I love it when questions I ask are immediately answered. We’ve been chasing Mitt Romney down his Bain Capital rabbit hole, in which the profits he made as a CEO demonstrate a business acumen that qualifies him for president, while he was simultaneously not responsible for a single policy implemented the company of which was CEO that qualifies him to be president. A few hours ago, I asked what Romney does in response to the Bain Capital attacks, as this is one narrative he can’t pivot into jobs, and it doesn’t go away even if the economy remains subpar.
Jon Chait has the next act:
More openly embracing Paul Ryan (whose ideas have taken over the party’s policy apparatus) would help change the argument, at least momentarily. But of course if he did so, Romney would be running exactly to the place Obama was trying to chase him. I speculated this last month, and Greg Sargent did actual reporting to help confirm it: The main point of the attacks on Bain is to soften up Romney for the final argument about policy. The Ryan budget, with its tax cuts for the rich and massive cuts to the social safety net, is so far out of line with public opinion that many undecided voters have trouble believing that Romney would do such a thing. Defining his biography is a way to set up that argument.
Walker insists, “Always be aggressive, moving forward. You’re always better moving forward.” But probably not if you’re moving forward straight into the trap your opponent has set.
That’s probably why Romney is instead responding by returning to his go-to attack, which is to assail Obama as a “crony capitalist” for continuing longstanding policies of subsidizing green energy. (This is also how Romney replied to the last wave of attacks on his tenure at Bain.) It’s not the silver-bullet response anxious Republicans are demanding. That’s because the silver-bullet response does not really exist.
I’d add that the crony capitalist attack doesn’t sit too well with the “Obama = socialist” one. They’re not mutually exclusive—Obama’s grants/tax deductions to green companies could be seen as a sort of social engineering of the economy—but try explaining that in a 30 second ad.
Romney remains without an out here. Anybody who can think of one, that doesn’t involve Romney closing his eyes and wishing real hard for 10% unemployment, let me know.