For weeks, all we've heard in reference to the media/Obama-led attacks against Romney's so-called outsourcing and offshore accounts is the following: "Romney needs to respond… Romney doesn’t have a response… It's time for Romney to respond." Across the media spectrum, we've heard this from Obama's Media Palace Guards on Twitter, in op-eds disguised as straight news, and from television's talking heads. The media has quite purposefully turned this call for Romney to respond into an incessant drumbeat. But…
It's a trap.
You see, the outsourcing charge is a bald-faced lie and the offshore-account charge is nothing more than a smear. It was the Washington Post that started the outsourcing lie and it was an Occupy-supporter in Vanity Fair who started the offshore-account smear.
A lie is a lie is a lie.
And a lie can't gain much traction because, other than the false charge, there's nothing else for the corrupt media to talk about. But one way to extend a false narrative is to pressure the victim of the lie to respond. A response automatically gives the narrative another few days of life, but as a result only does more damage to the victim. Therefore… a trap.
By not responding, the Romney campaign played a nerve-wracking (for his supporters) game of chicken but ultimately made the wise decision not to feed this narrative fire -- to not be the ones who gave the lies artificial life through the pointless act of trying to prove a negative.
And today, polls show Romney made the exact right decision:
Two things have become clear in the presidential race over the past month. One, it's evident that President Obama's campaign team believes, with good justification, that attacking Romney's record at Bain Capital to portray him as a wealthy, out-of-touch millionaire is their most effective line of attack. Second, it's becoming clear that the attacks are doing more to buy the Obama campaign time than seriously change the trajectory of the race.
For all the attention paid to the effectiveness of President Obama's Bain-themed attacks, it's remarkable how Obama has been stuck right around 47 percent for a very long time. As the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza documented, the president's team has handily outspent Romney and his allied super PACs, pouring in $91 million into eight swing states in an early spending barrage intended to make Romney seem an unacceptable challenger. But for all that effort, the numbers haven't moved much at all: The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows the race deadlocked at 47 percent. Yesterday's USA Today/Gallup swing state poll showed Obama statistically tied with Romney, the exact same result the survey showed one month ago.
Meanwhile, in the coming months, Romney should have a spending advantage, having significantly outraised Obama over the last two months. Along with the RNC, the campaign has $160 million cash-on-hand, a total that will likely be greater than the Obama team's money. (The Obama campaign tellingly didn't release their cash-on-hand figures.) That will allow Romney to match or surpass Obama on the airwaves, having survived a period when he was outgunned.
One of the pieces of bait the media used to try and get Romney to respond was to bring up the damage the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to John Kerry in '04. The myth is that Kerry ignored the criticism of his war record for too long and that this cost him the election.
But that is a myth. The difference between the Swift Boat Vets questioning Kerry's biography about his time in Vietnam and the media/Obama led outsource/offshore attacks is that the Vets were telling the truth and Obama and the media are lying. There's absolutely no upside for Romney to breathe life into a false narrative from a defensive crouch. None.
According to that new Washington Post poll, both men are tied at 47/47. But had a gullible Romney blinked and been fooled into letting himself get wrapped 'round the axle of these false charges, not only would the media have blown both stories up into something much bigger and longer-lasting (which is why they were begging Romney to respond), but today's poll numbers would likely look entirely different. Obama and the media had set up a no-win situation.
But what they didn’t count on was Romney refusing to play.
If you look at the state of the race today, we have 119 days to the election, Romney and the Republicans raised $106 million last month, $35 million more than Obama and the Democrats.
Obama has already spent a ton of money and begun to punch himself out with his best attacks.
Romney, however, hasn't even gotten started and has 16 weeks to expose before the voting public this president's failed record. And to do so only after people are paying attention.
The media is brilliant at creating a false reality that has nothing to do with what's happening out there in the world. If you watch CNN and MSNBC, you would think the roof was caving in on Romney over outsourcing and his personal wealth, but that's what the media wants us to believe in order to control the narrative and to get Romney to dance to their tune.
Thank heaven, Romney isn't falling for it.
Right now it's Obama who's acting erratic and panicked and like a loser, not Romney.
I like our chances and I love the discipline I'm seeing from Team Romney.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC