Monday, January 09, 2012


Josh Marshall posts the trailer from a new documentary attacking Mitt Romney; the rights to the film have been purchased by the pro-Gingrich super-PAC, Winning Our Future, which has just received a $5 million cash infusion from billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

I can't see how Gingrich and Adelson could have gotten what they paid for. Watch the trailer. No, let me say that again: Watch the trailer and imagine you're a Republican voter. Imagine you watch Fox News incessantly, and listen to Limbaugh and all the Limbaugh wannabes. Imagine you buy all those damn books the right-wing blowhards put out. How do you react to this?

I don't care how much "capitalism is great, but..." talk prefaces these attacks on Romney's record at Bain -- it's not going to impress Republicans. It's only going to infuriate them. I think this material is much more likely to rally GOP voters to Romney's side.

Thomas Frank has been plugging his new book Pity the Billionaires recently, and one of the points he's been making is that right-wingers think capitalism is perfect. They think it's part of nature -- in other words, they think it was created by God. They love capitalism. They think its punishments are God's punishments of the unworthy.

Maybe I could see this working in New Hampshire -- maybe. But, according to The New York Times, the documentary is going to be cut up into ads that are going to play in South Carolina, where the Republicans are really Republican.

I know that some winger politicians and consultants, like a lot of mainstream pundits, misread the tea party mindset and think the voter base hates evil fat-cat capitalists as much as they hate "big" government. Rick Perry has occasionally made arguments suggesting that he believes this. (And what do you know -- the Times says that Barry Bennett, a onetime consultant to a pro-Perry super PAC, was the guy who got this project rolling in the first place. Bennett has solid right-wing credentials -- former staffer to loony-right congresswoman Jean Schmidt, partner to Mary Cheney, proponent of union-busting SB5 in Ohio -- but he's completely out of tune with the GOP zeitgeist here.)

Now, the Bain stuff will hurt Mitt Romney in the general election -- if the Obama campaign deploys it correctly. I think there's a reasonably good chance it will be deployed correctly. But putting it out there now does Romney no harm -- and it's going to get Gingrich tarred as a RINO.

The only sense I see in this from a right-wing perspective, apart from the fact that it encourages Romney to hone his Bain talking points, is that it has the potential to make Bain seem like old news by the time of the general election. But it really won't be old news, because it'll be fresh for swing voters in the fall, if Team Obama addresses the issue the right way. So, for now, this is good news (or at least not bad news) for Romney.


c u n d gulag said...

The word "exploited" was used.

And there's nothing the Republican base like more than 'exploitation' - even if they're the ones being exploited.

This doesn't just break Reagan's 11th Commandment, it shatters it.

And the people using it will not be held in high regard by their fellow knuckle-dragging cave people.

But, like you said, if Obama and the Democrats can use this effectively, and paint Mitt, and his fellow Republicans running for office, as 'buy-slash-and-burn' corporatists, it might work well for them in the general election.

Danp said...

I think this could be an effective tactic (not for Gingrich himself, but against Romney even among Republicans). Wall Street and its allies used effective rhetoric to get Tea Partiers and low-info Republicans to blame AIG, Fannie/Freddie and "derivatives" for the meltdown in 2008, while excusing most bank leaders and politicians who fought against any corrections. What this documentary/ad does is put Romney on the wrong side of that odd divide. The whole Koch Bros/Dick Armey strategy relies on middle-class voices, which is why they disguised the TP movement as a grass roots event. Romney is at a huge disadvantage by being 1) rich 2) inconsistent 3) completely unencumbered by facts and 4) too comfortable with people calling him a liar. To quote a friend, he has the smile of a used car salesman.

Steve M. said...

Really, Danp? I don't remember the 'baggers ever blaming AIG or derivatives. As I recall, it was always Fannie and Freddie -- alpha and omega. Oh, and Barney Frank. No other culprit.

Dark Avenger said...

They'd vote for Simon Legree as long as he remembered to come out against gay marriage.

c u n d gulag said...

Dark Avenger,
Are you kidding?
They'd vote for Simon Legree sooner than they would any of today's candidates!
He had an impressive way of handling "those people."
Also - smart as a whip, that boy!

: smintheus :: said...

I disagree, this is not going to help Romney. Almost nobody is going to react positively to the picture presented here. Besides, there are several ways it appeals to the conservative mindset - from using older white characters, to referencing 'seed money from Latin America', to suggestions of dark conspiracies. This trailer isn't about capitalism, it's about capitalism 'in the wrong hands'...i.e. a pirate wrecking an honorable institution.

Danp said...

Steve, You must know different baggers than I do. Mine absorb stuff like this:

Steve M. said...

Interesting, though I'm not aware of anything like that from Fox or the big kahunas of talk radio. (Alex Jones, maybe? Does this tap into Paulism?)

A Conservative Teacher said...

Yeah, this will not go over well with Republicans. I know of few people who have a 100% record in investing, and even the best businessmen have some misses (Steve Jobs had his share of misfires), so trying to attack Romney like this is laughable.

Capitalism is creative destruction- the horse and buggy industry went under so that we could have automobiles just like the candle industry was pretty hurt by lightbulbs. For Newt to pretend that Romney is some sort of bad guy for investing in risky businesses and failing companies that then turned out to be risky or failed is just silly.

Newt, drop out man. You're making yourself look like an idiot when you run commercials like this and try to argue against capitalism and free markets.

Danp said...

It's absolutely Paulism. But then isn't the whole Tea Party movement just an attempt to modify Paulism into an oddly pro-Wall Street movement that Republicans can control? They tap into that Libertarian talk about the 14th Ammendment, zero regulations and conspiracy theories like birterism. They had an anti-Obamacare rally at the capital in 2009 on Guy Fawkes day. They do differ, however, in that they don't talk about the gold standard much or the oil wars.

Steve M. said...

I thought the point of the tea party was to lull the right-wing rubes into voting eagerly again for crony capitalism by persuading them that the goal was Paulism. Just my recollection, possibly faulty.