July 13, 2012 by David K. Sutton
The Romney-Bain attacks are fair game, but Obama must run on his own record
Conservative columnist and talk show host Michael Medved writes in The Daily Beast, “Obama Must Defend His Own Record, Not Savage Romney’s Character.” I agree with Medved that Obama needs to put just as much, if not more, focus on his own record than Romney’s, but I also believe pointing out unsavory details of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is legitimate. Romney has chosen to run on his private sector experience and not his experience as governor of Massachusetts. Romney says he knows how the private sector works and how to create jobs because he worked in the private sector. Therefore, a razor-sharp focus on Romney’s time as the CEO of Bain Capital is very much on the table for the Obama campaign.
In responding to deeply disappointing employment numbers for the month of June, for example, the Obama high command didn’t offer some bold new policy initiative, or indicate a fresh willingness to strike that ever-elusive “Grand Bargain” with the truculent conservatives in the House. Instead, they immediately refocused on Romney’s business career, demanding 10 years of past tax returns and raising questions about corporations in Bermuda and bank accounts in Switzerland. Or else they questioned the Romney family vacation in New Hampshire, and expressed disgust at his large, obnoxious, and gas-guzzling power boat.
Is there a “Grand Bargain” that can ever be struck with Republicans who control the House of Representatives? If anybody still believes Republicans in the House have a willingness to work with this president to get the economy going again they are living a fantasy. Regardless of whether you believe Republicans are purposely trying to sabotage the economy, it’s clear that the only legislation they are willing to pass is legislation crafted by Republicans. These 2012 Republicans won’t even accept ideas from Republicans of only a few short years ago. It’s “my way or the highway” politics. Republicans are not interested in compromise, they only seek capitulation from Democrats.
No embattled incumbent has ever succeeded in securing reelection by savaging his opponent rather than defending his own record of achievement—as Jimmy Carter learned to his chagrin in 1980, when his partisans tried to frighten the nation about the senile “dummy actor” and “right-wing fanatic” who ran against him.
This much we can agree on. Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee, and no amount of attacks from the left are going to change that. Nearly half the country is going to vote for Romney regardless of what Obama, Democrats and liberals say about him. Therefore, it is up to the Obama campaign to make its case for why Obama deserves 4 more years. Indeed, Republicans have obstructed much of Obama’s policy initiatives for creating jobs, but pointing that out and attacking Mitt Romney’s record isn’t going to be as effective on the swing voters as making them believe they will be better off with Obama over Romney.