Nate Silver wonders if Mitt has over-reacted to the Bain ads, given the relatively mild impact they appear to have had on the polling at this stage. I think Nate's wrong to think this dismantling of his business record is not damaging. The point of it is to explain why a man like Romney, in an era of soaring debt and inequality, wants to cut taxes on the rich still further and turn Medicare into a premium support system. The impact of it is designed to be cumulative, which may be too clever by half, but makes strategic sense.
But Nate's right about one aspect of this. What many voters are hearing is pretty simple: Romney wants to distance himself from his own company as much as possible in the years 1999 – 2002, despite being the CEO throughout that time. And Romney won't release more than two years of tax returns – and those we already have show any number of tax shelters from Bermuda to the Cayman Islands. If this is the cleaned-up-for-the-race version, one wonders what Romney has been doing all these years. As someone once said,
One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.
That was Mitt's father. The son has lower standards.