Thursday, August 23, 2012

Last Call

And the giant pile-on on Mitt Romney's really awful month continues as John Cook over at Gawker has gotten his hands on nearly 1,000 pages of Bain Capital documents, detailing Mitt's mysterious quarter-billion dollar fortune.

Today, we are publishing more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities in which Romney had invested—at minimum—more than $10 million as of 2011 (that number is based on the low end of ranges he has disclosed—the true number is almost certainly significantly higher). Almost all of them are affiliated with Bain Capital, the secretive private equity firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and ran until his departure in 1999 (or 2002, depending on whom you ask). Many of them are offshore funds based in the Cayman Islands. Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his wealth, the exotic tax-avoidance schemes available only to the preposterously wealthy that benefit him, the unlikely (for a right-wing religious Mormon) places that his money has ended up, and the deeply hypocritical distance between his own criticisms of Obama's fiscal approach and his money managers' embrace of those same policies. They also show that some of the investments that Romney has always described as part of his retirement package at Bain weren't made until years after he left the company.

Fortune magazine's Dan Primack is already calling the documents "worthless" (really, they read all 950 pages, they promise!)  but as the New Yorker's Amy Davidson points out:

Here is reason number one thousand and forty for releasing your tax returns if you’re running for President of the United States: if you don’t, someone will try to reverse engineer them, using whatever scraps of paper are available, until they have built some sort of structure that may, in your mind, look like a clumsy papier-mâché version of your well-ordered financial house—and you will have no cause to complain; they will be performing a public service.

Mitt Romney took too long to define himself on his own terms because he couldn't do so, as the whole Todd Akin meltdown proves.  Details destroy Romney.  He counted on being an unknown, a Rorschach test to everyone, so that everyone would see what they wanted to in him.  That's what makes the Obama team counterattack so powerful:  it doesn't have to be the absolute truth, just enough of it to be politically useful to Obama.  The only thing Romney can do at this point is release more details...and the devil in those details are far worse than anything that his opponent can come up with.
His opponent and the media have now done so for him.  It only gets worse for him here.  All he can do is continue to lie about Obama weakening welfare requirements and supporting infanticide.

That's literally all he has left with 75 days to go.

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