Friday, June 22, 2012

Romney: “Outsourcer-in-Chief”?

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President Obama and his campaign staff clearly see an opportunity in today’s report in The Washington Post, which recalls how the people at Mitt Romney’s old company, Bain Capital, were “pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components.” Which is why, earlier today, they released the video embedded above, showing deputy campaign director Stephanie Cutter outlining the basics of the Romney outsourcing story.

But this news, writes Democratic strategist Mike Lux, “has even deeper implications than many people realize.
Being in this kind of business when the vast majority of Americans are so upset by out-sourcing is just one of Mitt Romney’s deep dark secrets that he has been trying to hide, and helps to powerfully make the case that Romney’s entire business career has been fundamentally at odds with the interests of the American middle class.

The other thing this news does is that it very likely ends the debate within the Democratic Party as to whether it is okay to talk about Bain Capital’s business practices. There are still going to be Wall Street Democrats squeamish about beating up on this kind of wealthy financial company, but to defend a company that was literally a pioneer in helping American companies out-source jobs would be incredibly unpopular. Given how deeply unhappy voters are about out-sourcing, given how it generally is one of the top issues mentioned by voters in any poll I have seen over the last decade, it would be political malpractice not to attack Bain and Romney over this news, and any honest Democrat will have to understand and acknowledge that fact.

The reason this story goes so deep is that Romney’s entire political strategy is based on carrying blue-collar white voters very heavily. Obama won 53 percent of the vote in 2008 while losing white working-class voters by 18 percent. Even if you assume Obama doesn’t do quite as well turning out his base voters, to win this election Romney will have [to] win that white working-class demographic by at least 62 [to] 38 percent. Given how big a deal out-sourcing is to blue-collar workers, this story becomes close to a deal-breaker for Romney.
Remarkably, Republican Romney isn’t disputing the facts of the Post’s report; his defense is that the press is employing the wrong word for what Bain did, saying it’s “offshoring” not “outsourcing.” When a veteran office-seeker like Romney can do no better than to argue semantics, you know his hand is pretty damn weak.

The Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen has more to say about Romney’s potential as America’s “outsourcer-in-chief” here.

READ MORE:Mitt Romney Slides into Panicked Free Fall over Outsourcing Claims,” by Jason Easley (PoliticusUSA).

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