Sunday July 22nd, 2012
I was skeptical when I first heard it. And it soon became evident that when Condoleezza Rice was mentioned by supposedly informed sources as a likely vice presidential choice for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, this was a clear case of misdirection. This is what magicians do. They create a diversion to get the audience to look away so they won’t see how the trick is done. But in politics, instead of sleight of hand, misdirection usually involves actual deception.
The former Secretary of State is an African American and a woman- a member of two groups Romney could certainly use some help with. So at first glance she may have seemed like a plausible choice. But Ms. Rice is pro-choice and therefore unacceptable to the Tea Party. And she is also not remembered fondly by foreign policy hardliners who accuse her of trying to soften up President George W. Bush during his second term. In fact, Rice was never a serious candidate for the number two spot on the ticket. Dropping her name was misdirection- to divert the attention of the presidential campaign away from Romney’s career as a venture capitalist and his refusal to divulge his complete tax returns.
But as the Obama campaign has kept hammering at these issues the Romney camp’s desire to turn the page became ever more urgent. An announcement of the actual vice presidential running mate for Romney may be moved up - perhaps by the time you read this column we’ll all know. But unless it is Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin, I am not sure even a vice presidential nominee will be enough to change the conversation. (Incidentally, I was intrigued to hear that when John McCain was asked recently why he had chosen Palin over Romney for his Veep nominee in 2008, McCain reportedly said, “because she was the better candidate.”)
This past week numerous prominent conservative Republicans - from columnist George Will to Texas Governor Rick Perry- have criticized Romney for failing to fully disclose his tax returns. Romney’s adamant refusal to release more than a year or two of returns has merely fueled speculation that he really has something to hide. Unsubstantiated reports are swirling that in recent years he paid no income tax at all. And another, more damaging rumor is that he somehow put tens of millions of dollars into an individual retirement account (IRA) which according to some tax specialists would be illegal.
Yet rather than disclosure, the Romney campaign has turned again to misdirection- only this time with a darker side. This past week, former
The same day, candidate Romney himself described President Obama’s economic policies as “foreign.” And as expected, these racially tinged bows to the “ birthers” had them coming out of the woodwork once again. One of the first to re-appear was Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arapaio whose ”investigators” previously declared that there was probable cause to believe the president’s birth certificate was a computer generated forgery. Sheriff Joe now says his “volunteer posse” is certain that it is fraudulent.
The sheriff’s posse notwithstanding,
"President Obama was born in
Actually, toward the end of the coming week, Mr. Romney will get a break when he travels to
Mr. Romney will be in
Mr. Romney, who has known Mr. Netanyahu for many years, doesn’t really need historical references for his unquestioning support for the prime minister’s policies. Romney has no apparent reservations about an Israeli attack on
Obviously Romney and Netanyahu will be discussing
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