I haven't heard anyone in the media make the point why Romney's poor response to the Bain capital issue is so damning: In effect, Romney is saying that he should get a pass for what Bain did in his "absence" because he wasn't running the company at the time (even though he was technically still its CEO), and/or that he should get a pass for telling the SEC that he was CEO of the company for three years while he had passed off those duties to others because he didn't actually exercise control.Arguably, the most important job of the presidency is staffing the upper echelons of the executive branch, and managing it. To take only a very recent example, the presidency of George W. Bush was so catastrophic in large part because he hired terrible people to do very important jobs, and took very little responsibility for the results. (Obama shouldn't get a pass on this sort of thing either...the fact that Eric Holder remains Attorney General is mind-boggling to me.)
The Obama campaign mistakenly focused on whether that makes him a liar or a criminal. In my opinion, the more damning conclusion comes from accepting Romney's story at face value. If he can't deal with two big issues at the same time, and [won't] take responsibility for what is done on his behalf (by those he chose to act on his behalf--because he was the sole owner of the company), how can he possibly be competent to be President of the United States?
I don't think that we've seen any evidence of criminal intent on Mr. Romney's part. (I leave it to the lawyers to judge whether there was criminal action, though I suspect that Romney and Bain are rather adroit at remaining within the letter of the law, even as they test its boundaries.) I think it is entirely possible--probable, even--that Romney honestly did intend for his leave from Bain to be temporary, and that the demands of running the Olympics changed those plans.
I think what we're seeing here is the result of a tactical decision made by the campaign to distance Romney from whatever it is Bain did during the years in question (outsourcing, or whatever). That was clearly a short-sighted call, and they've been handling it abysmally ever since. Ta-Nahisi Coates adds:
But for most people in this country, if your name is on something, you are responsible for it. I may well consent to let my son open a credit card in my name. But I will be ultimately responsible for what happens to that bill. I may well sublet an apartment I own to someone else who pays the bills, and manages the place. But my name is still on the paper, and I will be responsible if something goes wrong.
This has shades of the Ron Paul newsletter controversy, in that summons up this separate bizarro universe where people are not responsible to the document to which they attach their names. In the world of most people $100,000 a year is a lot of money. If you collect that kind of paycheck and your name is on the company as an executive, by what standard are you then not, in any way, responsible for that company's actions?The Romney Standard, holding that you are not responsible for signature, is contrary to the basic standard to which we hold young school children. If you can't adhere to that, how will you adhere to the standard of Leader of The Free World?
I recently queried one of my conservative friends at Mr. D's place as to how he would interpret Mr. Obama's reelection (an event that he is at this point confident is highly unlikely). I found several of his answers thoughtful and fair, even though I would not subscribe to them myself. But I would like to suggest another that merits serious consideration, should Mr. Obama find himself deferring retirement until 2017:
That Mitt Romney is simply a terrible candidate, nominated by a party that is cynical to the point of nihilism.