Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mitt Romney: A Man Entirely Comfortable With Deception

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum - be it ardent Obama supporter or member of the "anyone but Obama" crowd - one thing has to be abundantly clear by now. Whether it's his record at Bain Capital, his secretive off-shore bank accounts, his refusal to release his tax returns, or even his discomfort with hiring undocumented domestic staff - not because it's illegal, but because someone might find out - Mitt Romney is a man entirely comfortable with deception.

Romney's shameless flip-flops on everything from abortion to the individual mandate surprises no one, least of all his supporters. But the Bain mess that erupted over the weekend is something else entirely. Behind all the technical talk of SEC filings and "retroactive" resignation,  lies the uncomfortable, profound and unshakeable truth that Romney knowingly and purposely built some of his enormous wealth by stripping thousands of Americans of their livelihoods by either shipping those jobs off to Mexico and China like so much scrap metal or by forcing their companies into bankruptcy with debt often leveraged with taxpayer funds.

It's something not lost on the Obama campaign. Releasing an ad some equate with Lyndon Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" spot against Barry Goldwater, on Friday they drove the knife in.

Against a backdrop of Romney singing "America The Beautiful", the ad features the ex-governor's record of shipping jobs overseas and his tax-haven accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

The ad sent the Romney campaign scrambling. Unable to refute the accuracy of the ad, Romney instead resorted to boilerplate hyperbole, demanding an apology from the Obama campaign for creating an "insult to America."

"Is this the level the Obama campaign is willing to stoop to?"complained the normally reclusive Romney on CNN. "Is this up to the standards expected of the President of the United States?"

The Obama campaign issued no apology, instead twisting the knife even deeper with a follow up ad openly mocking Romney as a thin-skinned attack dog, "He sure asks for a lot of apologies," the tag line reads, "When he's not busy launching attacks."

Romney may be a man entirely comfortable with deception, but what he is not comfortable with is being called out on any of it. Because what's emerged over the last week is a Romney he'd rather the public not see at all - a privileged, spoiled man-child, someone guided by no moral compass whatsoever, entirely at sea, unable to defend himself against the indefensible.

"It's called politics," wrote one of my Republican relatives, a reluctant Romney supporter by way of the Anyone but Obama club. "Obama isn't free from his faults either."

Actually,  I think you can call it any number of things - lying, greed, entitlement, hypocrisy and fraud to name a just few. And sure, Obama has his flaws....... but I'm reasonably certain hiding cash in off-shore tax havens and personally profiting off the misery of his fellow Americans aren't among them.

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