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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Romney's Tax Accusers can be an advantage for him..

So, the big hubub in the political news cycle lately is Romney should release more of his tax records to prove he's not a felon.  This is utterly ridiculous.  Sure, let's make up potential criminal charges because Romney put his name on some SEC documents.  "He could be lieing! He needs to prove his innocence or he's hiding something!"  Ok, let's take that train of thought and apply it to Obama.

Obama has readily admitted to smoking marijuana and doing cocaine in high school.  Therefore, *gasp* he could have sold drugs!  That's a felony!  Obama should produce proof that he didn't sell drugs or he's clearly hiding something!

Let's try another one:  Fast and Furious killed 300 Mexicans and border patrol agent Brian Terry.  There's heavy evidence that high ranking members of the Department of Justice were involved.  There's some very interesting circumstantial tidbits that it could go up all the way to the White House.   And, instead of releasing the documents for the investigaion, Obama shielded them with Excecutive Privilege.  So, by the logic used against Romney, it's clear that Obama's hiding something and that he could be guilty of a crime, right? He should release those documents to prove he's not a criminal!

Do you see the hypocrisy here?  Good.

Ok, so far, Romney's response has been sort of meh.  He's right about the "always wanting more and more".   And he's definitely right that he's done all that the law requires of him.  But here's the kicker:  The message is not selling.  Heck, I agree with him.  He shouldn't have to.  But his often robotic "I've followed the law" response is very bland and dare I say, lifelessly corporate.  So while his accusers want more info to lambaste him as an evil rich guy, he's standing his ground by giving a pallid response that a stereotypical rich guy would give.  Needless to say it's not good.

It's not working and it makes him look weak.  As I said in the previous article, he needs to lead.  And like it or not, this news cycle, by virtue of the Romney campaign and Romney himself doing such a terrible job killing the narrative, needs to be dealt with head on.  Evading the media traps is effective if you're good at killing their narrative before it picks up.  But if you don't decisively knock it out, it'll just grow back stronger and you'll be forced to deal with it.

This is where Romney's at now.  He needs to deal with it.  And this is a great opportunity for him.  It could also potentially be a watershed moment for his campaign.  How so?  By doing these two things:

  • Calling out the media (not Obama) on perpetuating this story that has been debunked repeatedly, even by left leaning fact checkers while refusing to cover anything that has to do Obama's outsourcing billions of dollars (our tax money!) to jobs overseas.  Remember, this whole Bain thing started with the outsourcing deal.  Romney, not his surrogates. needs to call them out on this.  Don't steer back to your policy message so quickly, Mitt, slam them back to make them look like the ridiculous biased vultures many of them can be.
  • Change the narrative to a call for transparency, offering to give up these tax records if Obama will also be more transparent, particularly regarding executive privilege on Fast and Furious.  He can use this as a lever to expose the hypocrisy.  They're calling him a potential felon for not producing his tax records while the president himself refuses to even release his college transcripts.  He's brought it before, but he needs to actually call him out and set the tone that "Fine, you want to play it this way, put up or shut up".
Both of these things serve two huge purposes.  Because there's so much focus on this, drawing attention to the hypocrisy will force the media and Obama campaign to either address it or, as they usually do, slink away and let the narrative finally die.  And more importantly, it'll show Mitt Romney has a backbone and is vehemently throwing the left's hypocrisy right back in their faces. He may end up having to release them, but the point is that he's doing it on his own terms and not capitulating to sleezy leftist slander  tactics.  

The last part is so important.  If he just gives in without a fight, it'll be demoralizing.  The Obama campaign and the media will recognize the weakness and exploit it.  He cannot capitulate.  But his current defense is tepid.  It needs to be bolder.  Anything less is a campaign failure.