In a talk I had with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley last week about President Obama’s decision to publicly support same-sex marriage, the Democrat hit on a tale-of-two-visions theme against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that is beginning to play itself out in a blistering ad out today from the president’s reelection campaign.
“There’s been a lot of talk in this campaign about the two economic visions. But those economic visions also very much mirror two different visions of rights, freedoms, liberties, if you will, as well. The president’s vision of America is as a country that’s growing more inclusive. A country that’s creating and expanding opportunities for more people. That is not the vision that Gov. Romney offers,” O’Malley told me. “His is more sort of a warmed over, exclusive, trickle-down theory of economic growth where money should be concentrated in the hands of a few who will then make decisions about the economic fates, make market-based decisions about the fate of the many.
“We’ve seen the appetizer of what’s coming, in terms of the new Tea Party Republican sorta Romney would-be presidency in the over-reaching governors rolling back women’s rights, rolling back voting rights, rolling back workers’ rights, collective bargaining, pulling the ladder up, jacking up college tuition,” he continued. O’Malley then linked Obama’s same-sex marriage stand with what he says is the president’s overall vision. “[I]n many ways, the arc of his actions have all been pretty consistently in the direction of an America that’s becoming more inclusive and more expansive, not more exclusive or constricting or contracting.”
The two-minute and six-minute ads from the Obama reelection campaign focusing on the demise of GST Steel at the hands of Bain Capital put O’Malley’s constricting-and-contracting theme in high relief. Bain bought the company in 1993 and shut the Kansas City operation in 2001. About 750 employees lost their jobs. Sacked workers call Bain a “vampire” and say that watching what the leveraged-buyout firm did was “like watching an old friend bleed to death.”
As expected, the Romney campaign punched back against the harsh portrayal of the candidate and the company he founded. “President Obama has many questions to answer as to why his administration used the stimulus to reward wealthy campaign donors with taxpayer money for bad ideas like Solyndra, but 23 million Americans are still struggling to find jobs,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “If the Obama administration was less concerned about pleasing their wealthy donors and more concerned about creating jobs, America would be much better off. ”
We can quibble over the Solyndra stuff. But Saul’s response is as fair as the accusation that elicited it.