2012: It's Bain Capital vs. Obama Capital
I've been worrying for months about Romney and the Bain Capital problem. How was Romney, if nominated for President of the United States, going to deal with Democrats trying to hang Bain Capital layoffs round his neck? Paul Kengor goes into great detail on this.
This week Mitt Romey, in an "informal" campaign plane interview, showed us how it is going to be done. Said he:
Well, I'd like to look at Barack Obama's record, and so as we talk about my experience in the private sector, I'll talk about his experience... he's now been a venture capitalist in Solyndra, Fisker, the Tesla... and he's been a private equity guy in General Motors and Chrysler, so I'll be talking about his record when I'm facing him.
Why didn't I think of that? But Human Events' John Hayward got really annoyed with Romney. Obama a "venture capitalist?" he fumed. Try crony capitalist!
Barack Obama is not a "venture capitalist" with a "record in the private sector." The compulsory extraction of funding from taxpayers by force, to fund massive expenditures on politically favored companies run by top Obama campaign contributors, is not "venture capitalism." It's not really capitalism at all, although the term "crony capitalism" has become popular for describing it.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I got a warm feeling when I saw Romney's "unscripted" remarks. I saw genius at work somewhere deep in the brains of the Romney campaign.
Look at the different angles you can take on Romney's remark. You can talk about the failure of Solyndra and the jobs lost by venture capitalist Barack. Or you can talk about the utter futility of the government spending our money on speculative ventures. Or you can talk about all the green investment getting ladled out to companies owned by Obama crony contributors. Whenever you get to the end of the failures of Obama the genius venture capitalist, you can start to talk about the crook deals at GM and Chrysler, where Obama the LBO specialist subverted the legal bankruptcy procedures to favor Obama supporters, and the pension funds of ordinary Americans were stiffed to hand a favor to union supporters in the auto industry. Then you can go onto Obama the Chicago enforcer, and his National Labor Relations Board that told Boeing that it would be a real shame if something happened to its non-union plant in South Carolina. The whole thing aligns perfectly with the Romney "economic failure" narrative.
Anyway, according to the Good Cop/Bad Cop approach to politics, Romney the candidate is not supposed to get down and dirty on Obama's brilliant record as a venture capitalist and a private equity guy. He's supposed to regret that he's a failure and leave it at that. The job of folks like John Hayward is to do the drama-queen act. For others, there's the question: Do you want the government using your money to fund startup companies and bail out troubled corporations? Or would you rather have rich investors risk their money instead?
Either way, plenty of the startups and the turnaround deals are going to fail, and when they do jobs will be lost. That's not just the way capitalism works; it's the way life works. But the wonderful thing about capitalists picking economic winners and losers is that they are better than politicians.
Here's what I think. I'm almost on the same page as President Obama. I think we need America's millionaires and billionaires to spend just a little more on creating jobs with venture capital and saving jobs with well-planned LBO turnarounds.
There is no doubt that Democrats are right at least in this. It's the little people that suffer when capitalism comes calling with its "creative destruction" motto, and you can understand the worker that wished that Mitt Romney "had just left us alone." But it is not just capitalists that won't leave people alone. Government activists are playing the same game when they promise to "fundamentally change America" and it turns out they mean dividing America with class warfare. It's the little people that suffer when politicians divide the country over race or class, and it's the little people that got screwed when the ruling class's affordable housing policy crashed and burned in the Crash of 2008.
If Democrats want to fight a class war over Bain Capital, I say bring it on. We've got to fight the class warfare battle to a decision sooner or later, and it might as well be 2012, after four years of stupidity by Obama the Keynesian economist, four years of bankrupt startups from Obama the green venture capitalist and four years of government bailouts that privatize profits and socialize losses -- from Obama the private equity guy.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.