OBAMA IN BEDLAM: A bombshell so nice they delivered it twice!


Part 4—Globe-on-Globe confusion: Gene Robinson was confused by what Mitt Romney had said.

Sure, he’s won a Pulitzer Prize; as a matter of fact, they all have. But Robinson still couldn’t figure it out:

Has anyone ever owned a company that he wasn’t actively running? Try though he might, Gene just couldn’t figure it out:
ROBINSON (7/17/12): [Romney] then tried to insist on another ridiculous proposition, which is that he left Bain suddenly and completely in 1999. This cannot possibly be true. Romney was Bain Capital—chairman, chief executive and sole stockholder. There is no way he could have disentangled himself from the firm so abruptly.

Indeed, he did not. As late as 2002, Bain's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission list Romney as chairman, chief executive and sole stockholder.

If you look at Romney's signature on those documents and listen to what he's been saying on the campaign trail, you have to conclude that either he lied to the SEC or he's lying to voters now...
Robinson didn’t quote the statements in question. This allowed him to feign his confusion in an unfettered way. Meanwhile, at the New York Times, Charles Blow had found a more complex way to say that he too was confused.

Blow journeyed far into the weeds as he feigned confusion—and outrage:
BLOW (7/14/12): [A]ccording to documents obtained by The Huffington Post, Romney testified in June 2002 that there ''were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth.'' According to The Huffington Post, Romney also testified that he ''remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the LifeLike Corporation.''

Here is where we must split the hair. All these things could be technically true, but that'd rest on a distinction most people wouldn't make. There is no evidence that Romney played an ''active role'' in ''any Bain Capital entity,'' although he was active in the companies that Bain invested in. This depends on what you consider an ''entity.''

As FactCheck.org puts it: ''We think the term 'Bain Capital entity' on Romney's disclosure forms could only refer to Bain's various investment funds, not to companies in which it invested.''

That may be technically true, but the spirit of the truth as most people engage it doesn't turn on technicalities.

For most Americans, filings for the Federal Election Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are foreign concepts that would have limited resonance. But being misleading is a universal concept: most have done it and most frown upon it. The insinuation by the Obama campaign that Romney was either lying then or is lying now (or is shaving the truth down to a sliver) to make a buck and win an office is a much easier and more dangerous concept for voters to wrap their minds around.

Furthermore, the slipperiness of this explanation underscores Romney's otherness. If you were a construction worker or a schoolteacher, the year you stopped doing your job wouldn't be ambiguous. Having no ''active role'' in a parent ''entity'' feels like a term of art for a con artist.
If you can follow that meandering trail, you could have helped Lewis and Clark.

In the opening paragraph we have posted, Blow tries to make you think that Romney said he returned to Massachusetts for Bain board meetings. Blow understands that this isn’t true, so he only suggests it.

At this point, Blow starts splitting the hair, suggesting that service on the board at Staples contradicts Romney’s claim that he didn’t play an “active role” at Bain after departing for Utah. Throwing in jibes about “foreign concepts” and “otherness,” Blow toys with reversals of GOP slime and whistles that Romney’s a Mormon.

(If they are going to call people foreign, we can do it too!)

Did Romney engage in decision-making at Bain after 1999? Like Blow, we have no earthly idea—though no one has ever produced any evidence that he did so. That said, there’s nothing confusing about Romney’s claim—about the claim that he remained Bain’s owner, but wasn’t involved in day-to-day decisions.

There’s nothing confusing about that claim—until our “journalists” swing into action! Collins and Dowd and Robinson and Blow and the editorial board of the Times: All these hacks were deeply confused by Romney’s deeply puzzling claim. Try though they might, they just couldn’t grasp it!

Many others played it dumb, in the same way these stenographers did.

Obama had said it, and they were reciting. Try though they might, they simply couldn’t comprehend what Romney could have meant!

Each of us must decide what to think about “journalists” of this type. We’ll only report that these very bad people have played these brainless games against major Democrats in the past. As Style section editor at the Post, Robinson played a leading role in the assassination of Candidate Gore, to cite one ugly example.

Back then, Robinson was taking his dictation from Establishment Washington. Today, he’s a stenographer for the White House itself as he pretends that he just can’t grasp what Romney could have meant.

Each of us must decide what to think about “journalists” of this type. We think this: In a serious land, such people would rot away in jail.

On the brighter side, the conduct of these simpering life-forms does provide amusement. In this instance, some of that low entertainment came from the Boston Globe.

On July 12 of this year, the Boston Globe dropped a bombshell. Borchers and Rowland penned a shocking front-page report.

It led to the feigned confusion:
BORCHERS AND ROWLAND (7/12/12): Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.

Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm's "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president."

Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney's state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain "executive" in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
Good lord! Romney still owned Bain after 1999! All around the Potemkin press corps, this was played as a revelation. And that’s just what it might have been, if the Boston Globe (among others) hadn’t reported the same information ten years before!

Does the Boston Globe read the Boston Globe? If so, Globe reporters could have learned those shocking facts on October 27—in the year 2002:
DADE (10/27/02): [A]t the time of the GST Steel layoffs, [Romney] said, he was on leave again, organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics. From February 1999 until now, Romney said, he had "no association" with Bain Capital.

"She knows I was on leave in Salt Lake City," he said of O'Brien. "I had nothing to do with that plant closing that's being described. It was disgusting, it was deceitful, and it was totally wrong. I'm calling on her to remove these ads right now."

But O'Brien, at a town meeting in Marlborough, said Romney was still a principal at Bain Capital when those decisions were made. Her aides pointed to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2001, reporting stock transactions and signed by Romney.

"He was involved in signing legal documents, which means he was involved in these different companies and the direction in which these companies were headed," O'Brien said.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the Republican candidate had to sign official papers as a principal of Bain but that he had officially relinquished his management duties.
And then again, just two days later! It was still 2002:
ABRAHAM (10/29/02): Romney, who was CEO of Bain Capital until 2001, has repeatedly said he was on leave from the company…in 2001, when GST Steel, a Kansas City plant, laid off workers and closed.

Yesterday, his campaign released a letter from the former CEO of GST, absolving Romney of any responsibility for the plant's closing. The campaign also produced a letter from Bain's lawyers, saying Romney was not actively involved with Bain after Feb. 11, 1999, even though he was sometimes called on to sign Bain's SEC filings.
If the Boston Globe read the Boston Globe, it might not reinvent the wheel so often. And it might not be so confused by these puzzling concepts, as Borchers and Rowland were:
BORCHERS AND ROWLAND (7/12/12): "You can't say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing," said Roberta S. Karmel, now a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say he was technically in charge on paper but he had nothing to do with Bain's operations," Karmel continued. "Was he getting paid? He's the sole stockholder. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?"
Like everyone else, Karmel seemed confused—and Borchers and Rowland quoted her. She suggested that Romney must have been guiding Bain’s investments, without offering any evidence to that effect.

In the process, Karmel extended a meme: A claim like Romney’s just doesn’t make any sense! Do owners ever abstain from management decisions? In fact, it happens all the time. But it had Karmel quite confused.

Why did the Globe treat old news as a scoop? We can’t answer that question, of course. But we’ll speculate thusly:

Our speculation, and that's all it is: In recent weeks, the Obama campaign began to share opposition research with “journalists” it regarded as friendly. Thus favored, those “journalists” began to file excited reports, not knowing—or pretending not to know—that this was extremely old news.

Foot soldiers like Collins then fell into line, pretending to be extremely confused by the things Romney was suddenly claiming. An owner who doesn’t make daily decisions? They’d never heard of such things!

Collins, Robinson, Blow / Rosenthal / Dowd—they craft imitations of life. On cue, such scribes will pretend to be deeply confused—and they can maintain their feigned confusion over long stretches of time. For years, these horrible people feigned confusion about all manner of Clinton pseudo-scandal. They then moved on to feign confusion about every word out of Gore’s mouth.

If you’re happy with the way that turned out, you should love these life-forms.

In our view, these are very bad people, even though they’re feigning ignorance on behalf of the candidate we liberals favor. This brings us back to the types of outrage these life-forms aren’t willing to feign.

What did Romney do to a bunch of workers at a company called Dade Behring? For Alec MacGillis’ account, click here. To read the fuller account in Vanity Fair, just click this.

“I have been dealing with pensions issues for over 25 years and I never saw anything like this,” you’ll see one pension expert saying. You’ll see another expert appraise this swindle: Bain and its co-investor, Goldman Sachs, “made out like bandits,” he will say. “After putting down only $85 million,” this expert will say, they turned “a $280 million profit.”

Regular people got massively screwed, in ways that expert had never seen—and Romney walked away with big cash. But darlings! People like Collins never discuss egregious misconduct like this. By their silence, they make their values clear; they simply don’t care about stories like this. As with the case of those looted steel workers, so too in the case of these much-abused workers:

Horrible people like Collins and Dowd simply aren’t moved by such stories. They don’t care when average people get looted. They prefer to gambol and play (and feign confusion), extending the latest line from Obama which The Group has agreed to sustain.

They did this for years against Clinton, then Gore. They largely kept it up with Kerry. Now, their clowning is aimed at Romney—but they skip past his most horrible conduct.

Simply put, these folk don’t care.

Each of us must decide what to think about such horrible people. We will only tell you this: No lasting lines of attack will ever emerge from such low-end clowning.

We liberals get to cheer this time—but our candidate may be the target the next time. Along the way, voters will never hear substantial news about the real ways power works.

Voters won’t hear the stories which might help lead to progressive world views. Darlings, people like Collins don’t go there. She is still pimping the dog.

These are truly horrible people; misinformation is their one skill. Tomorrow, we’ll review what The Group is agreeing to say about tax returns.

Tomorrow: How many years is the norm?


  1. This has little to do with people not understanding what TDH is saying, they are just viewing it in a different fashion. So, TDH sites other instances of terrible conduct on Romney's part, admits his programs are astoundingly bad, but in this instances he insists on a highly shaky case: that Romney was not liable for what a company he owned and ran did when he was on a kind of leave. Not that he seems to say they did anything wrong, or that he would have done anything differently.

    Wake me up when get to something like, oh, Bill Clinton selling plots at Arlington Cemetery for campaign contributions.

  2. It's a little bit funny to see these media hacks going at these attacks leather and tong -- obviously convinced they are scoring important points against Romney -- when, by all recent polling, Romney hasn't suffered in the least (indeed, FWIW, the polls seem, if anything, ever so slightly to have narrowed).

    Kind of puts in perspective all those hyperventilating articles announcing that Romney has been put on the defensive by these attacks, can't seem to find any adequate answer, and has lost control of the message!!!

    Yeah, right.

    1. All recent polling? Including the July 18 Rasmussen poll (notoriously Republican-leaning) that has Obama up by two points in Ohio?

      Actually, there are only seven battleground states left and Obama is leading in five of them. And he's making inroads in places like Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee which were once considered pretty much locked-in red.

  3. 2,167 words in this screed.

    1. I read every word in his screeds and wish he had written more!

    2. Of course you do. Bobinistas simply can't get enough of this wisdom from on high.

      But then again, if Bob practiced the discipline, clarity, simplicity and economy that he demands of others, then he could have said everything worth saying in this blog post with about one-fourth the words.

      Unfortunately, sometimes people get so taken in by the brilliance of their own rhetoric that they don't know when to shut up.

  4. The lengths to which Bob Somberby goes in these Romney/Bain posts to argue that no one has raised legitimate questions about Romney's relationship to Bain in crucial years, or about Romney's various answers in the past to questions about that relationship, amount to extraordinary nitpicking. Surely by now the burden is on Romney to explain. If Romney's explanation is clear and suggests no shady doings (ethically or legally), then fine. Story over.

    I'm trying to figure out how, in Somerby's world, any complex story would ever gain traction.

  5. Being chairman and CEO is different from "owning" the company, but Somerby appears not to get that -- or is being deliberately misleading in implying repeatedly that he only had an ownership interest in those years. Those pieces of information are, in fact, "evidence" that he played an active role. They may not be conclusive evidence, but certainly the burden of persuasion shifts to Romney. I suppose in this world his mere assertion of no "active role" is sufficient to meet that burden.

    1. What Romney has in support of his position is a plausible story.

      He was in the period in question heading the committee for the Olympics. By all accounts, that is easily a full time job -- but of course a temporary one. He planned to return to his position at Bain after his work for the Olympics ended, and so did not resign the position. Because of his time commitments at the Olympics, day to day decisions at Bain were taken over by others. Because of this, he was not aware of the detailed decisions made at Bain regarding cutting jobs.

      All of this is plausible. It may not be true, but it is plausible.

      And what do the attacks on him on this score amount to? Nothing but insinuation and leaps beyond direct evidence.

      And that, I'm sure, is why they haven't had ANY apparent impact on voters -- except, of course, to excite the already excited "liberal" crowd who desperately need to turn their opponent into a lying demon, even such a transparently bland character as Romney.

  6. Love the all-the-key-facts-based overview, the historical grounding, and the righteous anger.