Mitt Romney, Crybaby Capitalist
July 16, 2012
Rapacious capitalists ain't what they used to be. "Law? What do I care about the law?" the shipping and railroad tycoon Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt (1794-1877) famously bellowed (in legend, if not in fact). "Hain't I got the power?" His son William (1821-1885) demonstrated a similar indifference to public opinion when he said, "The public be damned.... I don't take any stock in this silly nonsense about working for anybody's good but our own, because we are not." The banking tycoon J.P. Morgan (1837-1913) held the same view, and didn't hesitate to articulate it.
The new questions about Mitt Romney’s sworn version of his 1999 departure from Bain Capital—which seems to contradict statements in SEC filings, testimony given to prove his Massachusetts residency, and corporate annual reports—are causing his campaign such a headache that someone in Romneyland was moved to float Condi Rice’s veep prospects last night as a diversion. The renewed focus on Bain, as I wrote yesterday, vindicates the Obama team’s decision to press forward with its criticisms of Romney’s tenure year despite the much-ballyhooed warnings of the mayor of the 68th biggest city in the
Wait, Wasn’t Bain Supposed To Be Off-Limits?
July 12, 2012
Early last month, a political blogger at a major national newspaper, as part of a growing chorus, all but declared that Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital was effectively defunct as a campaign issue. The headline: “Bill Clinton sticks another fork in Obama’s Bain strategy, says Romney had ‘sterling’ business career.” The top of the article: “The shelf life of President Obama’s Bain Capital strategy appears to be rapidly shrinking.
The attacks on Bain Capital are working—that’s the conventional wisdom, at least, and there isn’t much cause to doubt it. But that brings up the real question, which no one is able to answer: How much? To demonstrate the effectiveness of the Bain attacks, most analysts have relied on polls showing that perceptions of Romney’s business experience are different in the battleground states—where the attack ads are running—compared to the rest of the electorate.
Following a week of mixed messaging out of the Romney camp, the Wall Street Journal sounded the alarms with an editorial declaring that the Romney campaign’s failure to call the individual mandate a tax might be the turning point of the entire campaign. But the Wall Street Journal would be wise to take a deep breath: The penalty/tax dustup doesn't much matter, and it shouldn't obscure their more credible criticism—Romney’s failure to respond more aggressively to attacks on Bain Capital. Romney hardly squandered an opportunity on the mandate/tax question.
Why’s Romney So Good at Fundraising? Mormonism
June 21, 2012
Like a lot of liberals, I’m skeptical of the idea that successful businessmen are likely to become successful presidents by virtue of their business experience alone. But there is one way in which business success seems very likely to benefit a future president: fundraising. It’s not just that the businessman knows a lot of affluent people whom he can tap for money, though that helps. And it’s not just that the former businessman is steeped in the social mores of businesspeople, making him deft at rubbing elbows with those he doesn’t know.
How Lucky is Obama in His Opponent?
June 20, 2012
The new Bloomberg poll showing Barack Obama up 13 points over Mitt Romney is an obvious outlier. But it is prodding me again to a question that has been nagging at me the past few weeks: how is that Obama is not in truly serious trouble? All the talk recently has been of Obama’s prospects slipping, with him now only a couple points ahead of Romney, at best, in most polls. But he should be slipping! The economy, after showing signs of a solid recovery just a few months ago, is gasping for air again, and there may be worse on the way. This should be disastrous for the incumbent.
June 08, 2012
Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s star has been rising for what seems like an eternity. His fame rests largely upon a number of almost absurdly heroic acts, which have varied from harrowing to Hollywood-esque: saving a resident from a burning building, cradling a twelve-year-old dying from gunshot wounds, hunger-striking for better police protection in the projects, sleeping in a trailer for five months to halt open-air drug markets. Along with Booker’s media-friendly persona, these superhero moves have ensured a steady stream of adulation.
Let Us Bow Down Before The Big Dog
June 03, 2012
Well, so much for Barack Obama's reelection campaign talking at all about Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital. The private equity firm has proven a great vulnerability for Romney in the past and it exemplifies the economic vision Romney is running on, but Obama better lay off it for the rest of the campaign.
The Strained Attack On Mitt’s Mass. Record
June 01, 2012
It was overshadowed by the return of the jury in the John Edwards case, but the Obama campaign opened a whole new front of attack against Mitt Romney on Thursday: going after his record as governor of Massachusetts. Romney has of late been starting to invoke his gubernatorial record, after running mainly on his years in business during the Republican primaries, so it makes sense for Team Obama to try to undermine his claims of success on Beacon Hill as it is trying to undermine his record at Bain Capital.