Mitt Romney is in the middle of a tour that involves the U.K., which is what we are supposed to call England when we are being political, Israel, because Republicans now must kowtow to Israel in person rather than simply at AIPAC fundraisers, and Poland?
Why is Romney going to Poland? I'm not the only person to ask that question -- The Atlantic did, too, and answered the question with "missile defense" and "Polish-Americans":
Polish-American voters: Romney may be hoping to score points with American voters of Polish extraction, who happen to be concentrated in many of the Midwestern states that could be crucial to his campaign. As of the 2000 Census, the state with the largest proportion of Polish voters was Wisconsin, with a nearly 10 percent Polish-American population; Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire were also in the top 10, and Ohio had more than 400,000 Polish Americans. These white ethnic Catholic voters are the classic Reagan Democrats who have soured on Obama, and whom Romney is trying to capture.
Remember when McCain chose Palin to run for VP because he thought women would vote for her solely because she's a woman? Remember when Dick Cheney just a few days ago openly acknowledged that the GOP ought to pay attention to sex and ethnicity in picking a VP? Now, the GOP thinks you will vote for Romney if (A) you have Polish heritage and (B) he goes to Poland.
That might we the worst Polish joke ever told: How many Polish people does it take to convince a Polish-American to pay attention to nothing but where Mitt Romney went on his summer vacation when it comes time to vote?
Romney's campaign swing has more to do with the Olympics and fundraising than foreign policy; his horse was taking part in Rhythmic Horse Gymnastics, and he was meeting bankers at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London. Among his guests, there? Louis Bacon, founder of Moore Capital Management and hedge fund billionaire, and Karl Peterson, head of European operations for the Texas Pacific Group, a private equity firm.
(There was also a Bain Capital manager, in case you were wondering.)
Louis Bacon is described in some places as "super-secretive," so he and Romney probably traded some gripes about how the public always demands to know where a presidential candidate is squirreling away his offshore income to avoid taxes.
A piece on Louis Bacon in February by CNN Money says Bacon doesn't want to reveal details of his finances (SOUND FAMILIAR?) as required by the Dodd-Frank law; Bacon is so loathe to provide legally-required disclosures that he might close up shop entirely.
Bacon's company was fined -- $25,000,000, one of the largest fines ever -- for failing to supervise traders who were manipulating markets. (Romney's meeting with Bacon comes in London, which is LIBOR-Gate central). Another of Bacon's traders was arrested two years ago in insider trading scandals. And Bacon had a guy die in his hot tub in the Bahamas-- but it's okay, CNN Money points out, because the crooked people working for Bacon were cheating mostly for their own gain, and the dead guy wasn't Bacon's fault, even if he was decomposed by the time anybody reported it.
Bacon's secrecy appears to be legendary in the industry, so you didn't hear much about how JPMorgan's London Whale hurt Moore Capital, Bacon's company, with the risky trading that somehow still is allowed under regulations that are supposed to ban risky trading. But you were able to learn, in CNNMoney, that annually Bacon's assistant negotiates an allowance with Bacon's children, and once they come to terms, each child is invited to a "sit-down" chat with Bacon. (Bacon told CNN Money the story was erroneous:
"I strongly disagree with this characterization. My longtime assistant has assisted me in collating financial records of my kids in order to come up with a budget upon which I base their allowances after my meeting with them, the kids. She has also helped in actually paying for their bills when there have been issues and straightened out bank accounts given the headaches of dealing with banks in two countries in two currencies."
He said, and didn't bother correcting the "sit-down" part, so far as I could see.
So while I was wondering when presidential candidates started having to campaign in Europe, and The Atlantic was explaining that the GOP thinks its voters care about nothing beyond where Grandpa came from and did Mitt go there, was the press bothering to report on Mitt's ultrasecret meetings with UltraSecret Hedge Fund Billionaire Louis Bacon?
But aren't you glad you know what Mitt thinks of the London Olympics? Let's get votin'!