Here’s What’s Wrong With The Latest Bain Ad

Fox and Friends has lowered more American IQs than lead-laden paint, and this morning was no exception.

Brian Kilmeade had the honor of introducing the controversial Priorities USA super PAC ad that attempts to tenuously connect Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital bidness with the death of the wife of a Kansas City steelworker, who definitely was a victim of Bain’s vulture capitalism.

Kilmeade introduced the video clip by calling it the,

Mitt-Romney-killed-my wife-and-gave-her-cancer ad

Now, one expects that sort of thing on Fox, where hysteria has a home and is used to keep the right-wing tribes all fired up for the November offensive, which they hope will produce the pigmented scalp of President Obama.

But Kilmeade’s comment demonstrates exactly why the Priorities USA ad was an ill-conceived venture. First, let’s look at the ad—which as far as I know hasn’t been aired yet—just in case you haven’t seen the entire thing:

As you can see for yourself, the ad did not explicitly claim Romney or Bain “killed” anybody. But it did implicitly link Romney to the unfortunate cancer death of Ilyona Rae Soptic, unfortunately by compressing the timeline involved. Mrs. Soptic died years after her husband lost his Bain-related job and insurance.

Priorities USA honcho Bill Burton defended the ad this way:

The point of this ad is to tell the story of one guy, Joe Soptic, and the impact on his life that happened for years, and to this day, as a result of decisions that Mitt Romney made. This is one of a series of ads in which we talk about the very long lasting impacts that Mitt Romney’s decision had on these communities, on these individuals and their families.

Yeah, except that’s not what we are talking about now. We are not talking about the very real effects that Bain’s bidness model had on folks, their families, and their communities. We are talking about the “Mitt-Romney-killed-my wife-and-gave-her-cancer ad,” an ad that can be easily refuted and easily caricatured as overreach.

In fact, such unseemly overreach is exactly what the other side does—you know, like “Obama wants to destroy America” and other such things—and it is contrary to Obama’s brand, which is exactly why he should himself declare the ad unworthy of this campaign.  Indeed, he should declare it as an unfair attack on Romney and completely separate himself from it.

That way, we all can concentrate on things that can be definitely connected to Romney, like this:

Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads

That headline is no joke. Follow the link and find out the details. But given the unnecessary controversy over the “Mitt-Romney-killed-my wife-and-gave-her-cancer ad,” how many folks will simply tune this one out? How many will tune out all of the stuff related to Bain?

Yet all of the issues surrounding Bain Capital—including Romney’s willingness to do business with oligarchs tied to death squads—reveal something important about who Romney is. And since he hides so much from us, it’s just about all we’ve got to explain him to the undecided.

And that’s why Democrats shouldn’t screw up by deploying too-clever-by-half campaign commercials that end up making us look as hysterical as Fox and Friends and other Tea Party Republicans.

10 Comments

  1. 1. Given the short attention span of the average voter, the Soptic ad is over the top and you are right to condemn it. Too bad the other side won’t show similar restraint.
    2. The Huff Post article is damning, but it’s lengthy overkill. No right-wing minds will be changed by mere facts when the investment of money is at issue. Bidness and morality are solidly partitioned in Bain Capital’s version of the real world.

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    • No right-wing minds, Jim, but perhaps a few uncommitted folks who tune in late to the game. As far as restraint, I’m afraid we ain’t see nothin’ yet.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  August 9, 2012

    Oh so typical, this “new” accusation against Bain and Romney.

    Correct me if I am wrong but the “link” takes us back to before even “Iran-Contra” days in Latin America. I suppose a “new” round from the left is that Romney and Bain violated U.S. law by funneling such money to right wing rebels as well, right? Let’s run old Olly North tapes and see what we can find, maybe? Na, his “secretary did it” right?

    But “at least” no one’s wife was KILLED, at least directly by Bain or so the EC claims. But the implication is that “many lives” were destroyed by that voracious organization, right?

    I wonder how many lives were made more prosperous by Bain as well, however? Should we go back to 1982 and count up the “winners and losers” financially as a result of Bain’s investment achievements, good for some, bad for others but overall, ????

    Remember folks, in 1982 the “world was turning” rather fast for American financial, world for that matter, strength and prosperity. We were moving out of the inflationary Carter days and into a period of growth that among other things later resulted in four years of a balanced budget in America.

    Look at GPD in say 1980 and fast forward to say 2006 and consider the growth in GDP during those years, overall. Then tell me where the financial resources came from to achieve that growth, by and large?

    I suggest it was NOT simply American blue collar manufacturing that created growth in GDP in all those years. Sure it helped, but I do not see it as the real driver of such growth. Bain and many other financial investment firms did a LOT to create the financial underpinnings of such growth, much to the distain of “communists” or even socialists.

    For sure progressives call that “trickle down growth” or even maybe some kind of false growth as the “right” people did not benefit from it. But I did not hear many complaining about economic growth during those years. Did you?

    The “booming 1990’s” were not created out of thin air in my view. Nor were the causes of the Great Recession created strictly by a GOP administration as the EC will try to argue. Our current and past economic conditions are a result of AMERICAN progress or degradation caused by all AMERICANS, not just one political party or a “business” always doing “good” (or “bad”) things alone.

    Again go back to just 1980 and consider Microsoft, Apple, even “bain” a little bain, and many others (private corporations) that generated huge economic prosperity in America for at least 25 years (until around 2005 or so or a little later or sooner, maybe).

    Then go back a “zero out” any “corporate contributions” to that growth and see where we would be today!!! I say thank God we had Steve Jobs, Gates and yes a bunch of “smaller Romneys” to help stimulate that 25 year period of American prosperity.

    And you progressives would give your eye teeth to bandy about such growth numbers in this current election would you not? But all you can say now is either “Bush did it” or “stick with us” in hopes, not reality of better things to come!

    Anson

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    • It is absolutely ridiculous for you to group Romney in with Jobs and Gates. Romney didn’t invent or produce a goddamn thing, but he did make a lot of money for himself and his investors in morally, if not legally, dubious ways. Your ignorance about this subject, and celebration of Romney’s prowess, though, is all too typical of folks impressed by someone using their brains (and other folks’ money) to manipulate the system to make a profit, without contributing a single new product to the mix. It’s one thing to get rich producing computers or operating systems, it’s another to get rich scavenging the capitalist countryside, laying off workers and jeopardizing their pensions through bankruptcy and debt, then using the government to only partially save those pensions.

      That’s what your capitalist hero did in Kansas City.

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  3. Duane: I must respectfully disagree with “Obama is BETTER than this and should denounce the new Romney & Bain killed my wife ad.” You know why? Because I am frankly sick to death of the Democrats being “better than that” or “above such lows and more moral than that” etc. I am sick to death of the Democrats’ NICENESS and “let’s play fair approach” in the face of Right-wing blatant lies, cruelty, meanspeak, below the belt PERSONAL attacks on every Democrat or liberal AND THEIR CHILDREN and their pets! I am sick to death of the Democratic impotent civility and soft-spoken, tread lightly manner when faced with the incessant negative campaigning, constant lies and wholly made up “untruths” slung by the Right. Sadly, the ONLY thing the American electorate tune into right now is vitriolic negative campaigning. The candidates who came out on top in Tuesday’s Primary were the ones who ran the most NEGATIVE campaign ads here in MO (and elsewhere). In an IDEAL world Diane- sure, Obama and the Democrats are “better than” that commercial and we are kind & decent people who believe in honesty and integrity and hold fast to our beliefs that SOME THINGS (a candidate’s spouse & children, for example) SHOULD BE OFF-LIMITS for the sake of common DECENCY. But these aren’t IDEAL times or circumstances, Duane, and until & unless Dems are willing to “suspend their naivety and idealism” and start slinging the mud, half-truths and HATE on the level the Right-wing culture is DETERMINED to exist on – we will continental to be the “also ran” losing party in elections! The right wing declares “Obama a MENACE TO SOCIETY and American principles” and our side’s reaction is? Soft-spoken Harry Reid says in a barely audible whisper “That’s just not nice.” Where is the outrage and counter attack? Nowhere – because we INSIST on being the party who is BETTER THAN THAT! Eff that, folks! It’s time (way past time) to start fighting fire with fire, match their lies with bigger lies and jump full speed into the mud and start slinging. Every poll shows that now that the Republican primaries are over and Romney is the presumptive nominee – America has now TUNED OUT because the vitriol, the attacks and the “make that guy look worse than me” portion of the program is OVER. And it SHOULD BE just beginning! Why were the REPUBLICANS (Newt, Santorum & Perry etc) better at making Romney LOOK BAD and as absurd as he is than we, the Democrats, are? Because we keep insisting on a well-mannered, everyone play nice, IDEAL approach to November’s election. And as long as we do that while the Reich Wing engages in below the belt politics – WE LOSE. The Republicans rely upon our good nature, our idealism and our apparent inability to launch an effective defense or offense by way of negative campaigning to win. Which is exactly why we got CLOBBERED in the 2010 mid-terms. Time to stand up and fight fire with BIGGER FIRE before our niceties and idealism hand us 8 years of Bushney. America simply cannot afford that!

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    • Greyson,

      Oh, I totally get where you are coming from. My emotions trend the same way, especially after what was done to John Kerry in 2004 (the first Democratic presidential candidate I ever voted for) and after what has been done to Barack Obama for the past four years.

      Still, I think our side can fight back hard without resorting to something that only makes us look as ugly as they are. I gave an example in the piece regarding the right-wing oligarchs and the death squads in Central America. That stuff can be easily connected to Romney and Bain, as opposed to obliquely suggesting that he not only was responsible for a woman’s death, but that he just doesn’t give a damn about it.

      You wrote,

      The candidates who came out on top in Tuesday’s Primary were the ones who ran the most NEGATIVE campaign ads here in MO (and elsewhere).

      I can’t speak for elsewhere, but here in Missouri I can tell you that John Brunner’s ads were by the far the most negative I saw. And they were against fellow Republicans! And he lost!

      In any case, again you wrote,

      The Republicans rely upon our good nature, our idealism and our apparent inability to launch an effective defense or offense by way of negative campaigning to win.

      I agree with you to a large extent on this one, especially when you look at what is happening in Ohio regarding the extended voting opportunities in the various counties. Democrats on those election boards (each party has two members in each county) routinely vote to expand voting times in all counties, and Republicans consent to it only in heavily Republican counties. They refuse to have extended voting in heavily Democratic counties. A tie is broken by the state’s Republican secretary of state and it always goes to the Republicans! Thus, Republican counties see expanded voting and Democratic counties don’t.  This is a perfect example of what you say.

      As far as the midterms, I agree that many Democrats ran for cover and failed to stand up for our principles. They paid for it. But many of them paid for it by standing up for the health care bill when it counted—when they voted on it—which is principle in action. We shouldn’t forget that.

      Finally, Obama is fighting back, and hard. And what’s more, he’s effectively fighting back, if the recent polls are any indication. You have to admit that the branding of Romney, which began with Gingrich and Perry, has been done very adroitly this summer. As I said, the polls seem to show that, as his unfavorability rating is quite high. That ain’t nothing, my friend, especially given the anemic economic recovery, which would have mortally wounded nearly any president in recent memory, but which so far has not proven fatal for Obama.

      And I attribute part of the reason for that to the fact that folks by and large like him and seem to believe he has their best interests at heart. And I would hate for him to lose that standing with people by becoming a mirror image of Romney leading the ungodly right-wing smear machine.

      Duane

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      • Duane – first let me apologize for the fact that my Dumb-phone’s “auto-correction speller” insists upon changing your name to DIANE from Duane – so very annoying – as are the inappropriate words it decides to arbitrarily replace without my consent! Please forgive this machine for it knows not what it does!
        And I guess “most negative ads” IS a matter of perspective. I personally thought Todd Aiken’s ads were some of the most reprehensible of this entire campaign season and HE won.
        Furthermore, while I am absolutely
        CRUSHED that JMo (Jeanette Mott Oxford) did NOT win in the 5th District I was glad to see Robin Wright Jones LOSE. The ethics and financial scandals surrounding that woman were enough to make me hurl – the day she went on NPR (local KWMU) and said “That (congressional) seat has always been black and must not EVER be held by anyone NOT black was the day I threw all of my time & money at JMo – who incidentally wanted to represent ALL of the people of the 5th District – not just the black people as RWjones announced in her intentions!) Can you imagine the SCANDAL that would erupt if some white candidate said that “South St. LOUIS has always been a WHITE seat and can only ever be held by a WHITE? Furthermore, JMo ran one of the most clean, honorable and integrity-driven campaigns I have witnessed in modern politics – and she LOST. Granted, she lost to a Democratic black woman so it isn’t technically a Dem loss but still. Nasheed doesn’t even technically live in the district she just won. And she was determined to be much “meaner and win-at-any-cost” than JMo was. So, I still maintain that character assassination and mud-slinging is the WINNING order of the day.
        And sadly, a large percentage of the electorate do not understand ‘Bain and derivatives nor death squads in Central America BUT they can understand Bain causing job loss which caused a loss of health insurance which caused a cancer death because sadly, FAR TOO MANY of us have experienced that in our own families since 2008. And Romney has labelled the new commercial we reference as “a new deplorable low” (or something very similar to those words) which to me is A WIN! Score One (finally!) for the GOOD guys!

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        • Greyson,

          I don’t know that much about the dynamics of the race you mention in St. Louis (other than a quick survey of it), but I do know that it is sad that only about 20,000 folks decided its outcome. Turnout in much of Democratic parts of the state was low, but that’s because there wasn’t much reason for Dems to go to the polls in most places. The 5th District was different and should have seen 50% or above in turnout. Sad.

          Second, I agree with you 100% that negative campaigning is successful and often produces the winning candidate. Obama did a lot of it in 2008, but stopped well short of your “character assassination and mud-slinging.” One can point out the failings of the other candidate and his beliefs without an all-out assault on his character and that’s what the Obama campaign did that year.

          I think Mitt Romney is a creepy guy in a lot of ways, all the way down to his sacred scivvies, but I don’t think he intends to harm the country or further wound what’s left of the middle class. As much as I think his policies are bad for America, I don’t think he is the incarnation of evil and I don’t think it would be the end of America if he won. Life would just get much more difficult for a lot of vulnerable folks.

          I do think he has wrongly–given the shape our country has been in fiscally–gone way out of his way to avoid paying taxes even if what he did was not illegal, but again I don’t think he acted that way because he hates America. Was putting money in offshore accounts just to avoid tax liability unpatriotic? In my view, yes, but I think such activity reflects how much folks like Romney hate paying taxes generally. You see, they just don’t value government the way we do and are not happy about having to pay for it. They love making money and keeping most of it from the government more than they love paying for bridges, cops, and, God forbid, food stamps. These folks really do think they achieved success all on their own and thus they don’t owe a cent to anyone. It makes me sick but there are a lot of folks out there who believe that. Ayn Rand is often their hero.

          Finally, I concede you may be right about the effectiveness of the latest Bain ad in turning the low-information voter against Romney. But at the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror and ask after all this is over: What have we become?

          Duane

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      • King Beauregard

         /  August 10, 2012

        That last paragraph of yours … ? Damn right.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  August 10, 2012

    Again, my point is made above, at least in my view.

    People are arguing about which side’s ads are “worse”. Might I suggest that they both STINK, by and large.

    This blog has claimed the high ground in morality, sensitivities to the downtroden, etc., etc. for years now. There is “another blog” locally that does the same for the “right” and for damn sure neither side “gives” an inch, one way or the other. In fact as well the two writers either ignore of ban one another!!

    Such is American politics today and getting worse. You think it is bad now, well just watch for the next 3 months, particulary the MO Senate campaign ads.

    Watch what transpires on OUR airwaves in the coming months and Claire will be shown as another Karl Marx or Akin as another Hitler, for almost sure. Well is either representation the real truth?

    My guess is that some commenter on this blog will AGREE that representing Akin as another “Hitler” is accurate.

    But back to the above retort from Duane to me over Romney “never producing anything”. Are you kidding me. He and Bain INVESTED money, real money in companies that in turn produced and sold “things”. People in those companies by and larged PRODUCED things that were later bought by others. Profits were made, reinvested and the overall economic growth went up.

    By and large the companies in which Bain invested money went on to become PRODUCiNG and thus better companies. A few of them, despite the investment and new business direction failed as well. But add them all up and the ones succeeding far out weighed the ones failing. How do I know that? Because Bain and its investment strategy grew and grew and grew over time.

    People, real people,prospered as a result as well. And for that achievement Romney is racked over the coals for “not caring”!!!

    Romney at least cared enough to “send the very best” in amounts of money invested, top notch new managers to invigorate a failing business and lots of intense and very hard work and stress over decades of running such businesses, in my view.

    And then we can debate his contribution to the Olympics as well I suppose but I doubt you will read such herein or his leadership in a heavily Blue state during his tenure as Governor as well. I would love to see that kind of leadership from Obama if he had 85% of “HIS” legislature from the other party!!!

    Anson

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