Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A New Low

I'm absolutely flabbergasted.  I'm one of the most cynical people I know, and this still surprised me in its cynical disdain for reality and decorum.  I'm going to recommend you just read the article, not watch the ad.

Now, I have no desire to "pile on" "Joe Soptic," but neither can I, in good conscience, let this pass unanswered.  Mr. Romney's campaign will not directly address the add, for good reason, so it falls to us in the New Media to do so.  I am in a special position to be able to address the ad, so I will.  Let's take it apart claim by claim:

1) Romney and Bain closed the plant. - False.  Mitt Romney had already left Bain Capital when the Kansas City GST Steel plant closed.

2) Mr. Soptic lost his health care. - False.  Mr. Soptic, at most, lost his health insurance.  Health insurance is most definitely not the same thing as health care.  Most importantly, every state in the nation has a way to receive tax-payer subsidized health care: from county hospitals which will see you regardless of ability to pay, to medicaid, to even private charities.  While I'm sorry Mr. Soptic lost his job and his insurance (by the way: he was eligible for COBRA for at least 18 months.  Did he simply elect not to take it?), that did not prevent him from seeking medical care.

3) His wife "didn't say anything because she knew we couldn't afford the insurance," - I don't know if that's true or not.  What I do know, as mentioned in point 2, is that it didn't matter.  Health care options were available to them.  If they were ignorant of those options, I'm sorry.  If they were too proud to accept them, that's on them.  Either way, it is neither the fault of Mitt Romney, nor of Bain Capital.

These are the three premises on which the final statement: "I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned," is based.  We've proven that at least two of the necessary assertions are false.  Given Mitt Romney's other behavior I tend to think he would care, though that caring about one family would probably not have stopped him from trying to make the best business decision possible.

The fact is this add wants you to react on a purely emotional level.  It would have you say that Mitt Romney should have kept that plant open just for the Soptics- so they wouldn't lose their "health care."  Simultaneously, it wants you to forget the fact that Bain Capital exists to make businesses profitable.  Among their success stories are Home Depot and Staples.  There are uncounted others.  Sometimes Bain failed in its goal to make a given business profitable, and those businesses would fail.  Chance of success entails a risk of failure.

Most importantly, though, is that Mr. Romney's response is correct.  Set aside the emotional appeal in the ad, and you realize it's based on nothing.  It is a distraction from the things we should be concerned about.  By any objective measure (trillion dollar deficits, 5 trillion dollars in new debt, rising health care costs, foreign policy debacles, etc.) Mr. Obama is a miserable failure, and lacks any compelling reason he should be granted a second term.

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