WAS "KING OF BAIN" THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO MITT ROMNEY?
I'm wrong about a lot of things, but it's starting to look as if I've been right to predict that attacks on Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital were going to inspire GOP voters to rally around him: the new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Romney with a 21-point lead in South Carolina over Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, with his principal Bain attacker, Newt Gingrich, in fourth place, and with poll respondents saying things like this:
"I think those attacks are misguided. The process of any economy has long been one of creative destruction. Some things grow and some things disappear," said Steve Matthews, a lawyer from Columbia, South Carolina, who plans to vote for Romney.
Elsewhere, there are these quotes in a New York Times article by Jeff Zeleny titled "For Romney, Attacks on Bain Career Have Upside":
When Donald Hare, 69, a retiree on Hilton Head, was asked if he was a supporter of Mr. Romney, he declared, "I am now." He added: "What Newt did convinced me. He got into the gutter on Governor Romney."
...Without being prompted, [Jack] Schaaf volunteered the fact that he strongly sided with Mr. Romney regarding Bain Capital. He offered an explanation that echoed the campaign’s defense.
"He was running an investment company that put money into distressed corporations and turned them around, reduced expenses or liquidated them. That’s the business," Mr. Schaaf said. "To be criticized for that is kind of a dirty dig."
Zeleny thinks the Bain attacks are helping Romney because they're diverting the attention of South Carolina voters, which means that Romney isn't being asked about his Mormonism or his former moderation on social issues. I don't think it's just that. Look, this is America. A rule of thumb: Americans have no class consciousness, and right-wing Americans have negative class consciousness. Accusations of capitalist rapaciousness give wingers a reason to rally around Mitt -- wingers don't think there's any such thing as capitalist rapaciousness, as I keep telling you. If Gingrich had started this before Iowa, Romney could have won Iowa decisively.
The ducks are lining up extraordinarily well for Romney -- he's becoming a person the base wants to defend at just about the right time; the inaccuracies in "King of Bain" and the early rollout of the Bain material mean it will be deemed an old issue by the time it's of use to the Obama campaign ...
... And then we see the "liberal media," in the form of The New York Times, trying to do a nuanced portrait of 1-percenters today. Go here to read that. It's all about how some 1-percenters have inherited wealth while others are hardworking oncologists who are still paying students loans, and on and on in that vein. Because the Occupy movement never built on its initial 1%/99% meme in any effective way, the response to that initial message is now in the hands of the right-wing press and the mainstream press, which are concluding that Occupy was either all wrong or partially wrong, respectively. Unless Occupy or some other part of the left reemerges with a compelling set of mesaages or actions, we will not have an election in 2012 that focuses on questions of wealth versus lack of wealth -- unless we have one in which we decide consciously to vote against our own self-interest and in favor of the interests of the wealthy. Occupy didn't do enough. It isn't doing enough. The 1% are pushing back, and they're winning.