When did Republicans become such wimps? If Barack Obama's not careful, he's going to get a call from Ann Romney to get him to stop picking on her boy.
Republicans should have known better. You keep calling out Barack Obama for Chicago-style politics, and eventually he's going to act like a Chicago pol. No more the process-oriented compromiser-in-chief. Now it's Dirty Barry, and Democrats are feeling lucky.
Obama's latest attack ad basically says that if corporations are people, then Bain Capital committed treason. This is the ad in which Mitt Romney sings "America the Beautiful" while we see a thundering denunciation of Romney's record of outsourcing jobs and hiding his money in foreign banks and tax shelters. It might be the meanest ad since Lyndon Johnson said Barry Goldwater was going to blow up the world, and every word of Obama's ad is true even if Romney's singing is a little off key.
Romney's team tried to change the subject by accusing Obama of trying to change the subject and even demanded an apology that he very quickly did not get. All Romney's response proved was that Hunter S. Thompson's axiom that "true happiness in politics is a wide open hammer-shot on a poor bastard who knows he's trapped, but can't flee" were the truest words ever written about politics.
When Ari Fleischer complained on CNN that Obama was being too rough, Paul Begala could barely contain his glee: "I'm heartened if we've gone from toothless in Ari's eyes to ruthless. I'd rather be tough. These are tough times."
This has been a heady week for Democrats. We're used to flinching when Republicans walk by us in the lunchroom. We're used to negotiating the terms of our own beating and calling it a success. The Democratic Party I grew up in thought nominating the likes of John Kerry would butch us up a little. We thought triangulation was a really clever strategy of aggressive appeasement. And for a while, all Obama was accomplishing in reaching more than half way to work with Republicans is that he gave them a series of clean shots at him.
All of a sudden the shoe is in the other mouth. Republicans can't start in on their talking points without qualifying that, yes, of course Romney should release his darn tax returns. When did moderation in defense of their nominee become a virtue?
The virulent strain of offended sensibilities has infected even that most manly of paragons, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who talked himself into a wet sack on Tuesday when he said, "I'm all for transparency" and then spent the rest of the day denying this had anything to do with Romney's tax returns.
It's strange to see Perry so emasculated. This is a guy so avowedly and showily cocky that he jogs with a laser-sighted .380 Ruger loaded with hollow-point bullets "because he is afraid of snakes," according to the AP, even though hollow-point bullets are as effective against snakes as sarcasm.
Now even our pretend cowboy of a governor is whining about the way that colonial socialist is pushing him around during recess. When Obama came to Texas this week for fundraising trips, Perry whined that Attorney General Eric Holder was picking on him for pointing out that his nifty new poll tax would force thousands of Hispanic voters to spend money to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
"In labeling the Texas voter ID law as a 'poll tax,' Eric Holder purposefully used language designed to inflame passions and incite racial tension. It was not only inappropriate, but simply incorrect on its face," Perry charged.
Oh, the horror. How dare those Obama guys use rough language? Golly! Also, heck! So Governor Gunslinger did what Republicans do these days. He demanded an apology.
"The president should apologize for Holder's imprudent remarks and for his insulting lawsuit against the people of Texas," said Perry.
On Tuesday Obama parked his big airplane with the presidential seal right in Perry's back yard and spoke to packed houses in San Antonio and in Austin. He raised millions more to attack Romney's business credentials and left later that night -- without making a single apology.
This is not the Democratic Party we're used to.