Poor Mitt Romney. The wealthy vulture capitalist who, along with his Super PAC pals has raised and spent more money than any candidate in history, finds his campaign in shambles after a series of embarrassing missteps: The atrocious Republican convention, jumping the gun on statements about Libya, getting caught telling the awful truth to a luncheon for fatcat donors, etc. Romney and his campaign advisers have taken a beating at the hands of the public and their own supporters.
Consequently, Romney has turned to the GOP’s tactical playbook desperately looking for a way to dig himself out of the sinkhole that threatens to engulf him. And he thinks he’s found the answer in a chapter titled, “What Would John McCain Do?”
That’s right. When you’re in political trouble the best thing to do is always to emulate the tactics of the just prior candidate who lost miserably to an inexperienced African-American senator whose middle name is Hussein. And that’s precisely what Romney is doing.
In response to the devastating video (from way back in May) of Romney telling a roomful of wealthy donors that his job is not to worry about half the country who may be receiving some sort of federal assistance, Romney has begun hyping a fourteen year old clip (video below) of then-state senator Obama expressing his view that public institutions have room for improvement. He speculated about the need for “resuscitating the notion that government action can be effective.”
Obama: “I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”
That’s not a particularly controversial comment. He’s talking about the pooled resources of agencies that administer services like housing and schools, which he specifically used as examples. And, technically, all services provided by the government – schools, roads, libraries, public safety, military, etc. – are examples of redistribution of funds obtained from taxpayers to programs that benefit society at large.
However, the take that Romney has put on this has far more sinister implications of socialism and what Romney calls “a foreign concept.” The most obvious corollary would be the circus that surrounded the national joke known as Joe the Plumber. In that citizen encounter Obama uttered the phrase “spread the wealth around,” and created a tornado of right-wing outrage. Never mind that it wasn’t different in principle from Ronald Reagan saying that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It was an opportunity to miscast the President’s words and throw the mangled result back in his face. Which, by the way, Romney’s crew is also doing with nonsense like “you didn’t build that.”
In addition to this new focus on an old and abridged snippet of audio, Romney has also been recycling Sarah Palin’s classic “palling around with terrorists.” After the tragic and deadly clash in Libya, Romney stepped out in front of the news (and the facts) to accuse Obama of siding with terrorists by saying that he “sympathize[d] with those who waged the attacks.” That repugnant remark borders on charging the President with treason. So much for claims of running a civil campaign.
More than anything else, these recent moves by Romney are an admission that he has already lost the election. Resorting to this type of insane blathering demonstrates the depths of his desperation. He is now firmly committed to losing his race for the White House, while stirring up the mouth-foaming radicals of the Tea-publican Party so that they might prevent massive losses in the House and Senate as well. He’s aiming at pretty long odds with this approach. Ms. Palin and Mr. Plumber didn’t do much for McCain four years ago, and reaching back to salvage tactics that have been proven to fail is not likely to advance Romney’s campaign either.