Election 2016

Will Romney Repeat the Palin Strategy and Choose Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi for VP?

The woman who punted on the foreclosure crisis makes the short list. Word is, she's dumber than Palin.

Photo Credit: Flickr

A wee personsal confession: in 2008, I was not terribly interested in politics. I had a proud history of making protest votes for President, back to voting for Jack Anderson. I was not keen about Obama, although I weakly preferred him to Hillary because…..she’d bring back the old Clinton finance team. But if you had forced me to state my views as of that summer, I would have said I was less keen about McCain.

Something possessed me to watch the VP acceptance speech for the Republicans. About 20 minutes into watching Palin, I was so appalled that I left my TV and went to my computer to make a small donation to Obama.

I gather I was not alone. The Democrats got 8x as much as the Republicans in the 24 hours following her debut as the official Republican VP nominee.

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This election, despite Romney’s shambolic Presidential campaign (his London gaffes were epic), he’s running neck and neck with Obama. The fact that he has any hope is due to Obama’s fealty to big corporate interests, particularly banks, and his neoliberal instincts. In early 2009, with the financiers cowed and desperate, and the country eager for a new direction, Obama could have taken far more decisive steps to right the economy. But again and again, Obama has sold out ordinary citizens, from folding on a proposal to end the preferential treatment of incomes of private equity magnates (they structure their deals to get capital gains treatment when they have no capital at risk), to pushing through a mortgage settlement that did perilous little for borrowers but served as a back door bailout to banks, or his enriching Big Pharma and the health care insurer though the ACA.

But Romney may be determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of a possible victory. Business Insider reports that the newest addition to the list of possible VP candidates is…Florida’s Pam Bondi. We’ve refrained from writing about her at NC merely because there seemed to be far more important targets. But contrast her conduct as the AG of one of the ground zeros of the foreclosure crisis, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Shortly after the robosigning scandal broke, Masto got legislation passed that made it a crime (a felony) to file improper paperwork with the courts, subject to 10 years in jail and fines of $10,000 per violation. (Note that this legislation did not change the legal requirement for foreclosure; it simply criminalized failure to comply. What did Bondi do? She fired two staffers in her office who were taking document fraud seriously.

Per Business Insider, this is what recommends her:

• She’s a woman. And she’s young. While the Romney campaign is said to be looking for experience and gravitas, there are obvious demographic advantages to picking someone who can appeal to women and young people.

• She’s from Florida. Bondi could give Romney a much-needed advantage in the crucial swing state.

• She tried to take down Obamacare — and almost won. Bondi was the lead attorney general in the lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. With her as VP, Romney would have one less problem to deal with.

• She’s really pretty.

The Romney campaign is getting her to stump for him in the Northeast on a limited basis.

The article warns that she’s probably not high on the prospect list and selecting her would invite a firestorm of Palin comparisons. Contacts in Florida say that Palin is probably smarter than Bondi (one wonders how she graduated from law school if true) and that her prior career as a prosecutor in Hillsboro County was light on actually filing cases and heavy on acting as a spokesperson.

So in the unlikely-but-not-impossible outcome that Bondi gets the nod, one can imagine that the campaign will portray her asleep-at-the-switch on the foreclosure fraud beat as a great plus. MBS Guy notes:

There is something so perfect about Romney picking a VP who would help him win the anti-”deadbeat borrower” vote. It seems fitting that the foreclosure crisis should be part of the election story – but in a totally bizarro way.

With Bondi as his running mate, Romney could paint Obama as the candidate who did too much to help deadbeat borrowers, and worsen the housing crisis, by stretching out foreclosures via the AG foreclosure settlement.

I think that would help ensure that neither candidate would say anything remotely truthful on issues like housing and the economy.

One has to assume that if the Romney campaign were to go for a woman candidate, Condi Rice would trump Bondi handily. But the fact that Bondi has been added to the list seems mighty peculiar, unless this is a device to build a relationship with her and dangle other shiny toys before he so she’ll stump hard for Romney in Florida.


Yves Smith is the founder of Naked Capitalism and the author of "ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism."