A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: obama campaign


by evanmcmurry

Under the Jennifer Rubin formula, in which “[anything] x a Jennifer Rubin column = Mitt Romney,” the coming economic forecast x today’s Jennifer Rubin column = Mitt Romney. I let her ‘splain, since she’s so good at it:

The divergence between what the Obama campaign and the media (I repeat myself) are talking about (Bain, Bain and Bain) and the most important economic (and hence political) news of the year is breathtaking. To put it bluntly, we are looking at economic contraction. In lay’s terms that is a recession.

Speaking on behalf of the lays, thanks; we preesh the jarg.

For the left flogging the Bain story and the right bemoaning Mitt Romney’s response, stop. Just stop. You’re making fools of yourselves. If we are indeed heading for zero percent growth (and/or zero job gain-territory), there is no way that anything else matters. Obama can call Romney a criminal. The lefty bloggers can attack Congress (really, this is the formula for reelecting Obama?). But it will make no difference. None.

Good to know. Actually, the economy’s been in full slowdown mode for three months. It’s been rather covered in the media, however you define that word. People, even lays, know about it. And yet Obama’s approval ratings have remained where they are—not great, but not the poll numbers of a president who’s got 8.2% unemployment around his neck, either. Actually, not only do a sizable portion of voters still blame Bush for the Great Recession, but there’s a sliver of an indication that blame for the economy is shifting onto the GOP House, as their little debt ceiling escapade was also covered by the media, and the lays seemed to have noticed.

It’s likely that Obama will still suffer more than he has for the stagnant labor market. But as there’s no evidence that it’s happened yet, I don’t get how anybody’s making fools of themselves by acting as if it hasn’t happened. Rubin’s calling the media irresponsible because they won’t report a narrative that has no empirical basis.

Instead, Rubin’s real hand is accidentally tipped in the paragraph above. “There is no way that anything else matters. Obama can call Romney a criminal…But it will make no difference.” Sure, Obama can call Romney a criminal, or Romney can be a criminal, it doesn’t matter: if the economy sucks, Romney wins. This exact strategy—that Romney should do nothing but sit on his hands while he gets called a vulture and outsourcer and a fetus disposer and a liar, while he waits for the economy to tank—is why he really, really appears to be losing the election.

Earlier I asked if anybody saw an out for Romney from the Bain Capital trap the Obama campaign had set for him that didn’t involve closing his eyes and wishing for 10% unemployment. That’s almost literally what Jennifer Rubin is proposing he do. Can the Washington Post really not find a better conservative columnist?

Romney/Bain Trap, Part One Million: All Of Romney’s Moves Are Bad Ones

by evanmcmurry

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.

More On The Romney/Bain Trap

by evanmcmurry

Furthering my theory that the real Romney/Bain trap—whether it was the Obama campaign’s play along or just a lucky break—has less to do with jobs, outsourcing, etc., than Romeny’s inability to tell the truth over Basic Things He’s Done. Following yesterday’s #retroactive wonderfulness comes this:

The Times presents both sides of the argument. It notes that there is “no evidence” Romney exercised control over Bain in the disputed period, but it also points out that “his campaign has declined to say if he attended any meetings or had any other contact with Bain during the period.” (via Greg Sargeant)

Again, voters are still undecided about whether they buy Romney’s economic credentials as a qualification for president—he polls about even or slightly above Obama on who would better handle the economy, the only issue on which he has any sort of purchase—but they know they don’t trust the guy, which is why Romney’s favorability ratings aren’t even in danger of cresting 40%. Hearing things like “Romney profited from a business but wasn’t responsible for anything it did” and “Mitt Romney was listed as CEO but can’t remember if he attended any meetings” hits that distrust button, hard. “I don’t recall” only works if you’re already President or AG, not if you’re trying to convince people to put you in office.

Moreover, how does Romney respond to this? He’s already had his fingers crossed as tightly as possible without snapping them that the economy tanks. But this is one argument on which you can’t pivot onto jobs or deficits. It has nothing to do with Obama, the economy, or anything else: it solely concerns Mitt Romney and what he’s done and why he can’t even tell the truth about a meeting he attended.


by evanmcmurry

This is fun. All of it. Just let it scroll.