Friday, January 13, 2012


I see that "King of Bain," the anti-Romney attack film, got "Four Pinocchios" from fact checker Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post. Am I wrong to fear that this film is going to be to Romney what the Texas Air National Guard documents were to George W. Bush -- something sufficiently discredited that it has the perverse effect of immunizing the candidate against any further questions on its subject?

I should point out now that I disagree with most lefties about those TANG documents -- I think the documents really were fabrications, for reasons I explained when they were in the news. The short version is that I worked with high-end typewriters a decade after these documents were said to have been produced, and even then the machines I worked with simply weren't capable of the typographic subtleties seen in the documents, subtleties that no longer seem subtle because they've been available to everyone with a computer for many years now. Yeah, some people in 2004 found ads for super-high-end typewriters that existed at the time the documents were said to have been produced -- but what was the likelihood that a lowly National Guard outpost in Texas would have had such machines?

I really don't want to reargue this, because it doesn't matter what we think -- what matters is that the public decided that the documents were dubious, and thus it became impossible to ask what were still legitimate questions about Bush's National Guard service. "King of Bain" really might do the same thing with regard to Mitt Romney's business career -- which would be very unfortunate.

Back in '04, I speculated that Karl Rove might have been responsible for the creation and dissemination of the discredited TANG documents. I don't know if that makes any sense -- and I don't know if "King of Bain" could have been deliberately made with distortions in order to cut off its line of attack. I strongly doubt it, though. The film seems much more like the kind of anti-liberal hatchet job generated by the right-wing media, except it happens to tap into pro-worker sentiment and it's aimed at a fellow Republican. But the effect may be the same -- Romney may be as much a beneficiary of backlash as W.


Danp said...

The biggest effect could be that people don't watch King of Bain. While it is clearly propaganda, I don't think Kessler challenges many important details. For example, Bain sold 86% of their stock in DDi instead of all of it. Lehman Bros paid $80 million for tainted stock representations including DDi. But they didn't blame Bain? So? Did Bain not have an obligation to correct them? A person featured didn't know how their interview was going to be used. So what? Some were paid to participate? So? Did they lie? This is the kind of "fact checking" I expect from Big Pharma on Michael Moore's "Sicko". It's not good journalism.

ploeg said...

The main thing about the TANG documents was that they came out in 2004, long after everybody made up their mind about what they thought about GWB. People did change their minds about GWB, but it had more to do with Social Security, Katrina, continued violence in Iraq, etc. than with any 30-year-old documents. The TANG was part of GWB's resume, and you don't care about resumes after you hire the guy. (I don't have a high opinion of Boy Wonder as a political strategist, but it would be one of the few things that would drive my estimation of Rove even further south if he turned out to have anything to do with the TANG documents. Stupid, stupid, stupid. That horse was dead long ago.)

By contrast, the swing vote in the general election isn't even remotely paying attention now (except insofar as they are having ads crammed down their collective throats because they live in or near a battlefield state). Those people aren't going to start paying attention until September, and for most of those people, this is going to be fresh, new stuff.

c u n d gulag said...

Even if this stuff is true, which is what I believe, it won't hurt Romney much, like the TANG documents didn't hurt Little Boots. Eventually, if Mitt's going to be ok with them, he'll be ok with them.

It's the right who screams about things like this when Democrats do it. And while it is kind of refreshing to see them turn on one of their own, I don't think it will matter much.
They screamed about Clinton's affair, and pounced on Edwards and NY's Gov. Spitzer. Yet they reelect their own transgressors, like Diaper Dave.
It's we on the left who have higher standards, so Edwards and Spitzer were "goned" by us.

And yeah, it would have been nicer if this had come out in September or Octobers, when the idiot Rumplestiltskin portion of our voters finally awaken, and wonder what all of the political hub-hub's about, and get ready to vote using a tarot deck, Magic 8-ball, and what their equally stupid and ignorant friends, family, and coworkers tell them.

Hurling Dervish said...

Rick Perry and other Repubs are almost saying the same thing. They're saying these things need to come out now, or they're going to come out in the general election.

I think Palin was trying to say to Hannity the other day that, if these things come out now, the American public will be weary of them by the time the general election hit

Ten Bears said...

All he had to do was release the DD214 form.

As it stands, with his refusal to release the
DD214, he was AWOL while I and my compatriots were in-country. No number of essays on kerning or proclamations of technical expertise will change that.

All he had to do was release the DD214 form.