An Obama-supporting PAC has released a new anti-Romney ad that I think is hugely unfair and unnecessarily so. The ad, according to the AP, features a photo of Romney and his cohorts in the early days of Bain Capital clowning around with $20 bills in their teeth, shirts, coats and hands.
The problem is the ad uses a 25-year-old photo to make its point. Conduct that far in the past is hardly a clear indicator of present behavior or attitude. The ad feels sort of like some competitor or enemy rummaging through old Facebook photos and finding an image of his nemesis drinking a tequila shot with his arm around a topless dancer when the guy was pledging a college frat.
Not that I don't think Mitt Romney isn't fair game for charges of being an out-of-touch rich guy who understands essentially nothing about the world of working stiffs and middle class denizens. But this picture is a poor way to make that point. Things that happened that long ago, unless they are criminal, should be off limits. They cheapen those who use them to attack others.
I'm just sayin'.
I hope the columnists that The WEEK magazine excerpted today regarding Mitt Romney's keys to winning the November election are wrong. But I'm not sure they are. And that's discouraging.
In the article
, several political commentators said that, for Romney to overcome his present deficit in the polls, he needs to unite the conservative wing of the GOP behind a "get rid of Obama at any cost" strategy, and go to on the attack in a way that is so vicious that it puts all previous negative campaigning to shame (or perhaps the opposite of shame).
IOW, don't offer any positive platform. Don't present any fresh ideas. Don't tell us how you'll govern. Just destroy Obama.
It's conventional political wisdom that negative, attacking ads are widely disapproved of, and enormously effective. This CNN piece is one of several good articles I've read recently on the subject. The researcher featured in the piece says that one reason negativity works is that negativity is more memorable than positivity. ("Think how you remember insults," she says.)
But I believe that sooner or later our better angels will prevail and we will become sufficiently disgusted with negative campaigning to punish those who engage in it. Trouble is, neither side can afford to engage in unilateral disarmament in the hopes that now is that time.
Quite a conundrum. I hope Obama's team can at least minimize anti-Romney advertising but given the success the GOP presumptive nominee has had with burying opponents under vicious attack, he's not likely to back off in the General.
One fact about Mormonism that the media have completely overlooked and that could have a potentially significant negative impact on Mitt Romney’s general election campaign is that in the Mormon Church women are denied access to the priesthood. (That’s the males-only church population that holds every significant office of authority from the top to the bottom of the church.)
I’m a former Mormon and I can tell you that even though many Mormons would argue that they treat their female members with great dignity and respect (and that’s even true in a large swath of the church membership), that does nothing to erase the fact that women are in essence second-class citizens when it comes to church management and leadership. Without a properly practicing Mormon husband, Mormon women are even denied access to the highest degree of the afterlife.
It’s hard to see how a man with the lifelong training and education in a church that does not recognize women’s right or ability to lead the church at any level would be expected to have an egalitarian attitude toward females in his political life and campaigns. And that’s certainly indicative of what we’ve been seeing so far.
I don’t think that the fact that Romney’s a Mormon leader should disqualify him from the office of President but I also don’t think his religious beliefs and practices, as presented by the church to which he has devoted his life, can be declared off limits for political discourse, either.
(Added After Initial Publication)
After I posed this I recalled that I had posted an article on the subject of Romney’s Mormonism and the Presidency in 2008. I was able to find it here
. If you’re interested in the subject, that article provides a broader perspective on the subject rather than focusing on the women’s issue)