Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The Boffo Awfulness

Late Update: A few people have written in to say I'm wrong to call this 'swift-boating'. I guess Swift-boating is in the eye of the beholder. So let me explain what it is I mean. In the main, the premise of this 'documentary' seems accurate. Mitt Romney wasn't an entrepreneur in the sense most of us think of the term. He was a private equity guy, which at its best is the tip of the spear of capitalism's creative destruction. At its worst, it was a very mercenary and destructive type of takeover operation in which a lot of companies had short term value 'extracted' from them and then got junked. Either way, that's part of the economy we now live in. But it doesn't look good held up to the light of day in a dismally bad economy. And as the basis for the claim to be a 'job creator' it's either painfully laughable or laughably painful. So if you're definition of 'swift boating' is simply character assassination by falsehood, I agree the term probably doesn't apply.

But a broadly accurate story run through the stygian apparatus of swift-boatery I think I can still identify as such. This looks to me like it comes right out of the David Bossie chop shop world of right-wing phantasmagoria -- the Islamophobia documentaries, the portentous voice, the quaking real Americans snuffed out by the shadowy figure with furin' connections, the rustling dark clouds.

This doesn't strike me as a disinterested review of political economy. I think I know this stuff when I see it. I can't say I'm too broken up about it. But I know it when I see it.

Later Update: Not to play the cinema criticism card too much, but another comical and Obama-aiding thing about this video is the preface which basically lays out how you can believe in trickle-down, capital gains cuttin', cutthroat market capitalism and still think Mitt's a demonic ogre. It's almost like having Club for Growth reaching out to you and saying, "Come on in, these Mitt-hatin' waters feel just fine."