Monday, January 16, 2012

When Mitt Romney came to town, he exposed the GOP's disrespect for its own ideas

Late last week, I wrote, "I'll have lots more to say about this video and the reaction to it later." After elaborating on my prior post, it's time to follow through.

P. T. Barnum is supposed to have said, "all publicity is good publicity." I'm not sure that Mitt Romney will agree with the man who also said, "a sucker is born every minute," something Romney and a lot of the other Republican candidates are banking on. Right now, Willard M. Romney is getting a lot of bad publicity, which is summed up in the half-hour-long attack ad presented as a muckracking documentary I posted in the first installment of this series. The blurb accompanying this video minces no words about what it sees as Willard's legacy and why he's bad for business, in more ways than one.
Mitt Romney was not a capitalist during his reign at Bain. He was a predatory corporate raider. His firm didn't seek to create value. Instead, like a scavenger, Romney looked for businesses he could pick apart. Indeed, he represented the worst possible kind of predator, operating within the law but well outside the bounds of what most real capitalists consider ethical.

He is exhibit number one the left wants to use in the coming election to give capitalism a bad name.
In other words, Willard is a liability, not an asset. While he might be "most electable," if his opponents want to score points based on economic philosophy, he's also the most vulnerable.

The blurb continues.
He and his friends at Bain were bad guys. Any real capitalists should disavow Romney's 'creative destruction' model that made him wealthy at the expense of thousands of American jobs.

Mitt Romney and his cronies pioneered 'deindustrialization,' a process by which they searched out vulnerable companies, took them over, loaded them with debt, and collected obscene fees while doing so. He sent jobs overseas or killed them altogether, and then picked apart the remains - including pension funds - before the companies went bankrupt.
If you wonder why America has lost so many manufacturing jobs overseas, look no further than Mitt Romney -- the King of Bain.
Willard, John Galt hates you. So, apparently, do a lot of other people who've seen this video and are commenting on both it and the reaction to it. One of them is Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

Video: When Mitt Romney Came To Town
Here’s Newt Gingrich’s bizarre 28-minute video attack on Mitt Romney; bizarre not because of the subject matter (which is pretty devastating to Romney), but because of the political orientation. Gingrich is coming at Romney from a position that can only be described as “left wing” — criticizing Romney for precisely the Republican values that Newt (and every other candidate) espouses.

I don’t think I’ve seen a better demonstration of an absolutely amoral lust for power — from Gingrich and from Romney. With this video, Gingrich is throwing the entire GOP ideology under the bus.
Nate Silver also remarked about how left-sounding the video was in Intraparty Attacks Could Be November Liability for Romney.
Ads like “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” the 28-minute commercial put out by a “super PAC” that backs Newt Gingrich, adopt what appears to be a documentary style, but they present a one-sided view of the role played by private equity companies like Bain Capital, characterizing them as greedy and as lining the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of the working class. Were it not for the couple of clips of Mr. Romney speaking French, one would be shocked to learn that the ads had been produced by Republicans, rather than by a liberal filmmaker.
Color me cynical, but I find both Johnson's and Silver's astonishment at the ideological inconsistency of the attack overblown, if for no other reason than I don't think the current incarnation of the Republican Party has enough respect for its own ideas to really have a consistent ideology. If they did, they would do what David Frum did on Real Time last Friday--point out that their ideas were right all along and praise Obama for following them. Watch the video and pay attention to Frum from 6:50 to 7:30.

Frum actually has some respect for the ideas he advocates, so he's pleased when someone, even the opposition, impliments them. I guess that's why he's a pariah in the GOP these days.

As for what the Republicans do instead, I'll let Paul Krugman describe how Romney has spun his reaction to the auto company bailout.
So can Romney claim that he was for this successful policy all along? No, he can’t — because when the actual policy was proposed, he trashed it:
What is proposed is even worse than bankruptcy–it would make GM the living dead.
So what the story of Romney and the auto bailout actually shows is something we already knew from health care: he’s a smart guy who is also a moral coward. His original proposal for the auto industry, like his health reform, bore considerable resemblance to what Obama actually did. But when the deed took place, Romney — rather than having the courage to say that the president was actually doing something reasonable — joined the rest of his party in whining and denouncing the plan.

And now he wants to claim credit for the very policy he trashed when it hung in the balance.
Mitt Romney is still a flip-flopper--but that's not the important point here. Instead, it's what Johnson wrote. This isn't about ideology. It's about power, and Newt is doing his damnedest to gain power. To Hell with ideology--and in that regard, he and Romney are being typical Republicans.

I'll have more on this subject later. It's time to play Star Wars: The Old Republic with my wife. See you!


  1. "With this video, Gingrich is throwing the entire GOP ideology under the bus." And so it comes full circle.

    1. The irony is breathtaking, isn't it? After all, who actually formulated and popularized the most recent ideological framework for the GOP? Reagan and Gingrich. Now, Gingrich is trashing the whole thing in the service of his personal power.