Chains Reaction: Romney Missing the Point on Biden Remark
On Tuesday Vice President Joe Biden offered the following to his audience at a Danville, Virginia campaign event:
[H]e's going to let the big banks again write their own rules - unchain Wall Street! They're going to put y'all back in chains. (original emphasis)
The Romney campaign is alleging that the remark is inappropriate given its obvious charge of racism. But they're largely missing the point.
1. Yes, the statement has clear racial overtones. Well, they're not even overtones. The racial theme comprises the basic melody of the statement. But who cares? Few want to hear the Romney campaign whine about the Obama campaign's new lows. No one who doesn't already agree with Romney is going to rally to his side because of this. Especially since Romney murdered Joe Soptic's wife in cold blood.
2. If Romney decided to use a twang and hurl even a spitball into Obama's zip code, the media would crucify him. But Obama and Biden (not to mention Hillary) use the affected drawl as a slander calling card. While it clearly makes the whole thing more entertaining, when is someone in the President's party going to call them on the ridiculousness of this habit? Don't claim you're "offended." Just admit how silly it is.
3. I have no proof that Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, is smart, but, if everyone in the beltway media says it is so, then it must be true. But what good is intelligence if you have trouble looking yourself in the mirror. I'm not sure what her moral baseline was before, but as the campaign goes on it seems as though the sands of Ms. Cutter's character are running through the hourglass. After some particularly striking acts of dishonesty over the last few weeks and months, she claims that "We have no problem with those comments." Really? How can anyone not see anything wrong with them? A person with such a love affair with untruth cannot be deemed "smart" or "intelligent." Mental horsepower plus dishonesty equals "guile." So, Ms. Cutter is properly "cunning" at best.
4. If you think the President will replace Biden as VP, you're crazy. Wait, scratch that. You're high on drugs. Not marijuana or ecstasy. I'm talking hardcore drugs like meth or heroine or crack. In the wake of Biden's comments some commentators have argued about the merits of the President showing some grace here. While such an ability to admit mistakes has moral and notable political benefits, one must slip on the shoes of the Machiavellian to understand the calculus here. Not only is it way too late for a change, but most importantly admission of mistakes erodes the aura of he who is in power. Given that at any given time only a sliver of the population is actually following politics, the better policy ex-morality is to simply ignore the charge. A complicit media on top of that makes this a no-brainer.
5. The irony of this administration arguing that Romney wants to put anyone in chains is far beyond hilarious. Rather, it is quite disturbing. The tactic employed here by Biden -- and, implicitly, Obama -- is to paint their opponents with the colors that most resemble their own. It is difficult for any reasonable person to argue that Democrats favor more freedom than Republicans. The two sides may disagree on what the implications of freedom are at certain levels, but history and rhetoric alike are fairly clear on who desires more liberty. Yet Biden is arguing that Romney/Ryan favor control, government or otherwise, of supposedly hated sectors of the population. All of the worst autocrats and megalomaniacs have employed this same tactic: whatever you are at your core, claim the other guy is that thing.
6. Romney/Ryan won't say it like this, but we should "unchain Wall Street." What exactly is the current chain of Dodd-Frank protecting us from? More loans for small businesses? Bigger credit lines to bankrupted city governments? A better IPO market? If you are trying to prevent a residential housing bubble, well done. But newsflash, Joe, you're five years too late. While there are certainly things wrong with Wall Street, keeping them on a chain will only make things worse.
7. Finally, the Romney campaign should move past the preposterous racism charge and ask Vice President Biden where their plan is. Call the President's bluff. He's going all in, and he's out of idea cards.