Thursday, August 9, 2012

The "Seinfeld Campaign"

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…
You would think, given current circumstances, our political discourse would be about skyrocketing debt, high unemployment, increased poverty, failing education and crumbling infrastructure. But our politics has traveled so far down the path to stupid that the top story in today’s news is about a political ad that accuses Mitt Romney of causing the death of a woman.
The ad in question was created by pro-Obama Super Pac Priorities USA.  The ad features steel worker, Joe Soptic who lost his job and his health insurance when Bain Capital shut down his plant.  Soptic’s wife became ill a short time after that and eventually succumbed to cancer.  Soptic tells us that his wife never said anything about her illness because without health insurance they could not afford to pay the bills.   Soptic closes the ad saying:  “I don’t think Romney realizes what he has done to anyone.  Furthermore I don’t think that he is concerned.”  The viewer is clearly led to believe that Mitt Romney’s actions led to this women’s death.
No doubt because air time is limited the ad leaves out a few key facts.  It fails to mention that the plant closed in 2001…long after Romney left to take over the Olympics.  It also fails to point out that Mrs. Soptic had insurance through her own employer until 2003 when she left her job due to injury; and that the diagnosis of her cancer and her subsequent death did not occur until 2005.
Bill Burton, founder of Priorities USA says the Super PAC stands by the ad.  Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, Jay Carney and a host of other high level Obama Campaign staffers and White House officials have feigned ignorance over the ads details and parroted the line that the campaign has no control over the inner workings of the Super PACs.  They also failed to remember that the Obama Campaign had interviewed Mr. Soptic three months ago and used him in one of their own campaign ads.
As you might suspect, the Romney Campaign wasted no time pouncing on this huge slab of red meat.  Unfortunately the response only served to highlight the campaigns’ inherent ability to step on its own…tail.  When asked about the ad Romney Campaign press secretary Andrea Saul gleefully pointed out that had Mr. and Mrs. Soptic lived in Massachusetts they would have been covered under the mandatory universal health care plan program that the former governor enacted into law.
Oops!  You could hear the rattling of Tums bottles at Romney headquarters. 
Nothing says “dysfunctional” like a Romney press secretary singing the praises of what may be in Republican circles the single most reviled piece of legislation in American history…while at the same time highlighting the main reason your candidate cannot run on his record as Massachusetts Governor.  Talk about going off message…
In closing we would like to thank the United States Supreme Court for allowing this farce to occur.  For it is through their Citizen United decision that Super PACs, staffed blatantly by campaign surrogates and funded by rich anonymous donors, are permitted to publish these outrageous lies with impunity.
We should be talking about the big problems that face this country.  Instead we talk about…nothing.
One pundit put it best when she said: “This is a Seinfeld campaign…a campaign about nothing.”             


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