulators will benefit from this discussion on the future of the industry," reads the FAQ section of the event website.  Public school teachers and first responders will be underrepresented at the summit devoted to learning the features and benefits of tax avoidance and off-shoring.  Just as Mitt will begin to make his closing argument about his persona as a Man of the People, #43 will be undercutting that message and adding a dose of reminder about the failed leadership that brought the nation to this point in the first place. 

Romney may not have instructed Bush to leave the country during the final push towards Election Day, lest he accidentally be seen in public or quoted in the media, but I am sure he was glad to hear Bush would be gone.  Bush may have decided to leave town on his own as a gift to the nominee.  Methinks Romney was assuming Bush would hole up in South Africa or New Zealand.  But no.  Of all the gin joints in all the world, however, the guy had to pick Grand Cayman??? 
The genius of George Bush lives on.  If politics is perception, then having George W. Bush drop in to visit Romney’s tax sheltered millions right before the polls open is a perception that is politically inconvenient at best, politically fatal at worst.  

With friends like that…

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