Romney in London: the Gaffe and the Graft

Robert Borosage

The press has had a field day highlighting British reactions to Romney’s mild criticism of the Olympic preparations. Tory P.M David Cameron slaps him down. London Mayor Boris Johnson scorns him before a crowd of 60,000. Tabloid press goes off. Much tut-tutting on how this undermines his foreign policy credentials, etc.

But the real deal isn’t the gaffe, it’s the graft. Follow the money, not the mumbling. Romney trots off to London and spends Thursday night in a high-dollar fund-raiser hosted by Barclays Bank officials. Bob Diamond, the disgraced former CEO of Barclays, withdrew as the event’s host only when he became implicated in the investigation on how Barclays conspired with other banks to rig the LIBOR rate, thereby shafting credit card holders, car owners with auto loans, and millions of other investors and borrowers. But the event went on, apparently raising a couple million dollars for the Romney campaign. Patrick Durkin, Washington lobbyist for Barclays, remained a co-host and has raised $1.1 million for the Romney campaign.

Barclays executives have donated more than $1 million for Romney’s campaign themselves, and were in attendance in large numbers at the $25,000 a plate dinner (although prices were apparently slashed to a bargain $10,000 a plate to boost attendance).

Think of the gaffe as “strategery“ successfully distracting attention from the real scandal. Romney using a London trip to raise money from banksters under investigation for what has been called the financial “crime of the century.” Romney’s boorish remarks on the preparations for the Olympics get the headlines. The real outrage—that he continues to pocket money from bankers implicated in an utterly corrupt and criminal conspiracy— goes without much notice.

Why isn’t there a chorus of voices demanding that Romney give the money back?

Why? Because everyone knows Wall Street is funding the campaigns. And Romney, an advocate for repealing even the modest reforms passed to curb Wall Street’s excesses, is the biggest beneficiary.

Comments