When it comes to the national campaign for the presidency of this country, newly minted GOP candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican Party do not seem to have found the knack for transforming attacks by the Democratic Party into counterattacks.
First, there is the recent abortion issue, in which Democrats have accused some Republicans of being soulless because they do not accept the rape exemption in their anti-abortion stance. As a counterattack, Republicans could charge that Democrats, including the president himself, have embraced partial-birth abortions, which amount to infanticide. As Justice Anthony M. Kennedy described it in a Supreme Court opinion, the procedure is one in which "the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of [the infant's] head." Now, who do you think will win that battle, a soulless Republican advocating the preservation of an innocent infant's life, or a heartless Democrat embracing partial-birth abortion in which a living infant, with his feet kicking, is killed by having a pair of scissors stuck into the back of his head?
Then we have the issue of Mr. Romney's tax returns. Democrats have accused Mr. Romney of failing to file tax returns for 10 years. As a counterattack, Mr. Romney could suggest that he might consider the release of one or more additional tax returns if President Obama releases all relevant documents about the Justice Department's Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, all relevant documents about the recent White House leaks of highly classified secrets to the new media and, for good measure, his own college transcripts. I do not think that the Democratic Party would accept such an offer.
Finally, we come to the dog issue, in which Democrats have accused Mr. Romney of being cruel to animals because he once transported his dog in a container on the top of his car. Well, whatever one may say about that, the dog did not end up on Mr. Romney's dinner table.
In politics, an effective counterattack to an opponent's charge is better than a simple defense. Maybe defense won the Battle of Gettysburg for the Union, but that strategy does not carry over to matters of politics.
HARRISON E. MCCANDLISH
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years