Obama's sleaziest ad yet: Romney kinda sorta killed a man's wife by closing down his steel plant

Please, spare me the objection that this comes from The One’s Super PAC, not his formal campaign, and therefore it’s technically not an “Obama ad.” That excuse never flew for Romney when his own Super PAC was carpet-bombing Gingrich and Santorum in the primaries. The wall of separation between a campaign and its PAC is all but invisible to the naked eye. If you think it’s easy for the White House to get Harry Reid to smear Romney over his tax returns, imagine how easy it must be for them to get former White House spokesman and current Priorities USA honcho Bill Burton to fling feces like this.

They won’t attack him for being Mormon (I hope), so calling him a murderer will have to do:

The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action lobbed a heavy-duty attack at Mitt Romney this morning, airing an ad that links the closure of a GST Steel plant in Kansas City to the loss of a family’s health insurance — and the death of a woman some time later…

In the case of this particularly jarring super PAC ad, it may also be relevant that Soptic’s wife died in 2006, years after the GST factory closed down

I asked Priorities USA strategist Bill Burton to explain the connection between Romney, Bain and a cancer fatality that happened near the end of Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts. The lapse in time between the plant closing and Soptic’s death doesn’t mean the ad is invalid, but it raises questions about the cause and effect relationship here.

“We’re illustrating how long it took for communities and individuals to recover from the closing of these businesses,” Burton responded. “Families and individuals had to find new jobs, new sources of health insurance and a way to make up for the pensions they lost. Mitt Romney has had an enduring impact on the lives of thousands of men and women and for many of them, that impact has been devastating.”

Romney stopped doing work for Bain in 1999; the steel plant in question here closed down in 2001; Soptic’s wife passed away in 2006; and yet, Romney’s somehow culpable. Perfection. You know what’s really interesting about this spot? It’s not even a health-care ad. It’d be sleazy under any circumstances, but there’d at least be a concrete policy angle if Burton was selling it as an argument for, say, single-payer, to decouple insurance from employment. He’s not. There appears to be no actual policy argument here at all, unless The One now opposes layoffs on principle, for fear that someone somewhere might be left without insurance. Is that where our very pro-business president — seriously, just ask him — is now at? As John Sexton says, does this mean O himself is on the hook until 2014 for any deaths that resulted from GM dealerships being closed in 2009? I thought workers bore some responsibility to find a new job with insurance after they’re laid off, but if he wants to take the blame for human tragedies at Government Motors, fine by me.

I have to say, though, it’s a comfort to me to know that Hopenchange will be well and truly shattered come November, no matter what happens on election day. Even if he pulls it out, after a campaign like this the idea that he and his team represent some sort of new, more exalted form of politics will be fully exposed for the joke that it is. His second term won’t be better, but at least people won’t be kidding themselves anymore, if any still are. There’s some small consolation in that.