Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obama's version of Birtherism

Remember Birtherism - the idea that people in the 1960s knew that some day Barack Obama would run for president of the United States so, in the 1960s, they planted stories indicating that Obama was born in Hawaii?

The Obama campaign has invented their own version of this. They are now claiming that Mitt Romney continued to control Bain Capitol after his official departure in 1999 and that he lied on SEC forms filled out in the early 2000s about his control of Bain. Why would he do this? Because he must of known back then that Bain would become a campaign issue during his 2012 run for president.

Romney's record while at Bain is pretty good. Bain bought failing companies and tried to make them profitable. 90% of companies that they bought were still in business when he left which is above average. That means that thousands of people in failing companies got to keep their jobs.

In order to tarnish Romney's record, the Obama campaign has run stories about Bain investments going bankrupt and people losing their jobs, even if these happened after Romney left Bain. The fact-checkers have been harsh on the Obama campaign for this.

In an attempt to deflect this, they pointed out that Romney continued as sole-owner and chair of Bain for years after he left the company. Factcheck looked at these claims and pronounced them all wet. They noted that stories written during Romney's tenure as head of the US Olympics noted that the job was much harder than Romney had anticipated. He was putting in 112-hour weeks and doing the work of three people. He even missed his anniversary. That didn't leave much time for him to be secretly running Bain.

Again, these articles appeared years ago. They are not a current attempt to rewrite history. That honor belongs to the Obama campaign which does not recognize the difference between owning a company and running it.

This is a basic dirty trick from the Saul Alinsky playbook. You take your opponents biggest strength (in this case Romney's business success) and turn it against him. It is also an attempt at being the first to define the candidate. The Obama campaign did the same thing to Sarah Palin over Labor Day weekend in 2008. Within three days of her introduction as the vice presidential candidate she was having to prove that her youngest child was not actually her grandson.

The Obama campaign has a mastery of dirty tricks not seen since the Nixon days. Their attacks on Romney and Bain are just the newest manifestations.

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