Will these talking-points work: On Sunday, we cringed a bit as Martin O’Malley pushed the “Swiss bank account” line within an inch of its life (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/9/12).
Last night, O’Malley chatted with Big Ed. To our ear, a hint of desperation was in the air:
SCHULTZ (7/10/12): I want to play this. President Obama was asked in a television interview in New Hampshire, he was asked this question, and I think every elected official should answer this question. That’s my opinion. Here it is.Finally, after all these years, our side is explicitly playing the unpatriotic card! Big Ed thinks every pol should be asked if Romney has this famous old illness.
REPORTER: Is it your belief that it’s unpatriotic for someone to have a Swiss bank account?
OBAMA: You know, I think what’s important if you are running for president is that the American people know who you are, what you have done, and that you’re an open book. And that’s been true of every presidential candidate dating back to Mr. Romney’s father.
SCHULTZ: Pretty clear that President Obama is walking a fine line there. He didn’t answer the question directly. He talked about transparency.
What do you think? Is it unpatriotic to have money overseas after getting the fruits of the land here in America and being successful?
O’MALLEY: You know, I think what’s very, very clear is that having your money sheltered overseas and avoiding paying your taxes in America when you’re part of the highest earning 1 percent of our country means that you’re not contributing to our economy and not making it grow.
I appreciate—you know, I know people have asked, is it patriotic or not patriotic? I think more fundamentally, we need to ask, does it work to make the economy grow or not? I mean, their theory is that if you cut taxes even more deeply for the top 1 percent of people, they’ll invest it back in creating jobs.
That’s not what Romney is doing with his money, is it? He put it in Switzerland. He put in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and that’s the core of this and why the Romney campaign is so very afraid of this issue and why they won’t release the taxes.
SCHULTZ: I think it’s a character issue. I think it’s far beyond the economy.
To our ear, there was a hint in this exchange of us becoming like them.
On tape, Obama avoided this question. For perfectly obvious reasons, O’Malley avoided it too.
Will these cards work for our team? We have our doubts, although Big Ed is often inclined to drift in these directions. But again, we’ll offer a basic point:
Romney is an atrocious candidate. He has made the most ridiculous policy proposals any major-party nominee has ever made. He's also unskilled on the stump.
And yet, the liberal world is so unable to sell its positions that we are reduced to Swiss bank accounts and lack of patriotism. In our view, sensible progressives would ask themselves how we reached this place.
In fairness, the depth of the economic collapse would make it hard for any incumbent. But why are we unable to sell our side’s understanding of this collapse?
This morning, the New York Times plays the Swiss bank account card in its featured editorial. We’re not sure this approach will work. But as we watch this theme play out, we think we see a hint of desperation in the air.
In days to come, we’ll offer some thoughts about why our side has so much trouble selling its basic values, beliefs and policies. Romney is promoting atrocious policies—and yet, he’s tied in the latest poll.
To borrow from SNL circa 1988:
How can we be losing (potentially) to this guy? How can we be statistically tied?