Posts Tagged ‘Bain Capital’
June 7th, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Bill Clinton’s Id Endorses Romney
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For a man who successfully campaigned for the presidency twice, you have to marvel at Bill Clinton’s lack of message discipline (or any discipline, for that matter). During the 2008 presidential campaign, Bill was a consistent thorn in Hillary’s side, what with his pronouncement that Barack Obama was “playing the race card” against him and his characterization of the presentation of Obama’s record as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”

Back then, the pop psychoanalysis of Clinton was that he couldn’t handle the idea of Hillary in the White House, occupying the spotlight that was rightly his, and was thus subconsciously serving up self-destructive rhetoric to dampen her prospects for beating Obama. This theory wasn’t particularly plausible given the Clintons’ joint lust for power and the fact that it violated Occam’s Razor — which would have instructed us that Clinton is simply impulsive and egotistical.

In 2012, the analysis seems to have become inverted. Last week, Clinton praised Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital on CNN, calling his record “sterling.” Then, earlier this week, he told CNBC that there is nothing much wrong with private equity, that the country is in “recession,” and that the Bush tax cuts should be extended, even for high earners (he’s walked back that latter part since). Putting Clinton back on the couch (never a safe place to be with the former president), the armchair shrinks are now speculating that Clinton’s eruptions owe to a desire to undermine Obama and set the stage for another Hillary presidential run in 2016.

Allow me to offer another, less convoluted thesis. Clinton knows that his presidency was historically inconsequential. Apart from his impeachment scandal, the only notable occurrence of his time in office was the expansion of the economy — not small ball to be sure, but also largely the product of co-opting Republican ideas on spending and deficit reduction, balanced budgets, welfare reform, tax cuts, and free trade. Still, it’s what Clinton hangs his hat on and it gives him an opportunity to sneer at Obama’s economic shortcomings, a pastime he no doubt has enjoyed ever since candidate Obama gave the Clinton Administration’s legacy short shrift during the 2008 campaign. So, if you’re Bill, why not take your affection for the business world out for a spin every once in a while just to rub it in Barack’s face?

Clinton’s habit of repeatedly undermining Obama is not evidence of a Freudian ego orchestrating a brilliant Machiavellian plot to install his wife back in the White House; It’s simply the product of an id that has broken its leash, relentlessly and uncontrollably attempting to establish Clinton as the alpha dog of the modern presidency. As we should all know by now, the former president is motivated more by desire than by reason.

This is not the work of a grand strategist. This is a sort of cry for help from a man so insecure that he needs constant validation even after eight years in the White House. He is to be pitied.

January 11th, 2012 at 6:38 pm
The January Dirge for Romney’s November Continues
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Ashton and Quin both point out deficiencies of Mitt Romney’s that go far beyond the narrow attack on Bain I referenced in yesterday’s post. And they’re both right.

Quin says my rhetorical suggestions for Romney would only help so much. Quite so. One Ricochet member asked, in response to my post, if I could come up with a speechmaking salvo that could save Romney from the taint of his misbegotten Massachusetts healthcare experiment. My response: “As Romney found during his time in the private sector, some turnaround jobs are too much for anyone to salvage.”

I’ll just add one factor to Ashton and Quin’s delineation of Romney’s liabilities: he seems unable to connect with voters. This is a man, remember, who was won only one election in his life–and even that occurred in the context of a three-way race where Romney was unable to win a simple majority. As I’ve argued in a previous column, Romney is bedeviled by many of the same shortcomings that hindered John Kerry’s presidential bid: patrician aloofness, a sense that he’ll say or do anything to curry favor with the electorate, and a total lack of the capacity to inspire.

I’ve feared for some time that 2012 will be a mirror image of 2004, with a weak incumbent squeaking by a challenger who earned the nomination by seeming slightly more viable than the other candidates in a mediocre field. Unfortunately, that’s starting to look like exactly how this race is playing out.

January 10th, 2012 at 11:24 pm
How Romney Beats the Rap on Bain
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Regular readers know that I’m far from the biggest Mitt Romney supporter in the world. That being said, the criticisms of his time at Bain Capital leveled by fellow candidates Newt Gingrich, Jon Hunstman, and Rick Perry have been shockingly opportunistic and intellectually dishonest, particularly for self-proclaimed advocates of free market capitalism (they’ve also ignored the more salient criticism — the numerous instances in which Bain lived off the taxpayer).

Over at Ricochet, I have a proposed rhetorical response for Romney. The whole’s thing here, but here’s a sample:

I would remind my opponents – as I would remind President Obama – that work is a form of public service. Our ability to make money is directly tied to our ability to provide something of value to our fellow man. But sometimes when the customer’s needs change or when we lose ground to our competitors, we have to make changes. We don’t choose these circumstances. As a matter of fact, we hate these circumstances. But, like many Americans that are struggling today, we accept the things that we cannot change, we make the hard choices, and we persevere. That is never an easy task. And unfortunately, sometimes people lose their jobs as a result. But what, I wonder, do my opponents think the alternative is?  If a company on the brink of failure has no choice but to let a few employees go now or to see all of their jobs disappear eventually, what should they do?

Those are the kind of painful choices that people face in the real economy. And I find it telling that that concept is foreign to my opponents. They’re not foreign to the American people – because they’re living through them every day. You can talk to anyone who’s ever sat behind a manager’s desk – whether it’s in a corner office or a corner store – and they’ll tell you that there’s nothing that they hate more than having to fire someone. Americans take pride in their work. Losing a paycheck hurts. But losing your sense of dignity hurts more. My experiences in business didn’t make me enjoy firing people. It made me loathe the politicians in Washington for whom those people are nothing more than statistics on a spreadsheet.