Last week, we learned that nothing will ever improve President Obama’s image in the world more than Mitt Romney traveling abroad. Mitt insulted all of London, praised socialized medicine in Israel and brought along an aide who told reporters to “Kiss my ass!” at a holy site in Poland. The lesson was: When your schtick only appeals to people who hate the President of the United States, it’s hard to be diplomatic.
Mitt then returned home from that mess to face the biggest mess of his campaign: taxes.
No, not the controversy around his tax returns. Though you probably know that Harry Reid, who happens to be the highest-ranking Mormon in the U.S. government, publically accused Mitt of not paying any taxes for the last ten years. This accusation, the Senate Majority Leader claimed, was based on information from a very credible investor in Bain Capital. Now making accusations based on hearsay is a low down, dirty honey badger tactic, no doubt. (It’s a tactic so low down and dirty that it’s reminiscent of how Mitt demanded that Ted Kennedy release his tax returns in 1994 and that his opponent’s spouse release his returns in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial primary — while refusing to release his own.)
Actually, Mitt’s real mess is his tax plan—which we now know would raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans. A new study by the Tax Policy Center pointed out that Mitt’s plan includes massive tax breaks for the richest Americans while leaving middle class families to pay up to $2,000 more a year.
Suddenly Mitt’s incredibly low 14 percent personal tax rate on an income of over $20 million a year became more than a talking point about fairness. It was an example of the kind of tax policy he believes in: Millionaires like him need more tax cuts and the middle class needs to pay for them.
And suddenly, Mitt needed to distract attention from his new status as a Republican nominee proposing to raise taxes on the middle class. What to do?
First, attack the group that produced the study — which is a group you once praised as “objective” and “non-partisan.” When that doesn’t work, change the subject.
What did Mitt decide to change the subject to? The auto industry. Romney released an ad Thursday that blamed the President for a GM dealership closing. What the ad didn’t mention is that if Mitt Romney had his way, there would be no GM dealerships in America any more.
Copyright 2012 The National Memo