CHECKING THE KERNING
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.