Saturday, March 31, 2012

A desperate, pathetic Romney smears Obama for supposedly selling out America

In response to the Obama campaign's call for Romney to release his tax returns going back to the 1980s, the Romney campaign has made a counter-proposal of its own:

"The Obama campaign is playing politics, just as he's doing in his conduct of foreign policy," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul wrote. "Obama should release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he's not promising to sell out the country's interests after the election is over."

This is, of course, ridiculous. As Politico's Alexander Burns notes:

Releasing tax returns is a standard thing for a presidential candidate to have to do, which is not so much the case for releasing the transcripts of every conversation an incumbent president has had with a foreign leader. But of course the Romney campaign knows that, and the decision to answer with a non sequitur is a deliberate one. And the effectiveness of the tactic will hinge on voters are as prepared to believe that Barack Obama is bargaining away the country as they are willing to buy the idea that Mitt Romney is a secretive rich guy.

That's right. Basically, Romney is hoping that his completely baseless accusation that Obama is trying to sell out America, as if the president is basically a traitor, will stick. With the economy improving and his own approval ratings tanking, it's pretty much all he's got, this and his various other anti-Obama smears.

The selling out argument, such as it is an argument at all, has picked up speed after Obama was caught telling Russian President Medvedev that he'll have more flexibility after the election. Of course, he didn't mean that he'd sell out to Russia, just that politics limits one's viable options, particularly in the middle of an election season, but Republicans, as stupid and opportunistic as ever, jumped all over the remark as if it were the smoking gun they'd been waiting for.

The Romney campaign's "non sequitur," comparing apples to oranges, reflects just how pathetic it is, how desperate it is to smear Obama as a way to deflect from its own candidate's massive weakness.

And suggsting that "the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders" is fair game for public consumption isn't just ridiculous but reflective of a dangerously ignorant understanding of how the world works and of how diplomacy must be conducted. Simply put, the president, like any world leader, must be able to have private conversations, out of the public eye, with his fellow leaders. If it were all to be made public, no world leader would say anything of substance to the president, and the president would have to make every statement with an eye to how it would play, unfiltered, in the public arena. In other words, it would severely handcuff America's ability to communicate with, and make deals with, other countries. What the Romney campaign is suggesting, simply, is that the U.S. should willingly weaken itself on the international stage. If anyone is willing to sell out America, then, it's Romney. He would effectively disempower his own country.

It's unlikely, of course, that Romney and his people actually think this should be done. In addition to smearing Obama with the "selling out" charge, they're just using it for immediate political purposes as a self-defensive way to deflect attention away from Romney's tax returns, which should certainly be released for public consumption.

But the Romney campaign's ridiculous response can nonetheless be seen as an indication of how it intends to wage its battle with Obama -- that is, by lying and smearing and doing everying possible to keep the real Mitt Romney, whatever there is left now that he's a soul-less political automaton, from public view. That's really his only hope.

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  • Ever wish you could return to 19th century election politics? Well, neither have I. But you would have to travel that far back in time to experience anything like the sheer meanness of Willard Mitt Romney's campaign against Barack Obama. Not since pre-Civil War days--when Abraham Lincoln was openly mocked for his youthful poverty, his ungainly posture, and even the size of his ears--has there been anything like Romney's incivility. Proof? Here it is: When asked if he had a Christmas message for the president of the United States, Romney replied: "YAH. Take a a permanent vacation!" I wasn't surprised that the CNN reporter let that stand without comment. How sad that the party of Abraham Lincoln has sunk that low.

    By Blogger Trish Saunders, at 2:05 PM  

  • Depending on how one defines "bargaining away the country," there may be a lot of voters willing to believe that Obama might be doing that.

    We watched in recent years as our politicians have done any number of things which work against the interests of the vast majority of Americans, while benefiting a tiny handful of people - tax breaks for the rich, bank bailouts, the continuation of these wars. There are plenty in congress - not a few of them democrats - who would pass laws that send American jobs and tax dollars overseas, to benefit their donors.

    For a lot of people, Romney's accusation might now seem too farfetched.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:33 AM  

  • Romney will release his tax returns when Obama compromises the security of the United States. Yeah, that's a fair compromise.

    By Blogger Green Eagle, at 9:42 AM  

  • How much money does Obama have in Cayman Islands bank accounts?

    By Blogger Bob Broughton, at 10:03 AM  

  • Some enterprising journalist needs to ask if a President Romney intends to release transcripts of all conversations he would have with world leaders. A "No" would prompt the follow-up question of: "How can Americans know that you aren't planning to sell them out?", and a "Yes" would prompt, "How do you expect to have candid discussions with foreign leaders when they know you will release every word to the press, no matter how delicate or sensitive the subject?"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:24 AM  

  • Without disagreeing at all with the idea that Romney is pushing the line that Obama is selling out the naiton with secret deals with damn furriners, etc., I believe there is another aspect to this peculiar equation of personal income and diplomatic negotiations.

    Corporations are people. People with a right to privacy, a right to not have their secrets exposed to public scrutiny. Of course corporations that practice fracking should not have to reveal exactly what they're pumping into the ground, or exactly how and why they are confident that this stuff isn't getting into the water table. To reveal this secret and sensitive informatin would not only allow potential competitors to steal their best practices, it would probably harm the coporation's ability to continue to get licenses to frack.

    Part of Romney's point is that to ask individuals, especially wealthy-as-a-corporation individuals, to reveal their income information is as outrageous, unjustified and violative as expecting presidents to reveal the content of their negotiations with foreign powers.

    Is this going to play as a reductio ad absurdam? That expectation might seem absurd, but really, the other side has been amazingly successful at getting people to defer to the needs of the "job creators" to get their job creation work done without any sort of hindrance from gummint interference, if they are to do that job well, and create more and more jobs. Why couldn't they sell the idea that people of great wealth, like Romney, need to be able to keep their income information secret if they are to continue to do this great work of job creation effectively? That secrecy is just as important for national job security as diplomatic secrecy is for national security.

    By Blogger Glen Tomkins, at 10:53 AM  

  • you wrote:"...But the Romney campaign's ridiculous response can nonetheless be seen as an indication of how it intends to wage its battle with Obama -- that is, by lying and smearing and doing everying possible to keep the real Mitt Romney, whatever there is left now that he's a soul-less political automaton, from public view...". Actually the public at large, esp swing voters, already see this unelectable persona that is Mitt Romney. No one is going to be fooled by him. He can lie and cheat and smear all he wants. But he won't win with that. He will get help, but he won't win with it. He won't get women and he won't get hispanics. There: election over already. He's losing in swing states and it's not even the general election yet. Mitt Romney has nothing and is nothing. The GOP deserves this hollow soulless candidate. He mirrors what they are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM  

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