One must be fair to Mitt Romney. Without doubt, he was the pick of the litter among those running in the Republican primaries. Stacked up against Michele the Swiss Miss, I’m-righter-than-thou Rick, Herman the pizza mogul motivator, and Newt the…(but let’s not go there, this is a family-oriented web site), Romney appeared a virtual Lincoln. Still, he’s a strangely credentialed candidate for the presidency.
Almost all past candidates for this post ran either on successful political or military records. Romney never served in the military, and is running away from his signature achievement as Massachusetts governor (Romneycare) as often and as fulsomely as possible. His chosen prime qualification in the present campaign is his business experience, one that largely consisted of work with Bain Capital, a Wall Street private equity-cum-vulture fund.
The obvious problem here is that most Americans have very negative feelings toward Wall Street. And while Bain is not an investment bank of the kind most directly responsible for the 2008 financial bust that has brought this country (and much of the world) such a painful and protracted recession, Bain’s own businesses benefited greatly from this greed and arrogance-fueled fiasco. If investment banks can be viewed as the predators that created the mess, the likes of Baine can be viewed as outfits that feed copiously off the resulting victims.
Labeling Romney as “a Wall Street guy” thus makes him vulnerable in all sorts of ways to Obama operatives, who while proven bumblers when it comes to actual governance, have nonetheless proven excellent campaigners.
The specifics of some Bain operations, and Romney’s relations to that firm, are beginning to generate their own nasty sound bites. Like whether he was an active player at Bain, as filings with the SEC suggest, during a period when that company was firing and outsourcing American workers, or whether he was (as he claims) inactive there in this period and thus not a job-killing perp — a critical distinction since his campaign is largely built on positioning himself as a “job creator.”
What’s true here? False? Half true, half false? Really relevant? And do questions like this actually matter when presidential campaigns can be won or lost based on this likes of swift boat and Willie Horton accusations?
If Obama ultimately manages to overcome the massive conservative Super-PAC avalanche now in the process of gathering steam, and wins a second term, I think it’s pretty clear that Bain will prove the Baine of the Romney campaign. Though in truth, Romney”s religion, which is anathema to many traditional Republican voters, his country club demeanor, his almost comical lack of a common touch, and his super rich guy tax finagling, certainly won’t help either.
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