Sully yesterday, on the Bain revelations:
Maybe this is a technical snafu caused by elaborate federal and state legal technicalities. But who gets paid $100,000 a year for two years for work as an executive in a company he has already quit?Is Sully kidding? Americans don't wonder about that -- the vast majority of us just accept without question the fact that the Masters of the Universe play by economic rules that don't apply to us. Actual malfeasance gets us riled up -- at least somewhat, though certainly not enough to send large numbers of us out into the street with pitchforks to, for instance, demand that evil Wall Streeters be sent to supermaxes. But day to day, we assume that the rich simply have a sweet deal on everything, and we'd have it, too, if we got rich.
... even the best case in defense of Romney must argue that he got paid at least $100,000 a year for doing nothing. A lot of Americans may wonder how that can happen, how the rules they live by simply don't apply to people with Romney's massive wealth.
This is why I think the mere fact that Mitt Romney was, at minimum, the titular head of Bain Capital for years after he says he ceded operational control won't, in and of itself, hurt him: the average American just can't imagine getting upset at that level of double standard, because double standards of that kind are rife. Average Americans, in their own lives, assume that failing to cross the t's and dot the i's could mean that, say, they'll lose their house -- but they also assume that a battery of high-powered lawyers could find a way to prove that it was technically OK for Mitt Romney to acknowledge some involvement in Bain-related operations after 1999 when he was trying to establish his Massachusetts residency for the 2002 governor's race, and deny any involvement today. As long as there doesn't seem to have been a whole lot of involvement, they'll largely let it slide. Americans have a high bar for this kind of paperwork monkey business because we see it happening all the time, and we see powerful people getting a pass on it from the authorities.
Now, if Romney is shown to have actively participated in business decisions that screwed workers after 1999, he'll be in deep trouble with the public. If he lets this linger and remains under a "this raises questions..." cloud, his campaign will be harmed. But I still say that most Americans aren't going to be outraged solely by what they'll see as legal fudging on paperwork. If he says he wasn't really doing Bain work after 1999, and no one can find him doing serious work, the discrepancy itself won't harm him.
Though Sullivan is right about this:
It's another day when the focus is on his vast wealth, rather than on Obama's economic record....And, yes, every day like that is bad for Romney.