Being Successful is Romney's Greatest Appeal
Ann Romney gave a moving speech at the convention Tuesday night, reaching out to connect to voters on a person to person basis, with warmth, humor and good nature. She was expressing one of the bedrock American values. We are all human beings, rich and poor, all created equal. Ann Romney reminded us of that, making us better people.
The message was lost on liberal commentators. "She's a very rich lady," Juan Williams sniffed on the Fox election coverage panel, dismissing her speech out of hand.
Democrats think it's wrong to generalize and dislike poor people or gay people or blacks, but generalizing and disliking wealthy, successful people is just fine with them. Obama's main hope of re-election is to exploit people's resentment and distrust of rich people, as out of touch, greedy and unfair. In the words of a liberal friend I spoke to before the convention: "I don't like the 1%. The pie is a fixed size, and they're taking too much of it." This is a not only a strange vision of America, it is also prejudice, and Obama is promoting it for everything he is worth.
"Rich" in the Democrat lexicon has become a dirty word. According to Gallup, half of Democrats think that "the rich" don't benefit the economy. Free enterprise has bad connotations. Republicans want to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, the heartless bastards.
Jay Cost believes this strategy is working among the undecided voters in the swing states, giving Obama a 1-4% boost in the key states that will decide the election.
The opposite is true: the very qualities that made Romney rich, will enable him to help the entire country regain its prosperity. Romney's success, presented accurately by Republicans, should not be a deficit with voters. It is his greatest asset. He became rich by creating and leading teams of people in pursuit of real world economic success. Those same leadership skills will make him a great, perhaps a historic, President.
The way America works, is that when you realize your Dream, it helps others reach their dreams. That was the theme of the convention's opening night. Individuals make their own success, but add together all those realized American Dreams, and the result is a prosperous country for all. (They might add, a prosperity that enables a generous safety net, from family, church, community and government.)
The convention speakers - their life stories, their values, their political agenda - were an embodiment of E Pluribus Unum. The Republican/Tea Party vision includes everyone: poor, middle class and wealthy Americans, men and women, black and white and brown. Romney - Mr. FixIt - is not just capable, but a good, caring man who helps others as naturally as he breathes. He is a person we can trust with the country.
How accurate is this narrative? I've read four biographies of Romney. Romney's life story -- if those swing voters would even learn a bare outline -- would fill them with confidence.
The night I heard Romney's stump speech in my town, the audience couldn't clap and cheer enough to express its enthusiasm. The leadership our country needs are exactly those qualities that made Romney rich as a businessman, that he demonstrated as Governor of Massachusetts and rescuer of the Olympics after 9/11. His practicality and focus on prosperity are a breath of hope. His understanding of the American Dream, because he has lived it and believes it is everyone's birthright, is truly inspiring. Romney is capable of fostering a booming economy that will create jobs for all. No able bodied adult is relegated to a hopeless life of government dependence. The same message of promise for everyone.
Let's look at Mitt Romney's accomplishments. We will see a man of extraordinary drive and ability, who loves hard problems. Romney is a rescuer, of a colleague's daughter, of failed companies, of our country. Romney's specialty is taking ailing companies and growing them into huge job and money success stories. His biggest insight as a businessman is that people are the most important asset of any business. Romney measures the value of ideas by whether or not they work in the real world. He is exactly what America is looking for at this moment in our history.
This is a man who inherited a fortune and gave every penny of it away. Think about that. Romney wanted to prove he could be a self-made success, based on his own hard work and capability. He chose to go to Harvard Law and Business school at the same time, and won honors in both. His very first job out of school was for a highly competitive management consulting group. Two years later he was hired away by Bain & Company, and after five years he was hungry for a company of his own to run, and created a spin-off investment firm, Bain Capital. He will apply this same ability and leadership drive to confront and master the huge problems facing our country. We need someone of this caliber, and are lucky to have him.
Romney's chosen field was to rescue failing companies. It was a high risk business. He didn't seek the safe path, but the path of doing something hard, of building businesses up to the heights from the bottom floor or even from the basement of bankruptcy. His successes are household names: Staples, Sports Authority, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Brookstone, AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Dunk' Donuts, Sealy, Toys 'R Us, Warner Music Group, Totes, and The Weather Channel.
Romney and his team invested in steel companies, medical equipment companies, high tech research. In 1994 Bain invested in Steel Dynamics, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and grew it to the fifth largest in the U.S.A., employing about 6,100 people. One of Romney's first investments was in a single store called Staples. Romney personally tutored and guided the owner of Staples for a decade. Today Staples has over 2000 stores and 89,000 employees.
Romney built Bain Capital during the period when globalization began. It was not a good time in America. Suddenly American companies were not competitive. They were laying off workers, and going out of business. Romney was one of the stars in rebooting the American economy. The approach Romney developed was to recognize that a company's greatest strength was the people running it. He did not give businesses money alone, but guided them with his own expert team to help them build a successful team of their own, with the brains, know-how and proven techniques to succeed. This human-centered approach was so widely copied that University of Chicago economist Steven Kaplan would later say that Bain "came up with a model that was very successful and very innovative and that now everybody uses."
The Wall St. Journal writes, in "Bain Capital Saved America," the
1980s, including Bain, were the remarkable years when an ever-resilient America found a way to save itself from becoming what Europe is now-- a global has-been. ... It caused a positive revolution in U.S. management, financial analysis, incentives, governance and market-based discipline. It led directly to the 1990s boom years.
The top three companies Romney saved and grew eventually created jobs for well over 100,000 American families. Think of this man at the helm of our economy. Look at Romney's accomplishments -- you see entry level jobs, jobs for high school dropouts, for the educated, for the middle class. Romney doesn't just talk about jobs, opportunity, growth, prosperity like other politicians. He understands how to bring those good things into people's lives. He has walked the walk.
Of course it made him rich. That's how America works. It's a good thing, something we can all be proud of as a country. We like to see people rewarded for their achievements. It's the American idea of fairness. Instead of envy and malice, we greet success with admiration and try to learn from it. This is what has made American the most just, equal, middle class, prosperous country in the history of the world.
Romney is rich because he is one of the most successful men in America. He became rich by creating prosperity for his family, hundreds of thousands of other families, our country. His brilliant career embodies our beloved values of hard work and ambition, economic expansion, freedom, a flourishing middle class country.
The key to Romney's success was finding and retaining the highest quality people, creating a team that argued and fought until they found the best ideas based on exhaustive data, and measured their ideas by success or failure. This is an approach he will use from the White House.
Romney will develop practical policies. Read a Romney stump speech.
Barack Obama once said that his work as a community organizer motivated him to help "communities that had been ravaged by plant closings." His desire to help others could not be more admirable but it's clear that he saw free enterprise as the villain and not the solution.
The only real solution to help those communities devastated by lost jobs is more jobs. Barack Obama seems never to have understood the basic point that a plant closes when a business loses money.
So when this President attacks businesses for making money, and when his policies make it more difficult for businesses to make money, he is also attacking the very communities he wanted to help. That's how it works in America. Or at least that's how it works when America is working.
But under Barack Obama, America hasn't been working. The ironic tragedy is that the community organizer who wanted to help those hurt by a plant closing became the President on whose watch more jobs were lost than any time since the Great Depression.
Instead of doing everything possible to promote the power of the free enterprise system to create jobs and get us out of this economic crisis, Barack Obama has promoted the power of government. The results have been predictably dismal, but he has "transformed" us, as he likes to say, closer to his vision of a Government-Centered Society.
In Barack Obama's Government-Centered Society, the government must do more because the economy is doomed to do less. When you attack business and vilify success, you will have less business and less success.
Romney has clear ideas about creating a job boom for America through energy, education, trade, fixing the federal debt and deficit and restoring 'economic freedom.' His approach is solid and relevant to the country's goals. The ideas make sense and Romney makes sense as the man who can provide the leadership to turn our country around.
In Ann Romney's words: "This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard. ...Give him that chance. Give America that chance."