Romney's Smoking Gun Picture

Does Mitt Romney have a political death wish?  When I heard him utter the phrase, "There are plenty of reasons to vote against Mitt Romney...," I cringed, imagining endless repetition of this sound byte in the attack ads that will be the basis of the Obama re-election campaign, funded with hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign cash.

Why on earth would a smart guy like Romney hand Obama a video moment so damaging to his cause?

Then there is this, a picture surfaced from the past, and certain to become ubiquitous once the GOP is committed to Mitt:


It comes from a 2008 set of articles in the Boston Globe, so it is hardly obscure.  The picture was taken during Mitt's days at Bain Capital, where a group of very smart guys, intoxicated with all the money they were earning by buying up faltering companies (with other people's money) and fixing them (in classic Harvard Business School fashion), made a lot of money.

I can understand the cultural milieu from which this picture sprang, for I graduated from Harvard Business School the year after Mitt did, and like him, I was a Baker Scholar, courted by the highest-paying recruiters who trolled the graduating classes looking for bright, hardworking talent.  In that era, Bain &Company (the consulting firm which birthed Bain Capital as a means of acquiring much bigger bucks than the high wages of a consultant on an hourly billing scheme) was one of the highest-paying, along with Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company.  Bain was known for placing a particular emphasis on brains and aggression, and it paid slightly more than its rivals, being newer and (at the time) less established.

The "game" being played by HBS grads was scored by wealth earned and accumulated, and a few years out, when Bain Capital really started scoring, Mitt and his pals no doubt felt like winners.  There was also an element of self-satire going on, no doubt.  At the Business School, we were so used to being vilified as crass capitalist exploiters (at the main graduation ceremony for the entire university held in Harvard Yard, when Harvard Business School graduates are asked to stand, by tradition the other assembled students loudly hiss), that a certain in-your-face attitude developed.  I have no doubt that the Bain boys thought they were enacting a hilarious parody of what others saw in them.  At least in part.  The other part was giddiness and pride at being rich.

But this picture speaks more than a thousand words in the campaign that will be coming if Mitt is the nominee. Mitt Romney is a heartless rich guy, who closed down factories and offices, throwing people out of work, solely to enrich himself and his cronies. Courtesy of this visual aid, the sales will be closed with a substantial segment of the voting public, who resent the big-money, well-connected Wall Street types who are financial manipulators.

For the moment, the picture is not being touted much by the left, though Gawker ran with it late last week.  Obviously, this ammunition is being saved for the moment when it is too late for the GOP to change horses.

Is Mitt Romney really the most electable member of the GOP field? 

This campaign is not going to be fought mostly on the basis of ideas.  A plan to rehabilitate the economy consisting of dozens of points will simply be too complicated to explain, especially when a picture summarizes the Obama critique: Romney is a rich guy who doesn't care about you -- only about getting rich and flaunting it, when he thinks most Americans are not looking.

As if to drive home the Democrat critique, for inexplicable reasons during an election campaign, Romney announced a plan to tear down a mere 12-million-dollar beach house in swanky La Jolla, to replace it with a dwelling four times as large.  That is literally livin' large.  Sure, it would make a great summer White House, but that's getting ahead of ourselves, isn't it?

Is the Romney family really so desperate for housing space that they are willing to hand Obama another visual symbol of how rich and out of touch he is?

Romney, we are told by establishment Republicans, is the smart choice for nominee, because his moderate positions (such as implementing the prototype for ObamaCare) will appeal to independent voters.  Maybe so, but Mitt has handed his enemies propaganda gold in a campaign that promises to be the dirtiest ever, and fought by the other side over issues of personality, against an incumbent who, however inept his presidency may be, is still liked by a majority of the public.

Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.

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