THE CAPITALISM DEBATE
BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES
The president is now running an ad showing Mitt Romney tunelessly singing “America the Beautiful,” while the text on screen blasts him for shipping jobs to China, India and Mexico. … What matters is the ideology behind the ad: the assumption that Bain Capital, the private-equity firm founded by Romney, should not have invested in companies that hired workers abroad; the assumption that hiring Mexican or Indian workers is unpatriotic; the assumption that no worthy person would do what most global business leaders have been doing for the past half-century. This ad — and the rhetoric the campaign is using around it — challenges the entire logic of capitalism as it has existed over several decades. It’s part of a comprehensive attack on the economic system Romney personifies.
THE POWER OF ANONYMITY
NEW YORK TIMES
Republicans have been the main beneficiaries of corporate and independent spending sprees. The party’s lock-step opposition to letting voters see who writes the big checks is an embarrassment to Congress. Opponents are crying that disclosure violates donors’ privacy and favors unions. This is election-year nonsense to give cover to the aggressively partisan groups that pose as “social welfare” organizations but tip the campaign scales heavily with stealth financing. … Republicans turned their backs, including John McCain, once the great champion of campaign finance reform who has been predicting that “huge scandals” will inevitably flow from Citizens United. Voters concerned about the big-money distortion of politics now know precisely who put the issue quietly to bed.
BY DANA MILBANK
Retroactive retirement! It was a brilliant formulation, perhaps the greatest addition to the political lexicon since “no controlling legal authority.”…In practice, retroactivity is not quite so simple. If it were, Sarah Palin would still be an obscure governor, Anthony Weiner wouldn’t have had a Twitter account, and John Edwards wouldn’t have hired a campaign videographer. More potent than retroactivity is the principle of preemption: Defining your opponent before he can define himself. And for once, Democrats are doing this extremely well. The Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s outsourcing, his foreign tax havens and his work at Bain are often unfair, not entirely accurate and sometimes downright mean — just as they should be.
TAKE THE MITTS OFF, MITT
BY MARC A. THIESSEN
Obama is playing by the brass-knuckle rules of Chicago politics. Rather than calling for apologies, Romney needs grab a bottle, break it on the bar and start fighting back. This may not come naturally to Romney, but we know he can do it. … So where is that candidate today? Since securing the nomination, Romney has reverted to his old approach. Instead of trying to win, he seems to be waiting for Obama to lose. … Not to worry, says Team Romney. They point out that despite the attacks, their candidate is running even with Obama in the polls and is out-fund-raising a sitting president by a significant margin. The problem is: It shouldn’t be a tie.