Not Newt. He has laid into Romney like a rabid mountain lion disemboweling a pampered Angora. Gingrich does severe damage, calling him a vulture capitalist job killer in the withering tone that only he can pull off. In a few days he has dared to go where the Obama crowd has thus far feared to tread, succeeding in putting the entire private equity industry on the defensive. Not so Obama, who probably will remain purring and preening for the primary duration. Even DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not known to be a shrinking violet, will only call Romney a "job cremator." Capitalist pig is, unfortunately not in the neo-lib capitalist lexicon.
Newt's characterization, while vicious, is entirely accurate. Here's the famous infomercial funded by a NewtPac now playing in South Carolina. It's called "When Romney Came to Town" I learned a thing or two -- for instance, I had no idea Bain Capital was behind the destruction of the Kaybee Toy Store chain! That makes him a hater of little children and teddy bears as well as a greedhead who makes Gordon Gekko look beneficent. I guess Newt Gingrich could well be called the DNC's useful idiot.
Of course, if you believe as I do that the Rombama match-up is just more Kabuki presented for our torture by the oligarchy, Romney is simply playing Bad Cop to Barry's Good Cop. Mitt is fulfilling his duty of calling Obama a European Socialist, so the president can blithely defend himself as a PragProg (pragmatic progressive, a/k/a lifestyle liberal and a fiscal conservative) stealing OWS rhetoric and hoping to get away with it. In this interview with Matt Lauer today, Romney presumes to hand the Occupy crown to Obama on a velvet jewelry tray:
ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent — and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.LAUER: Yeah but envy? Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as ‘envy,’ though?ROMNEY: Yes, I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.
He is probably right, because the real story and the real power is with Occupy Wall Street. The barriers to Zuccotti Park have been removed and the protesters have moved back into their space. The northeast winter has been very good to this movement. Not one flake of snow on the streets. Membership in Climate Change World has its privileges for the underprivileged.
As Matt Taibbi put it in a recent blogpost:
It takes an awful lot to rob the presidential race of this elemental appeal. But this year’s race has lost that buzz. In fact, this 2012 race may be the most meaningless national election campaign we’ve ever had. If the presidential race normally captivates the public as a dramatic and angry ideological battle pitting one impassioned half of society against the other, this year’s race feels like something else entirely.According to The White House, Obama was to have flown from Washington to Chicago tonight for three separate fundraisers (including one at the home of a private equity firm mogul) -- and then jet back home in time for bed. It is estimated that he is already, this early in campaign season, spending between 10 and 20% of his working hours speechifying and canoodling with his rich bundlers-who-are-not-lobbyists.
In the wake of the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, and a dozen or more episodes of real rebellion on the streets, in the legislatures of cities and towns, and in state and federal courthouses, this presidential race now feels like a banal bureaucratic sideshow to the real event – the real event being a looming confrontation between huge masses of disaffected citizens on both sides of the aisle, and a corrupt and increasingly ideologically bankrupt political establishment, represented in large part by the two parties dominating this race.