Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Republican Party’s Problem Child: We Need to Talk about Mitt

Republican MItt Romney by Nomad

I f you have been following the latest campaign news, you have undoubtedly heard that the presumptive nominee has finally got himself in what I call, the classic liar’s bind

That is, he has told so many different lies to so many people (and under oath as well) that there is now no possible way that any of them can be plausibly fit together into a “workable” truth. In short, the man the Republicans are counting on to put them back into power is an unmitigated mess. 

His timeline about when he left Bain Capital has recently been cast in significant doubt. Again. 

From the latest news, it seems as though he has lied under oath to either the SEC or the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission. And if those reports are true that he was still involved in the decision making at Bain Capital, it opens a whole Pandora’s Box of problems. Bain’s corporate behavior after 1999 regarding closing of American companies, firing of American workers and outsourcing to China and Mexico will all undermine his claims of being a job creator. (For a examination of that issue click here and here.. and here.)

Romney’s story has changed over time, depending on what was necessary or expedient at that moment. One source gives us the latest official version:
..In the Aug. 12, 2011, federal disclosure form filed as part of his presidential bid, he said, "Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way. [emphasis mine]
Any role” and “in any Bain Capital entity in any way.” are certainly definitive statements so one would think there wouldn’t be any grey area. However, lies can be just as boldly declared as the truth. 
Here’s what the original Boston Globe article stated:
Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.
Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
And in public statements, Romney had in fact said that he had worked at Bain for 25 years which would be three years short of the newest timeline. That would have put him in Bain as late as 2002.
Most incriminating are the SEC documents, prepared on May 2, 2000, which state:
Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital. The executive officers of Bain Capital are set forth on Schedule B hereto.
UPDATE: Huffington Post has found yet another document that supports the contention that Romney has lied about his timeline. This annual report from Bain Capital Investors LLC- is dated December 9 2002.  
* * * *
So far, the best that Romney has been able to muster is pretend outrage and a “How DARE he!” and because the news networks are what they are, they are quite willing to let that pass as an excuse. 
"There's nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course," he told CNN. "But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999."
If you are a middle-class blue-collar worker- who normally votes Republican (and not a Wall Street high flyer or corporate CEO) there might be a lot wrong with a candidate with career of pulling the plug on American companies. Yes, Mitt Romney’s official career at Bain Capital might have plenty of dark shadows but after 1999, things at Bain got a whole lot worse there. Hence, Romney's attempts at distancing himself.
Mitt’s flustered reaction sounds a little hollow since both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich brought up this same issues long before Obama did. Paul’s accusations go much further. He has accused Romney not only of still being involved with companies directly related to Bain Capital but profiting from federal fraud.
The case involved "The Learning Company” MNAT law firm, eToys and Kay-Bee Toys. Paul also claims that none of these alleged crimes were ever punished because of a serious conflict of interest in the Department of Justice.

With regards to Romney’s demand for an apology from Obama’s statement Romney had lied, the information came from a Boston newspaper and not the White House. if the original remarks had originated from the Obama re-election headquarters, well maybe, just maybe, Mitt might have a leg to stand on. 

As a defense, Romney has played games with the wording of his earlier statements. This is predictable. This is what liars do and Romney has a lot of experience at twisting things. Still, it will not wash. “Not involved In any way” means just that. It doesn’t mean part-time. It doesn’t mean a leave of absence.

As much as he might try to twist the facts, his statements about not being “in any way” involved in Bain Capital are pretty shaky. First of all, we know he was directly involved in the infamous Stericycle deal which was completed in August 1999. According to SEC filings, two Bain-entities, Brookside and Sankaty were parties in the investment and Romney is "sole shareholder, 
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of” both companies. His signature is on the paperwork. He has denied active involvement saying he was only there in a signatory capacity or some such nonsense. 

On top of the Bain Capital timeline there’s the problem of his unwillingness to release his tax returns for the past few years. Suspicions are growing that Romney may be hiding something. Namely his offshore accounts in the Cayman islands or in Swiss bank account. 

Presumably, his tax returns would go a long way in proving whether Romney was or was not an active member of Bain. Romney’s refusal to release the documents that would (probably) put an end to this allegation is reminiscent of Palin’s inexplicable refusal to provide Trig’s birth certificate when many people were claiming that he was not her son by birth. Since the whole matter could be easily cleared up, it leaves people with the impression that whatever is hidden in the official documents must be a whole lot worse than the original allegation.

Speaking of Palin, a (probably apocryphal) story has it that John McCain back in 2008 had once considered Romney as his running-mate but, after a look at those tax returns, decided on Palin instead. Palin? The information has to be pretty bad to choose Palin. Of course, McCain had no conception how bad bad could be until around August of 2008.

As far as Romney and the hidden information, what- if anything -will come out before the nomination in Tampa we can only speculate. And given Romney’s
weakened status in the polls, Obama and his campaign may NOT be the only suspects behind any future leaks. (Think Newt, Ron or Rick.. or Rick. Even Palin or Rove. If you don’t think that plausible, then you really don’t know how politics works.)

No Apologies
In fact, if anybody should be demanding apologies, it is the president of he United States.
Romney has made a long list of inflammatory and false statements about the president’s policies. When those were successfully proved incorrect, he would continue repeating them.

Eugene Robinson, writing for the Washington Post,, gives two examples of the lies Romney should consider apologizing to the president for:
“Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history,” Romney claims on his campaign Web site. This is utterly false. The truth is that spending has slowed markedly under Obama.
Romney also made other specious claims:
Obama “went around the Middle East and apologized for America,” Romney said in March. “You know, instead of apologizing for America he should have stood up and said that as the president of the United States we all take credit for the greatness of this country.” That’s two lies for the price of one. Obama did not, in fact, go around the Middle East, or anywhere else, apologizing for America. And he did, on many occasions, trumpet American greatness and exceptionalism.
One blogger has taken up the task of cataloging all of the Romney lies. Here’s what Romney said about the national debt:
Romney the Liar has claimed, repeatedly, that President Obama has increased the national debt "more than all other president combined". (!) This insulting lie is also easy to shoot down. The evidence presented here is conclusive: the huge burden of debt we are laboring under is the DIRECT result of excessive tax cuts for Mittens and his cronies and the fall of revenues brought about by the Great Recession, a recession that is DIRECTLY the fault of predators and thieves like Mitt Romney. Oh, and the president who DID rack up almost as much debt as all other presidents combined? It was George W. Bush.
On many occasions, Romney has lied about the president’s record on jobs as well. On his campaign tour he has repeatedly told audiences:
"25 million people are out of work because of Barack Obama. And so I'll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs."
As the blogger points out, quite the opposite is true:
[From December 2011]: With one month remaining this year, the U.S. private sector has now added 1.67 million jobs in 2011, well ahead of last year’s private-sector total of 1.2 million, and the best year for businesses since 2006. Since March 2010, American businesses have created 2.9 million jobs.
Of course, when Romney lies, Americans can count on the mainstream media merely to blink passively and accept whatever nonsense he tells them. As far as demanding an apology, Romney and his campaign staffers might want to think twice. The list of apologies that Obama can demand of Romney is growing every time Mitt opens his mouth.
In short, Mitt is a mess.

Best of the Worst is Still Pretty Lousy
Whether they admit it or not, for the Republican party, Candidate Mitt Romney has become a disaster. Something has gone wrong with the process and Mitt Romney is the result. 

Some conservative point the finger at the Tea Party. Their intolerance toward any candidate that didn’t tow their line has made created a no-win situation for the party. The Christian Coalition supported Romney after great deliberation and only after he bent over backwards for them on issues like abortion and gay marriage. He was forced to take positions that as governor he rallied against. The third cause of this train wreck was the fact that Citizens United essentially allowed corporation to fling mountains of money 
into the campaign whether the candidate represented any constituency or not.
From the very beginning there seemed be something wrong. The entire process of choosing a nominee for the party- which sometimes seems to have 

taken decades- firstly managed to collect an appallingly awful lot.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, had his shining moment during the debates when he literally forgot what he was talking about. He also threatened the rest of the country which not-so-scary possibility of Texas going it alone.
Perry told reporters following his speech that Texans might get so frustrated with the government they would want to secede from the union.

“There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
Finally came the ill-advised advertisement (remember that Brokeback Mountain coat?) which turned out to be the nail in his coffin.
There was religious zealot Santorum who used his campaign to insult as many voting blocs as possible. He quickly became an anti-politician. Here's an example of what people came to expect from Santorum.
“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s OK; contraception is OK. It’s not OK. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
There was a reason why no other erm.. presidents talked about it. Few presidents were prepared to tell Americans "how things were supposed to be" when it came to sex and how they managed birth control. The crossover from anti-abortion to anti-contraceptive came as a shock even to most pro-life supporters. (It surely pleased the Vatican city.) 
In fact, it was his strange obsession at other people sex lives that contributed to his exit.
Michele Bachmann, who desperately attempted to shake her image of raving lunatic, must have taken one look at the competition and decided the best policy was to keep her mouth closed. Still, her inability to hire decent management led to an embarrassing mutiny of The entire paid New Hampshire campaign staff
USA Today reported the disaster this way:
The ex-New Hampshire staffers say unequivocally that they resigned en masse after "much soul-searching" because they no longer had faith in the Minnesota congresswoman's national team, according to Minnesota Public Radio. National Journal has the entire statement.
Among the gripes of the New Hampshire aides: National staffers were "rude, unprofessional, dishonest and at times cruel" to them. They were also "abrasive, discourteous and dismissive" to New Hampshire residents, who were treated as a "nuisance."
Then there was Herman Cain whose campaign dissolved under sordid revelations of sex harassment. He allegedly offered to help a woman find a job in exchange for sexual "favors." But it was not the only or main problem. Quoting the Pokemon movie probably stands out as a moment of high comedy in an otherwise tiresome and nasty campaign. 
As Rachel Maddow noted, Cain crossed the line from true political candidate into alternate world of clever political parody. (To this day, many are convinced that Cain was an elaborate but amusing joke.)
We had white-mopped Newt Gingrich, a political hack pretending to be a well-seasoned statesman. Newt, with all the encouragement of Fox News, was constantly undermining that image by making ridiculous and explosive remarks. All of which Hannity listened to without hardly a visible smirk or titter or guffaw.

For example, at a speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he declared child labor laws were "stupid." Or when he called Supreme Court Judge nominee Sonya Sotomayor a “reverse racist.” Or when he claimed in the National Review that Obama had an “African socialist” agenda that he adopted from his Kenyan father. (a man Obama met once in his life for a few hours.)

Gringrich seemed to need public attention more than voter support. 
On the stage was the elderly Ron Paul who could never shake his image as a neighborhood grouch, the guy who makes comment from the other end of the bar, the angry letter writer with the wing nut ideas.

The only serious candidate, Huntsman was probably the only person who ever had a decent chance of capturing the independent vote. For that very reason, he was shunned as not being conservative (insane) enough. 

Finally, the last survivor emerged for that dust cloud and it was Romney, proving that, for the Republican party, the ideal nominee in 2012 was any person who could convincingly and without undue preparation, misrepresent the truth about any subject. 
What they found in Romney perhaps exceeded Republican expectation. Whereas he was only supposed to lie to the public, it now seems as though Mitt simply cannot tell the truth to anybody

As the Republican party approaches the edge of this canyon, with the possibility of nominating a man nobody seems to like to trust, it seems there’s little chance they can win with Romney in November. And the more money thrown at their candidate, the more the public has a reason to distrust him. The Republican party- unless they call for Romney to step down- will be faced with an acrimonious brokered convention. 

The GOP have only themselves to blame for not offering any serious alternative to the Obama administration’s vision for America. The candidates went from silly to certifiable to downright scary. The debates (whoever thought that having so many debates was a good idea?) exposed all of the weaknesses of the individuals and highlighted none of the strengths. 
In the end all of the completely insane candidates, the sane but unloved, and the political comedians were escorted off the stage. Unfortunately, the one that remained was Mitt Romney. A man who never saw a truth he couldn't distort or a fact he couldn't twist.The Republicans cannot blame anybody else for failing to providing new direction for America or a better alternative to Barack Obama.

But then, maybe they never really had one to offer.


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