Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC is now going after Rick Santorum. Romney’s team has no choice, as Romney’s support is plummeting, yet all the negativity surrounding Romney’s attack ads is taking its toll on Romney as well. He’s a lame candidate, and his only strategy seems to be tearing apart even lamer candidates. His support among independents is tanking, and his “severely conservative” speech is making him a laughing stock with conservatives.
As for Santorum, he’s vulnerable to attack for many reasons. In a general election he’ll have to answer for his extreme positions on social issues, but he’s also the poster child for Republican mistakes during the Bush years when they spent like crazy trying to keep their majority.
Yet even with all these vulnerabilities, the Romney ad comes across as a series of cheap shots. Sure, Santorum voted to increase the debt limit, but everyone was voting that way, including practically all Republicans when Bush was president.
I still have no idea how this is going to play out, but whoever emerges from this savage primary season will be very damaged heading into a general election.
I have a feeling this story is going to get a lot of coverage again if and when Mitt Romney locks up the GOP nomination. Watch the video as Rachel Maddow revisits the story of Mitt Romney and the unfortunate incident when he placed his dog on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour road trip. At one point the dog became so scared or irritated that he defecated on the roof of the car. The story is pretty gross.
There are web sites sprouting up around the web (see Spreading Romney) and Newt Gingrich is also bringing this up in a web ad.
Small things like this can have a big impact on a campaign. With the Internet, you can see dog lovers making this a big issue. It doesn’t help that Romney already comes across as a stiff robot.
Ann Romney (L) introduces her husband, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, at a campaign stop in Bethlehem, New Hampshire December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)
Romney’s campaign team has clearly decided that the political risk of releasing the returns outweighs the potential problems of not doing so. No one knows for sure what the documents would say, but by the candidate’s own admission, the bulk of Romney’s retirement income from Bain has been from capital gains, which are subject to 15% tax rate.
That means that for the past 10 years, Romney has likely been paying a lower tax rate than most middle class voters. If this is the case, that information could be devastating to Romney’s presidential bid.
The issue of tax fairness is huge right now, and Romney might become the poster-child for that problem. Warren Buffet has famously come out strong on this, saying that it’s not fair that he pays a lower effective tax rate on his income than his secretary.
I think this is a huge problem for Romney. If he makes it to the general election, the Obama campaign and the Democratic PACs are going to hammer him on not releasing his tax returns. If that issue catches fire and he ultimately releases them, then the story is huge.
But it’s huge regardless of when he releases them. He might want to just get it out of the way and have a response ready.