Let’s review. There were several major campaign themes the Romney campaign was relying on using as a resume to put in front of the American people in his bid to become President of the United States. The first was his business experience. Romney was supposed to understand the economy and how to get out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The second was his experience as Governor of Massachusetts. Another seemingly well-timed resume item given the London Olympics was his stint as President & CEO of the Organizing Committee for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
These arguments for a Romney Presidency are either in shambles, largely neutralized by the Obama Presidency, or negated by Romney’s recent gaffes. A candidate is supposed to build up resume points as the campaign progresses. Romney seems to be experiencing a case of the shrinking curriculum vitae.
Romney’s Bain Capital business experience has been effectively neutralized and turned from a resume bullet point into a campaign liability. I doubt anyone on Team Romney wants to talk Bain at this point. A Romney surrogate even went so far as to declare Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital off limits in the campaign. Of course, the Romney campaign and McDonnell later clarified his remarks to mean “anything after 1999” was off-limits. That happens to be the period featured in commercials by the Obama campaign slamming Bain and Romney for outsourcing American jobs overseas.
The Obama campaign has Romney on the defensive, which is not the best place to be less than 100 days out from an election. They played into Obama’s hand by trying to claim Romney “left” Bain to run the Olympics in 1999. If you are making a case that you have an alibi, you are effectively admitting the crime. Problem is the alibi didn’t work out so well. Then came the ludicrous claim by a surrogate that Romney “retroactively retired”, which touched off a furious Twitter reaction and hashtag that is still going strong.
Bain is clearly now the bane of Team Romney. Not many people are going to buy the argument that the way to get out of the economic struggles we are in is to outsource even more American jobs, especially as an Obama first term appears to be moving us in the right direction – albeit slower than desired due mostly to an immense amount of Republican obstructionism.
Including Romney’s experience as Governor of Massachusetts on the campaign resume was nullified almost immediately. Most informed observers see clearly that Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare” to conservatives) was modeled after the Massachusetts law passed in 2006 and the mandate provision is something Republicans used to advocate before the Tea Party got their nuts in a vice grip. The late Ted Kennedy was asked by then Governor Mitt Romney to help him get a healthcare overhaul passed that included the mandate provision. Ted did so and it’s no small part of his legacy that not only was it signed into law but so was AFA. AFA, as we all know, was also upheld as Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The mandate idea itself can be traced to the 1980s when conservative think-tanks proposed it as part of a more market oriented alternative to universal healthcare coverage.
Team Romney probably wants to limit mention of his years as Governor of Massachusetts as well.
So it’s no wonder that a recent ad by Romney doesn’t mention Bain by name when touting his business experience. Nor does it mention anything about healthcare in Massachusetts. The only mention of success in the state is balancing the budget, which fails to point out (much like our own Governor Kasich) that state law requires it and also doesn’t detail how it was done (increased “fees”).
Bain er, um business experience
[X] Governor of Massachusetts
Two down. One to go.
What do we make of Mitt’s successful turnaround of the 2002 Olympics?
Well, first of all it’s nice – and for the most part Romney deserves credit here – but is it enough on its own to justify being President? I would argue no, but reasonable people can disagree.
What has damaged this resume line item is Mitt’s performance in the current Olympics in London.
Mitt effectively damaged the only resume item not completely tarnished. The majority of America are paying attention to this Olympic games and the news coverage around it and Mitt just made himself not only look like a complete amateur, but probably hurt his foreign policy credentials as well.
Speaking of foreign policy credentials. Well. There aren’t any. Given Romney’s lack of any foreign policy experience besides insulting one of our biggest global allies on the eve of what is surely a proud moment for all of the UK and the presumptive final 3 VP choices, this could be the first GOP ticket in 50 years without a shred of foreign policy experience. Sure, it’s going to primarily be a domestic issue election with the economy playing center stage, but this is a vulnerability you would think the campaign would like to bolster before going into the final days of the election – and they still may do just that.
It’s almost unprecedented the level to which this candidate for United States President’s qualifications for the job have been nullified. Despite the money. Despite the ads. This would be Emperor has no clothes.