Are all self-inflicted wounds bad?
Was thinking of analyzing presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s secretly videoed speech, when the story about his released tax returns came out. For those not current, Romney made a speech before some donors in which he basically went suicidal… offending almost every group (except the rich) that he wants to get votes from.
Then instead of backtracking on the damaging speech, all he could utter was that he stands by it but it ‘…was inelegantly stated’. The speech was so bad that not only did it give fodder to the Obama campaign, several conservative pundits blasted him on it. Not good at all.
Of course the speech put him in a hole, and he continued to dig himself deeper when he followed up with his released 2011 tax returns. Now, one of the issues that Romney has been attacked on is the non-release of his tax returns, deciding to limit disclosure to just a few years. When he was submitting for McCain’s running mate, he submitted like 20 years of returns, but now that he is running for presidency, he submits only two. Really?
Well, those last returns were immediately jumped upon. The reason is that it is clear that Romney manipulated his tax returns to make him seem like a more favorable candidate.
Romney says he sees nothing wrong with taking every advantage of legal loopholes and deductions and I totally agree with him. But with the 2011 returns, he doesn’t do so. So, what’s the problem with that you may ask?
Well, Romney makes the claim that he pays about 14%, which when you look at it, means he is paying a smaller percentage than most other taxpayers. And before anyone says ‘So?’, we should remember that the small taxpayer doesn’t have the kind of money to pay lobbyists to influence politicians to create laws to avail rich people of lower tax rates.
But that’s not the point of this discussion. Romney didn’t want a too low tax rate because if 14% looked bad, think how bad 9% would look. So he massaged his taxes by not claiming on some legal and obvious deductions. For example, he made a charitable donation of around $4m, but only claimed on $2.25m.
When one takes into consideration that Romney’s charitable donations in 2011 amounted to approximately 30% of his income compared to an average 13.5% of the last twenty years, one realizes that Romney is deliberately and obviously manipulating his taxes for political reasons.
But he is not in a loss situation here. Whether he wins or loses the elections, Romney can always make a claim on the not used deductions. Its legal… and I bet he will, especially when he loses.
Now I have stressed ‘deliberately and obviously’ for a reason. Romney isn’t a fool and must know that it would take an accountant less than a second to realize that he didn’t make these deductions, and in the same time frame, any democratic strategist would realize the purpose of this tax manipulation. This has to be damaging. So why release these returns now?
There could be several reasons. He’d prefer not to release them during the debates and too close to the election day… perhaps people will forget by then. Perhaps releasing them now, takes some of the attention off the massive blunders he made in that secretly recorded video. Both are plausible. But I think there is something else here.
I’ve said before and continue to believe that the republicans need Obama to win the elections and are working with the democrats to do so. ‘Huh?’, you say. Well, right now Obama is less of a danger to the GOP than the tea party is. Obama can only be an issue for the next 4 years, the tea party can actually hurt the party for a lot longer.
The tea partyers because of those like Palin, have galvanized a lot of people to their cause (using Obama’s race as a factor). The tea partyers are parasites. They will never have enough strength, organization or wealth to form their own viable political party. So they hook into the GOP until they got a chance to take over. Obama created the catalyst. What can be easier than getting a group with deep-seated race fears to galvanise against a black democratic president?
Playing on these fears, the tea party pushed the GOP to oppose any actions from Obama to fix the economy the republicans had destroyed. Thus they exaggerated the bogey of the deficit.
The republican got a bump in popularity as the far right vote was dragged out while the democrats were still glowing from their 2008 successes. But the republicans successes were based mainly on tea party support and pretty soon, the conservative and moderate republicans found themselves under threat from an emboldened tea party who, tired of being a passenger, want to drive.
And so we are now seeing the parasite eating the host from the insides. Ouch, that gotta hurt.
The republican leadership is looking long term and realize if the tea party succeeds, the republican party will eventually go extinct. The tea party has driven America to the far right, intends to drive them further and eventually will make the GOP unelectable. The only reason why both main parties enjoy success is because they are only a few differences between them. A tea party-led republican party will create major differences and I doubt the American people will buy into the far right agenda for too long.
The only solution is to have Obama win and then blame the result on the GOP veering too far to the right… and then the moderates can again hope to gain ascendancy.
Speculation? Of course! After all, I’m not in the bowels of the American political system. But there are clear signs going back to the debt agreement last year. But most glaringly, the primary campaigns to select a challenger to Obama. Seriously, this was a circus. I doubt America has ever seen such a flawed set of candidates in a primary. And each hit the front at one point or another only to embarrassingly combust.
Then Romney just kept making self-inflicted wounds, alienating him more and more from the common people. Americans have the foolish idea that their presidents should be like them. Outside of race, one of the things that many tea partyists hated about Obama, was his so-called elitism. Well, clearly Romney is far more removed from the common man than Obama could ever hope to be… except for the colour of the skin thing.
And Romney also keeps re-making who he has always been, simply to suit the demands of the tea party. That won’t play well with moderate republicans and independents.
And the mistakes keep on coming to the point where there clearly rifts in the republican party. Rats are at least standing at the rails of a sinking ship.
Romney isn’t a fool, and I doubt he’s a masochist. Those self-inflicted wounds are deliberate. Romney is part of the plan… a deliberately selected weak candidate to ensure an Obama win.
The major question is, “Does the end justify the means?”.
Addendum: And then there is the Ron Paul factor.