Looking at Bain Capital is perfectly acceptable…here’s why.
Is Bain Capital Romney’s bane?
It seems like the conservative punditry think that any questioning of Romney’s activities at Bain are not just an attack on Romney but an attack on Capitalism itself. That we should just grin and bare it, Romney is the only guy that is capable of winning against Obama.
I’ll start with the last claim first. To say Romney is the only one that can win, is pretty defeatist already. In a year of high unemployment, low GDP growth, and low POTUS approval ratings, if the GOP platform is soooo weak that only a liberal Republican from the NE (which makes him pretty Liberal in the rest of the country) is your only hope, why are you even playing?
Romney claims that he is the only guy because he is the most electable. Well what if that claim is a myth. John Hawkins seems to think so. Here’s the most relevent.
4) His advantages disappear in a general election: It’s actually amazing that Mitt Romney isn’t lapping the whole field by 50 points because he has every advantage. Mitt has been running for President longer than the other contenders. He has more money and a better organization than the other candidates. The party establishment and inside the beltway media are firmly in his corner. That’s why the other nominees have been absolutely savaged while Romney, like John McCain before him, has been allowed to skate through the primaries without receiving serious scrutiny.
Yet, every one of those advantages disappears if he becomes the nominee. Suddenly Obama will be the more experienced candidate in the race for the presidency. He will also have more money and a better organization than Mitt. Moreover, in a general election, the establishment and beltway media will be aligned against Romney, not for him. Suddenly, Romney will go from getting a free pass to being public enemy #1 for the entire mainstream media.
If you took all those advantages away from Romney in the GOP primary, he’d be fighting with Jon Huntsman to stay out of last place. So, what happens when he’s the nominee and suddenly, all the pillars that have barely kept him propped up in SECOND place so far are suddenly removed? It may not be pretty.
On the issue of Bain, did it get a bailout? While Politico has shown itself to be nothing more than a HuffPo like arm of the DNC, stories like this will have a hard time being explained away. While Team Romney’s explanation is technically true, the optics of it are bad, very bad. In the modern political climate, if Romney can’t explain it in a way that appeals to the average, economically illiterate voter in less than 30 seconds then it’s a net negative that Obama will gladly hang around his neck with a very willing media to do the dirty work. (Got to save all that “small donor” lucre for community organizing and making sure the dead get to vote.)
There are plenty more reasons for why Romney’s electability might be a myth but I won’t go into them now. Suffice to say the only real person trying to hold back the GOP lemmings from jumping off a cliff for Mitt is Prof Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. Make sure you have him on your daily blogroll.
Now lets look at the charge that an attack on Bain is an attack on Capitalism itself. Looking at the claim, it just doesn’t make sense on its face. It doesn’t follow that the business practice of one firm are representative of the whole. A good analogy that is use is this. Questioning the methods of Michael Mann, the Hockey Stick illusion, does not represent an attack on Science in general. That’s the kind of attack the Left usually makes, equating one for the whole. So while the conservative punditry are busy saying that Perry’s and Newt’s attacks on Bain are Leftish tactics…it can equally be said of their attacks as well.
The truth is, in order to make things better overall you need feedback. Whether Newt’s and Perry’s attacks are true, partially true or out right fabrications, they provide a feedback mechanism for correction. Is Romney the best guy given the hostile climate he will have to face from Obama, Democrats and the Democrat leaning MSM? Again I have to hand it over to Prof Jacobson:
In response to this entirely legitimate point being raised that a predatory history of investing may not be what we want in the nominee for the presidency, we have a chorus of voices asserting that Newt is attacking capitalism. Some of those voices long have hated and vented venom at Newt, others are less ideological and have reacted as if the entire capitalist system were under attack.
It’s sad to see so many in the Republican Party so incapable of distinguishing between economic and political arguments.