Cal Thomas: Distractions and diversions

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2012

There’s another video, this one of Mitt Romney speaking to donors at a fundraiser in Boca Raton.
The video was reportedly “leaked” by James Carter IV, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. How appropriate.
It apparently was saved for the most politically opportune moment and then published by the liberal Mother Jones Magazine in hopes of causing maximum damage to the Romney campaign.
It’s all part of the Democrats’ attempt to distract attention from the president’s failed record.
But the Obama campaign has had to deal with a “leak” of its own recently, namely the release of a 14-year-old audio recording of remarks supposedly made by then-Illinois State Sen. Obama at a conference in Chicago. “…I actually believe in redistribution,” he said, “at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody’s got a shot.” Will this statement derail the president’s re-election campaign?

Romney was correct when he told the donors, “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income taxes.” He was also right when he suggested that “… 47 percent of the people … will vote for the president no matter what” and that they “are dependent on government” and “believe that they are victims.”
Democrats are the party of government and the more people they addict to government the better for Democrats.
Romney refused to back down, but did admit his remarks had not been “elegantly stated.” What he said was that a large number of people “…believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” Who could credibly say otherwise when all we hear about are entitlements?

What Romney might have said was, “My policies will help people get jobs and earn a decent wage while President Obama’s policies will cause more people to rely on government than on themselves.”
I wonder what’s going on behind closed doors at the Obama campaign, that, if recorded and published in a conservative magazine, would cause political damage to the president’s re-election prospects?
But we don’t have to go behind the scenes. There is plenty already in the public arena, much of it ignored by mainstream media.
Wall Street Journal columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote recently: “… it is the president of the United States – the same one who presented himself as the man who would transcend political partisanship because we were all Americans – who has for most of his term set about dividing the nation by class, by the stoking of resentments. Who mocks ‘millionaires and billionaires.’ Who regularly makes it clear that he considers himself the president of the other – the good – Americans. How’s that for presidential tone?”
Will the same media that plays “gotcha” with Romney, advancing the viewpoint that he is incapable, or unwilling, to connect with “average” Americans, hold the president to the standards he set for himself?
The president says he tried to “reach out” to Republicans, but they refused. What they refused to do was give in to big government and his tax-and-spend agenda. This is the way Democrats play the game: if you agree with them and compromise your principles, you are bipartisan. If you stick to your principles, you’re a polarizer.
Do the promises Obama made four years ago still matter?
They should, especially when he has failed to fulfill most of them. But don’t look for the moderators of the upcoming debates to hold him accountable.
Perhaps Romney might reference Vice President Biden’s recent remark. Romney, he said, “… thinks the middle class is $200,000 to $250,000. Whoa! Whoa! Don’t you all wish you were in that middle class? Whoa!”
But isn’t that the middle-class threshold used by the president? Is Biden disparaging the middle class?

During the Oct. 3 presidential debate, Romney might also reference a comment the president made last February: “One of the proudest things in my three years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world …”
In light of the uprisings that have included the burning of American flags in the Middle East and the murder of Americans in Libya, that’s one more broken promise that can be added to a growing list.
With comments like these, there’s no need to go behind closed doors. It’s all out in the open.
Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services. Email him at