Some of my buddies from the Watcher's Council offered different perspectives about how to deal with Barack Obama's negative campaigning -- which is really all the man has, since there is very little positive for him to point to over the last 3 1/2 years. I didn't participate in this week's forum, but I have had something floating around my brain about one particular charge that the Obamunists have made and their weaselly way of responding to having been called out on it.
In particular, I want to talk about the despicable hinting that there is something criminal about how Mitt Romney took a leave from Bain Capital to run the 2002 Winter Olympics in the wake of a major scandal, followed by his decision to permanently depart from that venture capital firm and seek the office of Governor of Massachusetts.
The suggestion this week from a top Obama campaign official that Mitt Romney may have committed a felony by listing himself as CEO of Bain Capital after leaving the firm was picked apart Sunday, with Republicans decrying the remark as the worst type of divisive politics and Obama's team urging its rivals to "stop whining."
Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.
"Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments," Cutter said, responding to a newspaper report that Romney was listed as Bain Capital's CEO after 1999, when he has repeatedly said he left the private equity firm.
Of course, everybody knows what happened there. In late 1998, it was disclosed that the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics may have been tainted by bribes from organizers to members of the International Olympic Committee, followed by the discovery that the organizing committee for the games was some $379 million in the red. Mitt Romney was brought in to save the games from collapse, and he organized and carried off an event that was universally praised and which ended up with a surplus. The success of the Salt Lake Winter games made Romney a household name, and led to his decision to run for governor of Massachusetts, which required him to cut his ties with Bain Capital. Prior to that time, he had expected to return to Bain, and so had remained a shareholder and CEO -- though it was clear that he was on a leave of absence due to his Olympic work. That Obama, his staff, or his surrogates would attempt to make that well-documented series of events into a scandal -- and charge Romney with criminality -- is contemptible.
Needless to say, Romney and his campaign have called for Barack Obama and his reelection campaign to renounce the Cutter remarks and apologize for besmirching his name. To date the president and his campaign have refused to do the honorable thing. Indeed, they are now doubling down on the charge.
Romney needs to use this charge against him to deliver a killing blow to Barack Obama and his campaign. Having been accused by the President and his surrogates of felonious activities in a naked partisan effort to secure Obama's reelection, he needs to make a single demand of Obama and the Justice Department -- PUT UP OR SHUT UP! He needs to demand thatObama direct Attorney General Eric Holder to subpoena all the material used by the Obama campaign as the basis for raising the specter of felonious conduct, and that Holder further convene a grand jury to examine the evidence and either indict him or clear him -- and that this be done immediately.
That puts the ball clearly in the court of Barack Obama, his administration, and his campaign. Obama will have three choices.
Now I'm proposing a rather extreme measure here -- one that is, as far as I know, unprecedented in American political history. But then again, I am unaware of any incumbent candidate or his campaign making the claim that his opponent is a criminal. And my suggestion is the strongest action that can be taken in contemporary society -- though in an earlier age there was always this option.