"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How the World Works -- On Romney's "47%" Comment

Let me tell you how the world works.   A few years ago I was involved in a major piece of litigation.   The claim was for something like $3 billion, with the potential for treble damages, which meant that, for my client, it was a "bet the company" case.   At some point during the litigation, an article showed up in the New York Times about the case that painted our client's conduct in an unfavorable light, which mattered going forward because the client was a publicly-traded company and obviously did not want bad publicity, because it affected their stock price.   We knew instantly that the story had been planted with the Times by our adversaries, a major NY law firm.   In short, what passed for news was really a planned and timed press release by the Plaintiff.

I think the same is true about the surreptitious film of Mitt Romney making comments at a fundraiser about how 47% of Americans don't pay income taxes so they will be hard to convince that lowering taxes would be good for the economy.   Put aside the fact that what Romney said is basically true, and essentially repeats what has been a truism of American political observation since Tocqueville, namely, that once a majority of the people figure out they can vote themselves money out of their neighbors' pockets, democracy cannot long survive.   The timing of the story by a minor, but well-known left-wing publication, Mother Jones, suggests to me that it is a plant by the Obama campaign.   I think they've had this film for many months, and released it at a time when they thought they needed to shift attention.   Consider:

  • The facts coming out of the Middle East show that the Obama administration either knew or should have known that attacks on our embassies on 9/11 were imminent.  
  • The Office of Inspector General report on Fast and Furious is due out either this week or next, and leaks have already suggested that it will be very hard on the Obama administration.
  • The economy continues to be tanking, and the jobs report for September, which is now due out two weeks from Friday, will likely be more of the same.
  • Polls are starting to show that the Obama convention bounce has dissipated, and internal polls must be showing that Romney could be ahead once the unlikelihood of repeating the 2008 Democratic turnout among blacks and youth is factored in.
The Democrats and Obama needed to change the subject.   Voila!   A manufactured "scandal" about an innocuous comment by Romney months ago that can be spun as a "secret" tape with appropriate scare headlines.

That's how the world works.

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