Broadcast media seems to be quite obtuse when it comes to the overall implications of the Bain controversies over the past two weeks. This is either by design or because they've just become too lazy to actually understand the reasons this might be important, and Candy Crowley is no exception to this. Rather than actually probe for some answers with regard to why this might be something voters should care about, she just keeps repeating the same questions over and over.
Questions like this one (full transcript):
CROWLEY: At what point will you be ready to accept, if ever, that Mitt Romney, you know, may have been on a lot of filings, listed as the owner, but he had no day-to-day management, and, therefore, when you talk about outsourcing, he was not there when those decisions were made.
Shorter Crowley: Accept it David, because your media overlords deem it to be so. What part of this is difficult to understand? One of two things is happening. Either Mitt Romney rubber-stamp approved everything Bain Capital did without any involvement or review, or he was involved and he did review it.
That set of circumstances leads to one place: One either thinks it's Presidential to rubber-stamp approve major decisions without review because there are profits involved, or not. If the answer is "or not", then the next question is whether we want a President who thinks it's just completely fine to send a bunch of jobs overseas and kill factories here in the United States. That's the question, whether Crowley wants to understand it or not.
David Axelrod did a better-than-usual job of explaining this to Candy. I'm usually not a fan of his Sunday appearances, but he did a decent job on this one.
AXELROD: Well, it's interesting, Candy, because he's very willing to take credit for everything good that he thinks happened after that point that Bain Capital was involved in, but he's not willing to take responsibility for this. If their story is that he was the chairman, president, chief executive and sole shareholder of the company, and took no interest in any of the decisions they made, then they can make that case.
AXELROD: We know that "The Boston Globe," the AP, Bloomberg News have done reporting that calls these assertions into question. There, too, I mean, they could release their board minutes from that time and other records that would show exactly what his involvement was.
We do know that he said he had no involvement with any of the entities that Bain was involved in and yet he came back for board meetings for meetings of a couple of those entities.
But the larger point, Candy, is he was in charge when they bought these firms whose principal mission was to facilitate outsourcing and offshoring. What he's saying is, well, I left before they actually moved these jobs to China and to Mexico, and I'm not going to be held responsible for it. You know, Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk saying the buck stops here. If Mitt Romney became president he would have a placard on his desk saying the buck stops there.
If you're the head man, you have to take responsibility. And, you know, he's going to have to explain that to the American people.
This is the bottom line, and it's pretty basic when it comes to what people expect from their President, whether he's Republican or Democrat. Whenever I hear the lame excuses from Romney that he was out "saving the Olympics" like Superman with a torch in his hand, I think back to the Katrina disaster. How would he have handled that? Would he have been busy with something else and simply disavowed responsibility like Bush did, saying "heckuva job, Brownie" as if Brownie had actually done a heckuva job?
Something else David Axelrod said earlier in the interview struck me as really important, too, though I'm not sure how many people actually think about this carefully. It's not in the video, but here's what he said:
AXELROD: Tens of millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands. So when we reform the tax code, when we go to reform the tax code, Candy, how does that inform his judgment? He's told us that his business experience is the lens through which he's going to look at these decisions. We're getting a look at that experience, and people need to judge is that the kind of experience we want in the Oval Office.
CROWLEY: Can you tell me, when you do your taxes, don't you use every available way to pay as little as you can?
AXELROD: I can tell you that I have never had a Swiss bank account, I have never put money in the Cayman Islands, I don't have a Bermuda holding company.
CROWLEY: But are you suggesting then --
AXELROD: No one is suggesting -- Candy, I'm not suggesting that based on what we know, that he's done anything illegal. I'm not suggesting that, but what I am suggesting is that he's taken advantage of every single conceivable tax shelter and loophole that we can see. And now is he the guy who is going to clean up our tax code and make it advantageous to average taxpayers in the country, or is he going to look at it through the lens of his own experience?
This is a critical point. This tax code of ours is going to have to be reformed, and soon. It's a monster, so out of control and so full of political "rollover points" that the only people who benefit from it are the oligarchs and their wealth preservation brigade. Who do we want to be the leader with regard to tax reform? A guy who made millions while utilizing loopholes in order to maximize his profit?
I don't think so.