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At least Republican and Romney Surrogates Don’t Say Stop Attacking Obama

Despite the fact that Willard Mitt Romney has never been the darling of the Republican Party, despite the fact that many top Republicans have signaled their support for his candidacy only reluctantly, despite the fact that evangelical Republicans view their 2012 Republican standard bearer as being antithetical to their own beliefs, you will never see surrogates of the former Massachusetts governor or Republicans get on television and be critical of his criticism of Barack Obama.  

I have never understood the propensity of Democrats, while ostensibly attempting to win support for other Democrats, to engage in publically attacking and beating down their candidate and then expect to attract support for their team.

Recently, a number of Democrats have appeared on television to  undermine the effectiveness of the President’s  campaign  to examine Romney’s claim that he is better suited to fix the economy, based on his tenure as head of the Massachusetts private equity firm Bain Capital.  

The President sought to shed light on some of the practices of Bain Capital in attempting to prove that Romney’s role was not simply to create jobs, but instead to create a profit for himself and his partners. The late Senator Edward Kennedy had also pursued the same course of action, during his 1994 Senatorial campaign against Romney.

Republicans, fearful that the spotlight on Bain could damage Romney and perhaps cause him to lose the presidential race, as it had contributed to his defeat against Kennedy, immediately called foul on the Obama campaign and painted Obama as being against capitalism by his attack upon the business of private equity.  This was to be expected, because Republicans were of course, protecting their candidate. What was not entirely expected, however, was the spectacle of prominent Democrats racing to join in the criticism of the President.

Democrats from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who referred to the President’s focusing on Romney’s relationship with Bain as  “nauseating”, to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell who praised Booker and stated on behalf of the New Jersey Mayor that people in politics should “tell the truth” and characterized the President’s campaign as “disappointing”.

Although his was not an effusive slam against the President, it was nevertheless galling to hear Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick say on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

I think the Bain strategy has been distorted in some of the public discussion about it, I mean Bain is a perfectly fine company; they’ve got a role in the private economy. And I’ve got a lot of friends there and on both sides of the aisle.
There are other Democrats who have also attacked the President for his examining of Romney’s record at Bain, one cannot help but wonder if they felt the same way about Senator Kennedy’s campaign, but for a nice big icing on the cake, one has to look to former President Bill Clinton’s appearance this past week on CNN’s "Pierce Morgan Tonight", as he gave an interview to guest host, and Hollywood Movie Mogul, Harvey Weinstein. Clinton’s comments were so inuring to the benefit of Romney that one had to wonder if he was sincerely supporting the Democratic president.

On an episode of MSNBC’s Hardball this past Friday, host Chris Matthews interviewed Rendell and lampooned the former Pennsylvania governor and Bill Clinton’s critique of the President and apparent assistance to Romney.

Matthews (to Rendell):

Matthews: Now you were in the news today…no you didn’t Bill Clinton made the news, but he was marching to your tune saying don’t go after Bain Capital, don’t go after the Massachusetts experience of Romney, play up--in other words--defend your own record, build on your own record, don’t go negative. Are you sticking with that? As the former President—well let’s hear it—Let’s hear Bill Clinton who can speak for himself, he took an axe to that whole thing when he was out there with Harvey Weinstein the other night, let’s watch him:
Clinton (on Romney/Bain criticism on CNN): I don’t think that we ought to get into that position where we say this is bad work, this is good work. There is no question that, in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who has been governor and had a sterling business career, crosses the qualification threshold.
Did I just hear right? Did former President Clinton just say that based upon Romney’s “good work” at Bain, he has met the qualifications for being president? Did he just totally undermine the Obama campaign? As Chris Matthews said, “took an axe” to it?

Rendell insisted that what was just said was “good politics” because since Clinton did not criticize Romney on Bain and instead praised the former Massachusetts governor, he (Clinton) would be in a much better position to attack Romney better. Has anyone sent this memo to Republican surrogates, and advise them to praise Barack Obama?

Matthews then moved on to the subject of Donald Trump. Surely, after Trump’s continued hateful xenophobic campaign against an American born president, Clinton would never be able to utter a single word of praise for the media pollutant, but I guess it is wise not to assume.

Clinton (on Trump in CNN interview):
Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me, we’re all New Yorkers, and I like him and I love playing gulf with him, but, the evidence is pretty clear, that President Obama was born in Hawaii. This whole election should not be about these side issues.
Matthews: Well, there he is giving the President the benefit of the doubt, governor. He is saying ‘The evidence is pretty clear.’ (Matthews unable to control his laughter)  would you say this was a strong endorsement of his fellow citizen at the fact that he was native born? The evidence is pretty clear that Donald Trump might be wrong (Matthews continues to laugh). I’m just teasing but it is a strange way of phrasing for a very articulate fellow like Bill Clinton.
What is really going on here? I have often struggled to fully understand Democrats, and I guess I always will.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Just my opinion, but (10+ / 0-)

    part of Bill's problem is that he cannot surrender the notion that he is  the leader of all Democrats and the most prominent and important of them, and cannot bear the thought that Obama and not he is president and the center of attention. And that Obama in fact won the primary over his spouse/surrogate.  I have always had the thought that he uses Hillary's situation as a surrogate for his own, so that he wins if she runs and wins in the future. He would be the least silent First Spouse in history if that happened. And if he can hurt Obama in an election year, he will.

    I find this demeaning to Hillary Clinton, frankly, who has her own skills and strengths, and did not acquire any of them by virtue of marrying him and staying married to him. And I have never been much of a Hillary fan.

  •  Awful (10+ / 0-)

    Democratic surrogates have been just God awful thus far as they seem to all make a positive comment about Willard inevitably that is trumpeted by the right. It is mind boggling.

    I think some of this is on Obama though in the sense that he has so seldom used surrogates during his Presidency that most are going through this with him for the first time.

    That was his strategy and he is entitled to it, but the lack of repeat experience for many of them doing this to support the president is causing some of the growing pains.

  •  The problem is that these (16+ / 0-)

    Dems have been told by their Corporate masters to change the subject or no more money for you. Point blank period...the end.  Those in congress who are truly for the American public and those who are serving their corporate masters are being exposed.

  •  I don't know (4+ / 0-)

    I was so disturbed by the job numbers that I avoided all news on Friday, so I missed all that. I usually watch Hardball too. Thanks for posting.

    It's disappointing and perplexing. But Ed Rendell (and Bill Clinton for that matter) have never been known as big Obama supporters.

    Arizona: Remember the good old days, when we were just known as the Grand Canyon State?

    by AZ RedWingsFan on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:35:52 PM PDT

    •  Rendell is constantly on Morning Joe criticizing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, KayCeSF, Uncle Moji

      and even laughing at the President....

      •  Rendell backed the losing horse in 2008 (0+ / 0-)

        and backed Bill (Hillary) Clinton in his usual "I'm a smart guy, you're too dumb to know that you're just wrong to support Obama" way, he's a thin skinned sore loser.

        Hillary Clinton would have made a better President than Bill Clinton.  She might get her chance in 2016, but she needs to dump Bill (and his hanger-ons like Rendell) as her primary adviser.  It was he who installed the odious and wrong Mark Penn to run her campaign.  

        "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:15:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe Bill's stumping for Hillary... nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NedSparks, JoanMar

    "Ich bin ein Dachs!"

    by PvtJarHead on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:38:11 PM PDT

  •  Republicans have already trashed Rmoney (0+ / 0-)

    "Romney and Bain loot companies, leave behind broken families, broken towns."

    "It's the ultimate insult when Mitt Romney comes to South Carolina and tells you he feels your pain—because he caused it. [...] There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business. I happen to think that is indefensible."

    "Governor Romney has claimed to have created over 100,000 jobs at Bain, and people are wanting to know: is there proof of that claim? And was it U.S. jobs created for United States citizens? [...] And that's fair, that's not negative campaigning."

    "Governor Romney enjoys firing people."

    "While Mitt Romney was at Bain Capital, almost one out of every four companies they were involved with went bankrupt or went out of business."

    "Load up on guns, bring your friends. It's fun to lose and to pretend" - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:38:38 PM PDT

  •  This is mouthbreathing fake controversy. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChiTownDenny, Rich in PA, bevenro, VClib

    What's the next sentence?  I'll bet the house that it's a statement that Romney isn't suited for the White House and that Obama is clearly the better candidate.

    Please be more skeptical of the fake bullshit narratives that MSM shovels at you.

  •  I think there's a big difference between (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valion, Sophie Amrain, VClib

    attacking Bain as "evil" in and of itself, and attacking Mitt Romney.  That's the distinction all those people were making.

    I agree with the Democrats who said that there is nothing wrong with private equity, that neither Bain -- nor any other private equity company -- is evil.  Their role is to take money of investors, and find business investment opportunities, and structure them in a way that gives them the most return on their investment.  There is nothing inherently moral -- or immoral -- about that.  It's what business is about - the most return on investment.  Attacking Bain itself, and attacking the private equity model, as somehow inherently evil is, I think, over the top -- it is an attack on the fundamental concept that the role of a for-profit business is to generate a return on investment for its owners.  

    I also agree that attacking ROMNEY is fair game.  The role of Bain was to maximize the return on investment for its shareholders/investors, NOT to create jobs.  Romney apparently was very good at business -- maximizing return on investment for owners/investors.  I think that it looks pretty silly to deny that.  However, it's completely fair to make the point that this experience does not necessarily translate into being a good President (or not being a good President).

    •  so, by that logic, vampires are good for the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      coffin industry, therefore, vampires are good.

    •  oh bs (0+ / 0-)

      While you many think the role of business is simply to "maximize return on investment",  I would hope as a progresssive you would disagree if a corporation offshores jobs overseas where they can more freely pollute the environment is wrong.  

      I suppose if a corporation or venture capitalist does that, or , what the hell, decides it will "maximize the return on investment" by using child labor at 18 hours a day, that is ok with you?

      The problem is this mentality that has gained ascendancy in the United States in recent years that we should expect all businessmen to occupy themselves outside of a moral or ethical realm, and only work to "maximize the return on investment."  And if they do that. they get a pass from former Presidents and some so-called progressives themselves.

  •  If Obama were to lose, Hilary will have no chance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar, NedSparks

    If the Clintonites want to blow the party apart by being seen as helping upend President Obama, it will not benefit them.

    I think the stage is set for Secretary Clinton to make a robust and unambiguous defense of this administration.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:39:10 PM PDT

  •  Corporatists, one and all n/t (6+ / 0-)

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:39:45 PM PDT

  •  at times, it appears yet again.... (9+ / 0-)

    that democrats are trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    i, too, am dumbfounded.
    but i will stay hopeful that these kinds of remarks
    from booker, rendell and clinton, et al, don't hurt us in the end.

    but i seriously wonder why we often seem to be shooting at ourselves.

    i'll never for the life of me understand it.

    Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:42:02 PM PDT

  •  Bain Mutiny (7+ / 0-)
    Democrats have accepted more political donations than Republicans from executives at Bain Capital, complicating the left’s plan to attack Mitt Romney for his record at the private-equity firm.

    During the last three election cycles, Bain employees have given Democratic candidates and party committees more than $1.2 million. The vast majority of that sum came from senior executives.

    Republican candidates and party committees raised over $480,000 from senior Bain executives during that time period.

    When it comes to criticizing Bain specifically and Wall Street in general, some Democrats choose to hedge on their funders.

    “The only thing that happens in an instant is destruction... but everything else requires time." - First Lady Michelle Obama

    by FiredUpInCA on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:45:47 PM PDT

  •  well what do you expect, the Republicans know (7+ / 0-)

    what they stand for. The Democrats don't want you to know they are corporatists so they have to do this equivocating

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:47:48 PM PDT

  •  Ah, what the hell. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhubarb, WaryLiberal

    This is why I could never bring myself to vote for Clinton.

    Guy was always out for himself.

    "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:56:17 PM PDT

  •  I actually prefer the Democratic messaging (6+ / 0-)

    from the guy who didn't repeal Glass-Stegall and didn't sign NAFTA into law.

    Gov. Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience. He's not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts. He's saying, 'I'm a business guy. I know how to fix it.' And this is his business," Mr. Obama said.

    "And when you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is simply not to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot."

    "If your main argument for how to grow the economy is 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you're missing what this job is about," the president added.

    The President does not think there is anything wrong with the private equity business despite assertions and protestations from Corey Booker, Ed Rendell and former President Bill Clinton.

    He has a problem with Romney thinking that the skill set and mindset required to be successful in the private equity business and Bain in particular, inherently qualifies him to be a successful steward of our fragile, large, influential economy.

    Why Booker, Rendell and Bill Clinton have a problem with that is beyond me.

    Maybe they could make their case directly to the worker who was put out of a job by Bain:

    "To get up on national TV and brag about making jobs when he has destroyed thousands of people's careers, lifetimes, just destroying people," said Jack Cobb, one of the workers in the video.
    It is emotionally and politically tone-deaf to be championing the merits of private equity firms--when they are not under attack--in a post Occupy Wall Street, high unemployment environment.

    I seriously don't get why Booker, Rendell and the former President cannot see and hear how out-of-touch they are with the political moment.

    “The only thing that happens in an instant is destruction... but everything else requires time." - First Lady Michelle Obama

    by FiredUpInCA on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 03:16:03 PM PDT

  •  Clinton has been rather incontinent of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen, WaryLiberal

    his love for money for quite some time, now. He is also fond of making concessions when giving an argument, but this was just uncalled for. Clinton is probably hedging things so he can kiss President Romney's ass, too.

    Sometimes a .sig is just a .sig

    by rhubarb on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 03:20:29 PM PDT

  •  Clinton didn't say anything wrong (0+ / 0-)

    He is, on the contrary, much more careful than the prevailing Democratic narrative.  Bain didn't do anything illegal--it's one of those amoral rationalizing agents that late capitalism uses to get more efficient.  I wouldn't say it's necessary, but it had a functional role.  The question is whether someone who runs Bain should say that's the emblematic experience that should get him into the Presidency, and Bill Clinton answered that claim very soundly: of course it's not.  There are a lot of perfectly legal lines of work that you can do very well but still have no claim on the Presidency, and running an investment firm is one of them.  

    Dear conservatives: If instead of "marriage equality" we call it "voluntary government registration of committed homosexuals," are you on board?

    by Rich in PA on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 03:23:57 PM PDT

  •  I imagine the bottomline is: (0+ / 0-)

    President Obama has been called a socialist and a communist -- constantly -- since he's been in office. You hear it all the time in the media, even if just reporting on it.

    Attacking predatory capitalism (as in Bain) is seen as attacking capitalism. There is no nuance to that in America. It's not a good political strategy for Obama's team. They made a mistake.

    That doesn't mean that you don't have a point. Professional Democrats pretty much suck.

    According to the Tea Party, there are three kinds of Conservatives: "Those who can do math and those who can't."

    by Pluto on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 03:29:46 PM PDT

  •  This is the problem with the Democratic Party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen, Cat Servant, WaryLiberal

    In the U.S. the Democratic Party is simply the only alternative the reasonable working class individual has when compared with the Republican ideology. Leaders in the Democratic party know this and many times they say and do things that are most damaging to the cause of the working class American. In my lifetime I have witnessed this behavior and here are several things that I will cite as examples.

    The Republican domination of ALL of the BROADCAST media (except for NPR) in the nation was facilitated over a period of several decades by the Democratic Party. When pressured by concerned citizens alarmed at the right wing take over of AM radio stations across the country, the Democrats passed a weak indecisive "equal time " legislation that required local AM stations to provide some public service broadcasting time to local organizations to present news about community activities. Needless to say with no federal agency funded to monitor compliance it wasn't long before this law was completly ignored. Today a group  of right wing networks control all of the AM radio stations and they cover the entire U.S. with Republican propaganda. Several years ago a Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan brought a bill to the Senate floor that would have severely curbed Republican control of the broadcast airwaves,and NOT ONE Democratic Senator supported him in this effort . After an exhausting one man filabuster he gave up. IMHO I think this complete lack of support from the other members in the Democratic Senatorial Caucas for this important legislation is one reason why Senator Dorgan decided to retire.  

    The second example is Ted Kennedy. If Ted Kennedy, who knew that he was dying, resigned his seat - even as early as two weeks before his death- it would have given Massachusetts Governor Patrick the right to select a person (not neccesarily but expected Democrat) to complete Kennedy's term. Instead Teddy decided to "go out with his boots on", which then required a special election be held to elect either a Democrat or Republican to complete Kenndy's term after his death. This was Kennedy's  gift to Scott Brown, simply because it did not allow the Democratic Party to select the best candidate to effectively challenge the politically unknown republican. Martha Coakley most likely would not have won if the she had to compete for the nomination through the convention process as opposed to her win in the hastily called Democratic primary.  

    Finally, in regard to Bill Clinton. He was the person who first played the "race card" against Barack Obama during the hotly contested primary in South Carolina. Clinton was even successful in getting black billionaire Robert Johnson to make a series of blatantly racist statements about then Senator Obama during the Democratic presidential primary. Clinton made a number of racist remarks himself, completely undaunted at the time even though he was throughly condemmed by many people for his outrageous conduct. Clinton was excused at the time by many black leaders who used the lame excuse that Clinton was just acting as an overzealous husband. Some other black folks just went simple and started talking as if this was OK behavior for "America's first black president". Clinton has always harbored the idea that he was the "Saviour" of black America. That is why after he left the White House he set up his foundation offices in Harlem. IMHO Clinton still is smarting over Obama's success in winning the Presidency, which accounts for his Romney praising remarks.  


  •  For Democrats like Clinton their first loyalty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is to wall street, not their party.

    “The country tried everything Romney says, and it brought the economy to the brink of collapse”

    by Paleo on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 05:06:48 PM PDT

  •  "Follow the Money" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WaryLiberal, FiredUpInCA

    It all comes back to this, in the end, doesn't it?

    Bill Clinton was a Blue Dog who deregulated financial markets, who benefited from support from folks like Bain.  They will be his go - to contributors for whomever he chooses to back in 2016.  He will protect his own self interest, even if he screws Obama.  

    fyi Cory Booker, is another political opportunist, in 2002, his "Booker Team for Newark" got more than $450,000 from the financial sector, including $15,400 each from BAIN managing directors Bekenstein and Nunnelly.  Think Progress  This is isn't a question about accepting campaign donations from any generic private equity firms for Booker, but about a history of accepting BAIN money, specifically.

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:29:27 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for writing this up. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NedSparks, FiredUpInCA

    I have been fuming about it since hearing about it on Friday. It's the corporate wing of the democratic party throwing the 99% under the bus again. It was the last straw for me on Clinton. Heart for the people my ass.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:49:13 PM PDT

  •  I agree, but also --- (0+ / 0-)

    I agree, I too am dumbfounded and angered when i see these establishment Democrats like Booker and Cllinton and Rendell seemingly endorse what Romney did at Bain Capital.

    What Romney did is get rich off of sucking the life blood out of companies and firing their workers after he drained every last drop of blood out of them.  The fact that any Democrat can utter one bit of praise for these corporate vultures shows that the Democratic party has strayed from its principles and is no longer the guardian of labor or the poor and middle class.  

    There are many good Democrats out there, but it seems the bulk of the party today is socially liberal but hold very neoliberal pro-corporate views. That is why they find it hard to criticize Bain Capital.   They are the 1%.

    And all that being said,  I am also dumbfounded at how PRESIDENT OBAMA COULD NOT TAKE A FEW HOURS ON ONE DAY, AND SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF WISCONSIN!   I, for one, will remember this.

  •  Thanks for your diary Ned... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    great to see you my friend.  :-)

    “For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.” President Obama 1/24/12

    by BarackStarObama on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 09:14:42 PM PDT

  •  Bill Clinton is insanely brilliant, and he knows (0+ / 0-)

    exactly what he's saying. Have we forgotten all the dog-whistle comments that he made during the 2008 primaries already?

    •  maybe but not as smart as he thinks he is (0+ / 0-)

      When someone destroys the media, alienates labor, creates a financial crisis, destroys a political party and screws up a country he may be an Einstein, but he isn't as smart as he thinks he is.

  •  If he could run again, he'd win. (0+ / 0-)

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