Afternoon Open Thread: Nobody Likes Mitt Shady

Howard Fineman posted a scathing piece about Mitt Romney this afternoon. Fineman is always telling the MSNBC hosts that he talks to Romney’s staff all the time. I wonder if they’ll still be talking to him after this?

Fineman says that the reason so many Republicans are hounding Mitt Shady to release his tax returnsis that most of them can’t stand the guy. They’ll probably enjoy seeing Mitt embarrassed.

“The fact is, no one likes the guy or believes in him,” said the campaign manager for a former Romney rival, who declined to be quoted by name because his former boss is on record supporting Romney’s campaign against incumbent President Barack Obama.

“Look back at our 2008 primaries,” he said. “Who did all the other candidates dislike? Romney. Look at this year. Who did all the other candidates dislike? Romney. No one wants Obama to win, but no one likes the guy who is running against him.”

Republican leaders, especially conservatives, see Romney as a malleable, cynical power-grabber without principle or compass. They warned voters that Romney would be unable to take the fight to Obama on health care because he had fostered a similar program as governor of Massachusetts, and they argued that a wealthy, well-connected son of privilege was not a good spokesman for selling free-market ideas to the middle-class.

Over the last week, a disparate array of Republican and conservative leaders have called on Romney to do what he is clearly loathe to do: release several years if not a decade or more of his federal tax returns. It is an unspoken form of payback.

The list is not only a veritable who’s who of the party, but a not-so-subtle roster of people who opposed Romney for the presidential nomination. That they have not fallen in line behind Romney’s stonewalling is a telling sign.

If the party leaders hate Mitt that much, how are voters going to feel about him once they start paying closer attention the race? The more they see Mitt, the less they’ll like him. To know him is to dislike him.

This could happen sooner rather than later now that Romney and his sidekick Eric Fehrnstrom have announced that “the gloves are off.” According to Buzzfeed,

Romney has always been careful to hedge his tough digs at Obama with a civil nod toward the president’s moral character: “He’s a nice guy,” the Republican has often said. “He just has no idea how the private economy works.” But Tuesday’s speech included no such hedge — and one campaign adviser said there’s a reason for that.

“[Romney] has said Obama’s a nice fellow, he’s just in over his head,” the adviser said. “But I think the governor himself believes this latest round of attacks that have impugned his integrity and accused him of being a felon go so far beyond that pale that he’s really disappointed. He believes it’s time to vet the president. He really hasn’t been vetted; McCain didn’t do it.”

Indeed, facing what the candidate and his aides believe to be a series of surprisingly ruthless, unfounded, and unfair attacks from the Obama campaign on Romney’s finances and business record, the Republican’s campaign is now prepared to go eye for an eye in an intense, no-holds-barred act of political reprisal, said two Romney advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity. In the next chapter of Boston’s pushback — which began last week when they began labeling Obama a “liar” — very little will be off-limits, from the president’s youthful drug habit, to his ties to disgraced Chicago politicians.

Romney has unleashed his inner bully on President Obama. This could get really nasty, ugly, and petty; but I’ll bet it’s not going to help Mitt with the independent voters he needs to attract.

The attacks began yesterday morning with creepy John Sununu implying that Obama isn’t a real American and then a little later with Romney himself saying that “Obama’s course is extraordinarily foreign.” I guess we can assume now that Romney has been hanging around with Donald Trump because he actually has no problem with using the birther issue. We’ll probably see Trump mouthing off about it again soon.

Let’s see what an expert on both Romney and Fehrnstrom has to say about this, shall we? Charles Pierce:

Well, this certainly ought to be fun.

There are, of course, a few problems here. The first one is that, when you start borrowing talking points — the president wasn’t “vetted” in 2008 — from Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods, you’re already running a few lengths below the intellectual Mendoza line. The second is logical; we already know far more about the president’s relationship with both Tony Rezko and cocaine than we do about Willard Romney’s relationship to the U.S. tax code for the years, say, 1999-2008. The third is strategic; if you have to remind people that you’re preparing to get tough, you’ve pulled your own punch before throwing it. And the last one is perceptual; Willard Romney — and most of his surrogates — look utterly ridiculous in the role of political hatchetmen.

This is the new, tougher Willard Romney, who is so damned rugged that he’s afraid of what the president’s people might do with the information in his tax returns. This is the saloon brawler who won’t shut up about all the mean things the president’s “opposition research” might do to him. This is Willard Freaking Romney, for pity’s sake, of whom an “adviser” warns the president:

“Obama has always benefited from being able to shape the argument such that he avoided harsh negative attacks,” the adviser said. “That served him well. He made other pay a price for going negative. These past couple weeks have completely squandered that positioning. They are now taunting how tough they are. OK, but once you cross that line, there is no going back.

Well, he’s certainly thrown down the well-tailored gauntlet there, hasn’t he? Remember, Mr. President, this is the stone killer who ended the political career of Shannon O’Brien. Gaze upon his mighty might and despair.

Somehow I don’t think this is going to scare either Obama or Axelrod that much. But as Pierce says, it’ going to be fun to watch.


67 Comments on “Afternoon Open Thread: Nobody Likes Mitt Shady”

  1. Beata says:

    Thanks for another great Mitt Shady post, BB.

    It’s Jiffy Pop time! ( Am I showing my age? )

  2. dakinikat says:

    This is slightly off topic but John McCain got on the Senate floor to ask those whacko house republicans to stop their “sinister’ attacks on Hillary and Huma.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-mccain-sinister-attacks-on-clinton-aide-huma-abedin-must-stop-20120718,0,2521198.story

    Republican Sen. John McCain came to an unusual and impassioned defense of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying the “sinister accusations” by congressional conservatives about her alleged connection to the Muslim Brotherhood must end.

    The attacks have been led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the chairwoman of the tea party caucus in the House, and four other conservative lawmakers, who have asked federal officials to investigate whether Abedin, a Muslim American who is deputy chief of staff at the State Department, is using her influence on U.S. policy toward the Islamic group. The lawmakers cite a report showing that Abedin’s relatives, including her deceased father, have alleged connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    “These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And they need to stop now,” said McCain, the GOP’s former presidential nominee and its top voice on defense policy. “I have every confidence in Huma’s loyalty to our country, and everyone else should as well. All Americans owe Huma a debt of gratitude for her many years of superior public service. I hope these ugly and unfortunate attacks on her can be immediately brought to an end and put behind us before any further damage is done to a woman, an American, of genuine patriotism and love of country.”

    McCain acknowledged the unusual nature of his decision to come to the Senate floor to speak about a particular individual. But he said he was compelled to do so to protect her character and reputation in the face of attacks being made “without concern for fact or fairness.”

    “Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully,” said McCain, who said he has seen Abedin in action overseas, at Clinton’s side. “I am proud to know Huma, and to call her my friend.”

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    It wasn’t Shannon O’Brien’s career he damaged so much as it was for Jane Swift, the acting governor from North Adams, MA who used the state helicopter to ferry her back and forth from Boston to home, herself a disaster as state leader.

    Mitt arrived wearing the “white hat” and pushed Jane Swift “swifty” to the side as he set up camp for his own run for governor with his focus exclusively on the eventual POTUS nomination that took years to finally be in his grasp.

    No one has heard hide nor hair from Jane Swift since. The helicopter rides, along with her usage of the state police to get her from home to Boston and back again, at least estabished for the Commonwealth that though she may have been playing fast and loose with the state transportation to get her home each night to tuck the kids to bed, she at least was a bona fide resident of the state.

    Mitt meanwhile had to “dodge and weave” the press over his own right of residency since he owned more than one home outside of the one in Belmont, MA that he used as his mailing address as proof.

    Mitt entered the MA state run for governor late in the game as I recall but he put paid to Swift’s nomination (she was a real mess to be honest) and went on to win the overall vote.

    Shannon O’Brien put his feet to the fire but every so often MA residents get fed up to the eyeballs with the heavily represented Dem state legistlature which is the actual body of law and replete with more felonious House Speakers than Lindsay Lohan has arrests.

    Mitt went on to spend more time outside the state preparing for an eventual presidential run that did not materialize the first time around and more probably because no on in the GOP leadership could stand him any better than than they do now.

  4. Beata says:

    It’s good to see Indiana’s soon-to-be-former senator, Dick Lugar, among the Republicans calling on Romney to release several years of tax returns. I never voted for Lugar, but I’ve long admired his statesmanship. I hope he has a foreign policy role in Obama’s second term. Lugar’s years of knowledge and experience should not go to waste.

  5. RalphB says:

    The “moderates” aren’t so moderate. Pierce on the killing of the Law of the Sea treaty…

    What made the Senate’s action so compellingly pathetic was that the votes critical to kiling the treaty came from Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Both of them are widely referred to as “moderate” Republicans. More to the point, both are considered to be on the “short list” to be vice-president on this year’s Republican ticket. Unfortunately, to be on that ticket, because the guy at the top would dress in high heels and pearls if “the base” wanted him to do so, you have to swear fealty to every perfervid fantasy that pops out of the swampy boogedy-boogedy that passes for the mind of James Inhofe.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Lawless_Seas

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Romney’s whining again: Mitt Romney Says Campaign Finance Laws Limit Ability To Fight Negative Ads.

    Mitt Romney argued in an interview Wednesday that the reason he is being bludgeoned in the ad wars is because campaign finance laws are effectively tying one hand behind his back.

    The presumptive Republican nominee told the Toledo Blade that he plans to ramp up his television advertising after the GOP convention, when he can spend general election funds.

    “As you know, we had a long primary and spent most of our primary dollars on the primary,” Romney told the Blade, which put out a transcript of its interview. “The president had no primary, and so he is able to spend his primary dollars across the country, and there are just many places we can’t afford to be running ads. So we are massively outspent by a President that had no primary. And we are able to both shift into general election funds after our conventions, and we will be able to be more competitive, and you’ll to see more of us as that occurs.”

    Awww…. boo hoo hoo

    • bostonboomer says:

      Romney told the Toledo Blade that negative ads diminish the campaign, candidate and presidency. He added that Obama “would be wise” to take down ads determined to be false by independent fact-checkers, in reference to a question on the recent spots on Romney’s time at Bain Capital.

      “I think dishonesty is a line that campaigns cross at their own peril, and to a degree, at the peril of the nation,” he said.

      It takes one to know one, I guess.

      • northwestrain says:

        We have a tiny sum of money in foreign bank (inherited) — and we faithfully report every penny on our IRS form. It amazes me that the 1% are able to move masses of looted money to offshore accounts. For the rest of us the US Government monitors and checks and rechecks and holds even money transfers of under $1,000 to a foreign account. Leaving the country with more than $10,000 cash could mean that the government will confiscate your money. Traveling with cash is also risky — the government or TSA might confiscate your money. Google yields lots of stories about the 99% having their hard earned money stolen by the government.

        Meanwhile the Romneys of the world move millions if not billions off shore — between accounts etc. and that huge amount of money leaking out of the country from the rouge gamblers (stock market etc type gambles) is apparently ignored.

        If I didn’t have direct experience with Governments holding small amounts of money for weeks before releasing the funds — I might not question the fact that the 1% follow very different rules than the rest of the world.

      • RalphB says:

        Rmoney just got 4 Pinochios from Kessler for his own ad today 🙂

    • dakinikat says:

      He knows the only way he can get anything is to buy it and pillage it.

    • from the link:

      Romney released his 2010 tax return in January of this year, a document that first informed voters about the existence of his Swiss bank account and financial activities in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But people who own foreign bank accounts are required to file a separate document with the IRS that provides additional details on such overseas bank holdings, and Romney has not released that form to the public.

      The Romney campaign did not respond to HuffPost’s request to view the document.

      Tax experts say it is almost certain that Romney did file the form, known as a Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or “FBAR” in accountant slang. The penalty for not filing an FBAR can be severe, and the IRS would have expected to receive the form since Romney listed the Swiss bank account on his tax return. Listing the account on his tax return and then failing to file the subsequent FBAR would have been asking for a hefty fine, and would probably have heightened IRS scrutiny of prior tax filings.

      Nevertheless, Romney’s omission of the form from the earlier disclosure raises questions for tax policy experts about the function of his Swiss bank account, and whether or not Romney used other offshore bank accounts that did not generate interest.

      “The campaign has never told us why he had a Swiss bank account,” said Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel for federal tax policy at Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonprofit tax reform group. “It just looks bad.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s interesting!

      • So he is not even forthright with the taxes he did produce…

        • dakinikat says:

          The more you find out about Romney, the worse he looks. He deserves Jindal for a VP. Crazy Jerk. I’m so glad I don’t teach at any Louisiana University any more. He’s just made a hash of them by nearly halving their budgets. UNO’s been driven into the ground. LSU appears to be next. He already did that to the health system here. I can’t wait to see what lies Romney will pull out of his ass next. He just gets up there in a speech and lies and lies and lies. I’m still planning on voting Green this election but if it looks close I may have to vote against Romney. All our MA folks–including Boomer–told us how bad he was. Just as I’m warning you Jindal’s the worst governor we’ve ever had and I hope his career gets stopped now. I guess you really need to listen to the folks that endured the jerks at the state level. It’s really bad when the insiders in your own party are saying you’re screwing up royally and the only person that goes on the offense for you is a scumbag like Sununu. He’s the poster child for spending tax payer money on personal fun stuff. What kind of recommendation is that?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Are you really surprised by that?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Poor Romney!!!! His surrogates have been on TV all day whining that Mitt has released a lot of tax information, They’ve ALL said he released “500 documents”. What they didn’t say, until prodded into it, was those “500 documents” were from 1 filing year, 2010. Since Mitt’s entire campaign is predicated on deception and obfuscation you think he’d at least hire some REALLY GOOD yarn spinners.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Uh-Oh, again!!!

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    Pierce’s comment about the Romney campaign “pulling punches” is so spot on. Everyone who’s ever been in a war of words knows that people with the ability to throw a lethal punch, don’t pull their punches, they come out swinging, Romney hasn’t gone there, not because he’s a good guy, but because all he has is the same BS that was revealed 4 years ago. Some of it is true, some of it isn’t, but none of it matters because American’s have heard it all and have dismissed it as gossip, ignored it as politically motivated, or just don’t give a damn about it. If it wasn’t a game stopper in 2008, it won’t matter in 2012. The Romney campaign is currently shadow boxing, but if it decides to throw that punch, it will likely pay an unimaginable price. Someone knows the truth of Romney’s financial life and they are likely waiting in queue to spill their guts.

    Has anyone here noticed that Romney’s nose is red all the time? That’s what happens when you throw-up right after hyperventilating. 🙂

    • RalphB says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Obama campaign had a treasure trove of oppo on Rmoney, just waiting on the right excuse or time to let it loose. 🙂

  8. List of X says:

    I had just wrote a post yesterday on why Romney has not released more tax returns:
    http://listofx.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/10-reasons-why-mitt-romney-is-not-releasing-his-tax-records/
    sorry for the shameless plug, but i think you may appreciate the humor…

  9. northwestrain says:

    Has the heat eased up a bit for those of you suffering in the pressure cookers of the Midwest, East coast, South & Canada? I worry about you all — because I know I do not handle extreme heat very well.

    I noted a headline last night — that the majority of the record breaking highs have happened within the last 10 years. (Except for the North American Pacific coast — we are colder than normal.)

    • RalphB says:

      It actually hasn’t been too hot in TX for some reason. Much cooler than last year.

    • Beata says:

      It was in the upper 90’s to the low 100’s here today. Air quality terrible. I woke up with chills, fever, and a sore throat. Not sure if it’s the bad air or what? My mother, who is in a nursing home, is sick, too. A lot of people are really suffering. We had a strong thunderstorm this afternoon and it has cooled off a bit now. It will be in the 90’s over the next week.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sorry about your mom, Beata. This weather is hard on old folks. I hope she’s staying hydrated.

      It was hot as hell here again today, but this afternoon we got some thunderstorms. It has cooled down some outside, but my house is still hot. We’re lucky that we’re getting a little cooldown for the rest of the week.

  10. RalphB says:

    This is a funny photoshop…

  11. Fannie says:

    LA Times has Romney in an article complaining that Obama Jobs Council Panel hasn’t met in 6 months……Who all sits on that board? I think Romney’s man, Jeff Immelt was head leader of the pack. I remember talk about occupy people on his front lawn in Conn……….Here is a man that gets 8 million a year as CEO of GE, and is listed as one “powerful” man. General Electric made billions, paid no taxes and got back money from Federal Government. I thought Obama fired him, but I wouldn’t meet with men like Romney, or Immelt, they are doing exactly what we are sick and tired of outsourcing jobs, and cheating on taxes. They aren’t worried about the unemployed, they are all about power first, not jobs first. Wasn’t it the republicans who gathered together the Jobs Council Panel?

    I also recalled reading about their recommendation to drill, drill, and drill.

    • dakinikat says:

      Well, as long as people watch something other than the Fox Propaganda Network they are bound to see him digging his grave with all the lies.

      • RalphB says:

        This was a comment on wonkette to Bachmann’s latest crazy. 🙂

        “At long last, have you left no refills, Ma’am!? Has your doctor not called in your refills?”

  12. RalphB says:

    Shame the AP doesn’t have the journalistic ethics of a local TV reporter.

    Arpaio: questioning profit motive behind birther investigation ‘a big insult’

    “How do you expect any of us to believe any of this?” KPHO-TV’s Morgan Loew asked Arpaio at a Tuesday press conference. “You have two investigators who are in business together, and their business is peddling conspiracy theories.”

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Sheriff Arpaio wants the State of Hawaii to give up the “microfiche” of Obama’s original long form birth certificate to prove Obama was “really” born there. A copy of the orginal long form birth certificate produced from the microfiche and certified by the State of Hawaii wasn’t good enough. Next they’ll demand an 8MM film of the birth and sworn affadavits from everyone, who is still alive, who was in attendance at the birth. And they still won’t believe he’s an American. These folks are just asshats.

  13. RalphB says:

    This is interesting and may be dispositive of real problems in his returns.

    Mitt Romney Never Thought He’d Have To Release Tax Returns: Bain Sources

    WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney has been determined to resist releasing his tax returns at least since his bid for Massachusetts governor in 2002 and has been confident that he will never be forced to do so, several current and former Bain executives tell The Huffington Post. Had he thought otherwise, say the sources based on their longtime understanding of Romney, he never would have gone forward with his run for president.

    Bain executives say they’ve been instructed to keep company and Romney-specific information completely confidential, tightening the lockdown on an already closed company.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh for heaven’s sake! Why is he even running for President? He’s like a spoiled child.

      • RalphB says:

        I believe he IS still a spoiled child!

      • bostonboomer says:

        I know. He has faced very little adversity in his life–just that car accident in France and other than that every thing has been handed to him.

        It’s his own fault that he spent all his money on negative ads during the primaries. He should have set some aside.