Off the top of my head, they wanted to boost Romney’s chances of getting the nomination.
Here’s how it would work. Negative campaigning is perceived as a desperate tactic. Letting the story get out creates the impression that Romney is the only one that Obama is afraid of. That has to be good for Mitt.
Why would the President’s political team want to boost Romney’s chances of being nominated? They know any easy mark when they see one. They have been concerned about Huntsman for years, which accounts for why they sent him to the other side of the world. Gingrich is a capable orator, and he could damage the President even if he can’t win the election. After a little more exposure to wild-eyed craziness, a la Bachmann, Paul, and Cain, boring might start to look good, to the benefit of Pawlenty.
I didn’t mention Perry, because his craziness is of the squinty-eyed variety, redolent of George W. Bush. Suffice it to say of Perry, that the Bush people say he is “more interested in sound bites, than drilling down into the issues.” If you are too shallow for George W. Bush acolytes, you might as well have “No diving” tattooed on your forehead.
Of the three real potential candidates– Romney, Gingrich, and Pawlenty – Romney is easiest to beat.
Want an example? On the stump today in Arizona, Romney got laughed at for saying “Corporations are people.” Really, Mitt? Doesn't that mean that any corporation with a net income of more than $379,150 should be taxed at a marginal rate of 35%?*
Here’s another example: Tonight Faux News aired a debate in Iowa, in advance of the straw poll coming up this Saturday. Here’s Romney talking about withdrawing from Afghanistan:
Sometime within the next two years, we are going to draw down our troop strength and reach a point where the Afghan military is able to preserve the sovereignty of their own nation from the tyranny of the Taliban. That has to happen. It's time for the troops of Afghanistan to take on that responsibility, according to -- as I said in the last debate -- according to the timetable established and communicated by the generals in the field.Spoken like a real Commander-in-chief, Mitsy. You should just come out and say, “I will do whatever the Generals tell me to do, because I don’t know shit.” I realize that you can’t help to criticizing whatever the President does, but really, do you want to court the “we need to stay in Afghanistan longer” vote?
Those generals recommended to President Obama we should not start drawing our troops down until after the fighting season in 2012. He took a political decision to draw them down faster than that. That is wrong. We should follow the recommendation of the generals, and we should now look for the people of Afghanistan to pick up their fight and preserve that liberty that has been so dearly won.
Good luck with that …
“ … and tell ‘em Big Mitch sent ya!”
* Tip o' the hat to my pride and joy.