Could it be that Mitt Romney will go the way of John Kerry, convinced either by himself or his handlers that he need not respond to attacks on his record? With Kerry, it was somewhat understandable. He, or his handlers, had a sort of naive faith that the American press would never allow a baseless attack on his war record to get traction. With Romney, it’s a little different. The attacks are basically grounded in truth and he should have been fairly warned, as he has been beaten over the head with Bain before, and rightly so. The Bain business plan is emblematic of the worst of unfettered capitalism, which considers any amount of inflicted suffering and harm to society justified so long as someone is making a profit. But Romney does appear to be stumbling, as if he never anticipated these attacks. Perhaps this is all a result of bubble thinking; it does appear that many Republicans are convinced that everyone else sees Obama as the devil incarnate, so there’s no need to believe that you have to present a convincing case for your own candidate:
Here’s an AP story Mitt Romney’s campaign would rather not see:
The core of his presidential candidacy under attack, Mitt Romney has yet to shape a playbook to defend a quarter-century in the business world that created great riches for himself and great hardship, at times, for some American workers.
Romney and his aides have struggled to respond consistently to intensifying criticism about his tenure at Bain Capital and how it would be reflected in his presidency. The lack of a cohesive message stems, in part, from Romney’s fundamental belief that any debate that puts the economy front and center is a win for Republicans.
It’s hard to imagine Mitt Romney actually believes that he can sit back and coast to victory as long as the economy stays front and center, but based on his lackadaisical response to the Bain assault, it might actually be true. As Alexander Burns notes, he’s been AWOL from the campaign trail since Friday and isn’t scheduled to make an appearance until noon on Wednesday when he addresses the Chamber of Commerce.
As Kerry learned to his sorrow, even if an attack is a pack of lies, you risk everything if you don’t get ahead of it. It has, one hopes against hopes, to be harder to suppress a meme grounded in truth than one grounded in lies. If it is, then Romney may be spending a considerable amount of his time from now until November talking about Bain.