Where Is this Killer Instinct in Governance?


I confess I am thoroughly enjoying the Obama campaign’s attack on Mitt Romey’s Bain experience. Contrary to DC pundits’ beliefs, the outsourcing story really really resonates in those parts of the country where outsourcing has devastated the country–which just happen to include a bunch of swing states. Yet with the squabble over when Mitt left, the pundits have catnip to keep them interested while the Obama campaign really builds the narrative about Mitt. If the economy crashes again–which is, I think, the biggest threat to Obama’s reelection–he will have already cemented the idea that financial vultures like Mitt are the problem, not the solution. And heck, the campaign’s focus on tax havens like Bermuda and Cayman Islands might actually get society to focus on them generally.

Plus, as ads like this show, the Obama campaign is showing a wonderful cutthroat instinct rarely seen among Democrats.

But as big a mystery as who ran Bain Capital for the three years when Mitt was legally CEO but purportedly doing nothing with the company is this: where has this killer instinct been the last 3 years?

Imagine how effective such ads would be targeted at the obstructionists in the Senate? Mocking the 33rd time House Republicans repeal ObamaCare rather than doing something about jobs? And while I understand that such killer attacks are more effective directed against one villain who personifies evil, the GOP has villainized Pelosi effectively–there are ways to do it.

Obama’s right: Corporatist vultures like Mitt are part of the problem (though Obama’s fondness for trade deals is too). But so are the people in Congress who would rather see the economy fail just to have the President fail too.

Republicans in Congress truly are villains (many Democrats are too, of course). It’s time to start treating them like it.

13 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    While the political punditry is truly jazzed about the Bain of Mitt’s existence, there is no doubt that much of the discussion is “inside baseball” to the average voter.

    The broader question then is whether Team Obama can translate this Bain brouhaha into voter support. That surely is their game plan at the moment. It remains to be seen whether it will be seriously effective.

    It seems to me that part of Team Obama’s strategy is to use things like this to indirectly highlight Romney’s serial lying without having to explicitly say he’s a habitual liar.

    Will that make a difference? I don’t know.

    The Repug base could care less. Their motivation is that they hate Obama more than they hate Romney. A segment actually approves of Romney’s serial dishonesty. It reminds them of their own behavior and birds of a feather flock together.

    As to the Undecideds and Independents, I guess it comes down to whether either of the campaigns can convince and swing enough of them as the lesser of 2 evils.

    Last man standing after the final round of mud-slinging? It surely won’t be a referendum on either candidate’s purported positive characteristics.

  2. allan says:

    “where has this killer instinct been the last 3 years?”

    It’s been directed towards the left.
    You know, the `sanctimonious purists’ in the `professional left’ who let `the perfect be the enemy of the good’.
    Whom O and his clique have held in complete contempt, until they realized they need their active support in order to get re-elected.

  3. Scarecrow says:

    I thought fucking retards was pretty cutthroat. They’ve always known how to do it. just a bit confused about who the enemy is, or maybe not . . .

    Next to last sentence. . . .rather see the economy fail . . .

  4. Bill Michtom says:

    Governance is so much harder than campaigning and gets in the way of a lucrative post-presidency, dontcha know?

  5. bustednuckles says:

    If this is what we can look forward to until November, I’m going to need more popcorn.

    I have to agree w/ Allen that the Obama administration has gone out of it’s way to frustrate us Lefties but I don’t really see a big presence of us going out of OUR way trying to get him reelected either.
    I see more that we are just letting the Republicans take more rope for the time being.

  6. lefty665 says:

    “…where has this killer instinct been the last 3 years?” Exactly. Anybody know who in the O campaign has transmogrified?

    Please entertain the possibility that the profound threat to re-election is Unemployment, Unemployment, and Unemployment. That would make discrediting Mittens imperative. His narrative that the economy sucks (right) and that as a bidnessman he is best suited to creating jobs (wrong) cannot stand if Obama is to win the election. That could explain backbones where none have previously existed.

    U3 at over 8 percent is higher than during any successful presidential re-election. U6, at almost 15%, is a much closer approximation of the 7.2% statistic from 1984 when Reagan was re-elected. U6 does not include the long term unemployed. When those folks are added the rate goes over 20%. That is 3 times Reagan’s rate. Fear of a re-crash means there is not much of the national optimism Reagan rode to re-election with “Morning in America” either.

    For much of America there has been no recovery. None, nada, zip. For much of the middle class the descent, if anything, gets steeper. Re-election with depression magnitude unemployment and poor prospects for the future is perilous in a contest between credible candidates. The Obama administration, and many Dems, have shown precious little inclination to stand up and fight to make things better for the country, and lots of zeal for discrediting the other guy in this election. Thank you for putting a point on it.

    There seems to be little opportunity for Mittens to slip the conflicting SEC (sole stockholder, Chairman, CEO & President making more than $100k a year salary) and FEC (Mr. Romney has not had any active role…and has not been involved) filings. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The non denial denials, semi hysterical ad hominem attacks, and attempts to divert attention imply that Mittens sees it that way too.

    There is massive hypocrisy in the Obama campaign going after Mittens for offshoring. Obama appointed Jeff Immelt as chair of his Jobs Council after GE killed 35k US jobs and created 25k overseas jobs in the last several years. The administration’s secret trade negotiations portend worse domestic job losses to come.

    Thank you EW for coming down to the bottom line. Where the hell have the Obama administration and the Dems been for the last 3 1/2 years? I’d like to add a corollary: What rational reason is there to expect tomorrow to be any different than today if he is re-elected?

    Are we so easily cozened and co-opted by a long visible strategy positioning Obama as the right wing “lesser evil” and the rest of us be damned?

  7. Cujo359 says:

    Where Is this Killer Instinct in Governance?

    Safely compartmentalized in the Campaign Department, where it belongs. At least, as allan notes, until it comes to beating down progressives.

    I don’t see this issue as inside baseball. I just see it as rank hypocrisy. Obama’s economics team is run by a gaggle of Romneys. He has been protecting the Romneys who are still ruining the economy for the past three years. They just aren’t named “Romney”. They’re named “Summers” and “Rubin”, and “Dimon”. Why should I get excited that another one may end up running things?

    As a way of planting seeds of doubt in voters who might want to consider change as the economy goes further south, this is probably a good strategy. But as a winning theme for a campaign, it sucks.

  8. Phil Perspective says:

    @lefty665: Are we so easily cozened and co-opted by a long visible strategy positioning Obama as the right wing “lesser evil” and the rest of us be damned?

    Given the choices(political parties), and system, we presently have? Yes!!

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The killer instinct has been busy dissociating the Obama presidency from the Brand Obama that got him elected.

  10. emptywheel says:

    @lefty665: Right. And a part of me remembers how effective Obama’s attack on Hillary on trade was in the primary.

    It was a complete fiction.

  11. lefty665 says:

    @emptywheel: Yeah, but in the end she was not a better alternative. That whole @#$%^& DLC wing of the party is the problem, not the solution.

    Dunno what the answers are. Your insight and gathering of witting folks keeps me hanging around and gives me hope that by reasoning together we can find a way to muddle through.

    Thanks for all you do.

  12. John Casper says:

    Thanks ew.

    It’s so powerful because it’s the start of a tiny crack in the massive tribalism that the elites have erected to stay in control. A lot of young, disillusioned Republicans voted for Rick Santorum, because he occasionally said “Make it in America.”

    It’s also a platform on which Occupy and the reality-based communities can build. Can’t un-ring that bell.

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