With the Obama campaign just now starting to get into full swing, and starting to define its opponent (a key task of any presidential campaign), Mitt Romney has taken a lot of heat lately over his work at Bain Capital.
It started during the Republican primaries, if you recall, when his Republican opponents, desperate to find something to bring him down, used Bain to brand him a job-destroying vulture capitalist — which he was. He weathered that storm largely because his opponents were so awful, such bad messengers, but also because Republicans, and particularly the extremists who vote in the party’s primaries, aren’t terribly comfortable with anything that smacks of a critique of capitalism, including of the ugly vulture variety. (“He made a shitload of money destroying other people? Good for him! God bless America!”)
But things are much more difficult for him now: Obama is vastly superior to Republicans like Gingrich and Santorum, the campaign’s gone national, people are starting to pay attention, and independents and others not on the Republican right are — oh, how shall I put it? — less forgiving of Romney’s practices. It’s not that he’s made a lot of money, not that he’s been a “successful” businessman, it’s how he made that money — and how he continues to make it given his ongoing ties to Bain (and of course what he’s done with it since).
And recently it’s been reported very publicly that Bain made a lot of money, with Romney benefitting in huge ways, by outsourcing jobs. As the The Washington Post put it:
Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.
During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
On top of that, making matters worse, there’s been “aborted fetus-gate,” suggesting that Romney and Bain would do anything for a buck (or, rather, millions of bucks).
As far as I’m concerned, this is all fair game. Just as Romney’s finances (tax returns, tax shelters in Switzerland and the Caymans, etc.) should be out in the open, so should his work at Bain — what he did when he was there and how he’s continued to profit off its activities in the years since.
And I think it’s a winning issue for Obama, who can draw a clear distinction between what he’s done to bring the country back from the edge of the abyss and Romney’s bloodthirsty business record. And if Romney actually wants to push back on it, defending his record and his tenure at Bain, so much the better:
The Romney campaign will begin to aggressively push back against President Obama’s accusations that the Republican was an “outsourcing pioneer” today, a source privy to the the campaign’s strategy told BuzzFeed.
As Obama’s predecessor might have said… Bring. It. On.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)