The Bomb

I trust Josh Marshall’s instincts for powerful media narratives a great deal, so I will pass along this flare he just sent up:

’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it….

Whatever harsh message you’re trying to prove — out of touch with lives of ordinary Americans, plays by a different set of rules, isn’t focused on America and American workers — it fits right in.

Set aside all questions of legality. And I think Romney’s probably too smart and close to the vest to break any laws. But how do you explain it? What’s the good explanation?

Do you seek the safe harbor of Romney’s 15% tax rate?…

Once the Dems have saturated the public with the offshore tax haven story, Romney is going to be really, really hard pressed not to release a lot more of his tax returns. A lot.

I’ll add just two thoughts. The first is that some observers may think this “story” was already aired during the primaries, and didn’t get much traction. But like a lot of attacks on Romney by his GOP rivals, the punches were pulled more than a bit on anything that might get the attacker ostracized for “criticizing capitalism.”

Second, this is the sort of attack-line that will work better in some parts of the country than others. But where it will work best is in the midwest, and Mitt can scarce afford getting skunked in that entire region.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.