Mitt Romney May Define Political Sleaze But Is He The Only Chance The GOP Has To Reclaim The White House?
While I was asking if America is ready for a Mormon president yesterday, most commentators were poking around Mitt Romney's outrageous and clearly unethical, if not illegal, campaign finance practices. Alexandra Petri, Brad Smith, Dave Weigel and Michale Isikoff were most effective in exposing the laundered million that vulture capitalists Bain funneled into Romney's coffers.
The firm that gave the money, called W Spann LLC, was formed in March-- with no listed officers or directors-- made the contribution in April, then dissolved itself in July, according to corporate records.
...It is illegal under federal law for political donors to make contributions in the name of another person-- so called “straw donors”-- and such violations have been vigorously prosecuted by the Justice Department in the past, according to campaign finance experts.
But the federal campaign laws have been made increasingly murky as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political advocacy... collect[ing] millions of dollars from companies and wealthy donors."
Meanwhile Romney put out an expensive web ad attacking Obama's putrid record on free trade. Putrid? Yes, it's basically the same horrendous record that Romney has and has always had... unless he's changed his position this week on this, like he tends to do on everything else. Here's Romney's slick, misleading attack:
The misleading part isn't about Obama; he's as terrible and corporatist as any Republican president has been in our lifetimes... just like Clinton was. The misleading part had to do with Romney's own record. When he was governor of Massachusetts he was an avid free trade advocate. In 2004 the state legislature passed a bill prohibiting Massachusetts contractors from outsourcing state work overseas. Romney not only opposed that, he vetoed the law. And more recently, when President Obama imposed a tariff to stop the dumping of cheap tires on the U.S. market-- something that has been working very well-- Romney was one of the loudest and most obnoxious opponents-- writing the policy of defending "American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics by repaying unions for their support of his campaign, but it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers. Protectionism stifles productivity."
Regardless of which side of this issue is your side, I think everyone can agree that Mitt Romney is on all sides-- as he is on every single issue that's ever come down the pike. He has got to be the most dishonest practitioner of a profession that is renowned for its notorious dishonesty.
And still Beltway conventional wisdom is that Romney is the only shot the Republican Party has to defeat Obama.
A broad theme has been emerging in our state by state Presidential polling over the last couple months: if the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney it's a toss up. And if they nominate anyone else it's 2008 all over again. Our newest Nevada numbers very much reinforce that trend.
Barack Obama took the Silver State by 12 points in his first run. But if he had to stand for reelection today he'd be in a very competitive race against Romney, leading only 47-46 in the state. Pit him against any of the other Republicans there though and the numbers look pretty similar to last time- 9 point advantages over Herman Cain and Rick Perry at 48-39 and 49-40 respectively, a 10 point lead over Michele Bachmann at 50-40, and a 12 point advantage over Sarah Palin at 51-39.
Over the last month we've had similar findings in:
-Pennsylvania, where Obama is tied with Romney but leads all other Republicans by at least 7 points.
-New Hampshire, where Romney leads Obama by 2 points but all other Republicans trails Obama by at least 7.
-Virginia, where Obama leads Romney by 4 but has at least a 9 point advantage over all the rest of the GOP hopefuls.
-Michigan, where Obama has a 5 point advantage over Romney but at least a 15 point lead over everyone else.
-North Carolina, where the disparity between Romney and the rest of the Republicans isn't quite as great. Obama and Romney are tied while Obama leads all the others by at least 3 points.
Taken all together it makes you ask the question: do Republicans have to nominate Romney to defeat Obama next year?