Sigh. Let me say that again: Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
If you were unfortunate enough to watch Saturday night’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, you saw a pageant of feckless non-Romneys fail to step up to the plate and forcefully challenge Mitt Romney’s presumptive claim to the GOP presidential nomination. Newt Gingrich, who has spent the last week whining about the liberal media, hid behind the liberal media when asked about attacks of Romney’s private-sector record at Bain Capital:
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I — I haven’t seen the film, but it does reflect “The New York Times” story two days ago about one particular company. And I think people should look at the film and decide. If it’s factually accurate, it raises questions.
I’m very much for free enterprise. I’m very much for exactly what the Governor just described, create a business, grow jobs, provide leadership.
I’m not nearly as enamored of a Wall Street model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers. And I think most…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that the Bain model?
GINGRICH: Well, I — I think you have to look at the film. You have to look at “The New York Times” coverage of one particular company. And you have to ask yourself some questions.
The Governor has every right to defend that. And I think — but I think it’s a legitimate part of the debate to say, OK, on balance, were people better off or were people worse off by this particular style of investment?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back in December, you said that Governor Romney made money at Bain by, quote, “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.”
GINGRICH: That was, I think, “The New York Times” story two days ago. They took one specific company. They walked through in detail. They showed what they bought it for, how much they took out of it and the 1,700 people they left unemployed. Now that’s — check “The New York Times” story, but that’s their story.
Leaning on the Fishwrap of Record as a crutch instead of owning up? This isn’t just cartoon-ish behavior. It’s poltroon-ish behavior.
With his incessant bashing of how the private equity industry works in the real world, Newt (along with Rick Perry) is morphing into an Occupy Wall Street zealot.
Or a David Axelrod:
His rivals have sought to turn his Bain tenure against him. Rick Perry has run an ad saying Mr. Romney “made millions buying companies and laying off workers.” Newt Gingrich has said Mr. Romney should “give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain.”
Mr. Gingrich laced into Mr. Romney at this weekend’s debates, and a group associated with the former House Speaker plans to release a 28-minute documentary blistering Mr. Romney’s Bain tenure. Meanwhile, on ABC on Sunday, Obama strategist David Axelrod criticized Mr. Romney as “a corporate raider.”
Mr. Romney describes job losses and bankruptcies as an inevitable byproduct of the capitalist system, and has said that in some cases, eliminating some jobs may save the rest of the company. In response to Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Romney said: “Doesn’t he understand how the economy works? In the real economy, some businesses succeed and some fail.”
Asked in an interview about Bain’s bankruptcy and failure rate, Mr. Romney said that in buyout deals, “our orientation was by and large to acquire businesses that were out of favor and in some cases in trouble.” He added that Bain wasn’t the type of firm that stripped companies and fired workers, but instead, “our approach was to try to build a business. We were not always successful.”
FYI, the Wall Street Journal analysis of Bain’s mixed record during Romney’s tenure is here. Takeaway:
The Wall Street Journal, aiming for a comprehensive assessment, examined 77 businesses Bain invested in while Mr. Romney led the firm from its 1984 start until early 1999, to see how they fared during Bain’s involvement and shortly afterward.
Among the findings: 22% either filed for bankruptcy reorganization or closed their doors by the end of the eighth year after Bain first invested, sometimes with substantial job losses. An additional 8% ran into so much trouble that all of the money Bain invested was lost.
Another finding was that Bain produced stellar returns for its investors—yet the bulk of these came from just a small number of its investments. Ten deals produced more than 70% of the dollar gains.
…The Journal analysis shows that in total, Bain produced about $2.5 billion in gains for its investors in the 77 deals, on about $1.1 billion invested. Overall, Bain recorded roughly 50% to 80% annual gains in this period, which experts said was among the best track records for buyout firms in that era.
All of that will get lost as the Occupy rhetoric seeps into attack ads by Republicans that will send tingles down the legs of anti-capitalists everywhere from Gingrich’s new favorite newspaper, the New York Times, on down. Click on that link to read about the $5 million boost to a pro-Gingrich super PAC (yes, super PACs — those evil entities that Gingrich was whining about last week after his Iowa drubbing) that will saturate South Carolina with Occupy-style demagoguery. With Newt’s explicit approval and endorsement.
The latest evolution of anti-capitalism bashing by pathetic GOP candidates? Distorting Romney’s remarks about the private-sector ability to fire people who aren’t doing their job:
CBS News reports via Twitter:
Huntsman tells reporters in Concord: “Governor Romney enjoys firing people; I enjoy creating jobs.”
It’s a reference to this:
Mitt Romney, who’s under attack for his business record, said Monday that he likes to have the option of firing people.
“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” he told business executives from the Nashua Greater Chamber of Commerce, adding if he isn’t getting a “good service, I want to say, I’m going to get someone else.”
The point will get lost down the demagogic rabbit hole:
He added: “You know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, ‘You know, I’m going to get someone else to provide that service to me.’”
Mitt Romney’s chronic flip-flopping political career is teeming with reasons to oppose his nomination — from his support for racial preferences, to government funding of abortion, liberal judges, global warming enviro-nitwittery, TARP, auto bailouts, the Obama stimulus, gun control, and of course, individual health insurance mandates that presaged Obamacare.
Instead of focusing on his long political record of expedience, incompetent non-Romneys have morphed into Michael Moore propagandists — throwing not just Bain Capital under the bus, but wealth creators of all kinds who take risks in the private marketplace.
Lori Ziganto advises: “Fight like a girl or lose, candidates!”
Kurt Schlichter nails the depressing conundrum:
My friend Jeff Emanuel makes a point that Bain is a general weakness for Romney in a jobs/class warfare general election race with Obama — and several other Twitter friends point out that it is useful for Romney to be forced to answer Bain-bashing attacks now rather than later — but Jeff also acknowledges that “pro-market Republicans aren’t the ones who should be beating” the anti-capitalism drum.
Jim Pethokoukis: Romney has nothing to apologize for in his Bain career…
Of course, Romney and Bain weren’t in the game to create jobs. They were in it to make money for their investors and themselves. Then again, the same would go for Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Warren Buffett, and just about every other successful entrepreneur and investor you could name. But that is the miracle of free-market capitalism. The pursuit of profits by creating value benefits the rest of society through higher incomes, more jobs, and better products and services. This isn’t “destructive creation”—like, say, crippling U.S. fossil fuel production before “clean energy” sources are viable—but “creative destruction” where innovation and efficiency sweep away the old and replace it with a more productive and wealthier society.
Update: Good for Rick Santorum…
Leaving the frozen event, Santorum also declined to take a shot at Romney over a remark earlier from the front-runner that he “likes to fire” workers who are not doing a good job.
“We try to hire good people, we try to keep them employed. If someone if obviously not performing their duty and their mission, obviously a business has a responsibility for the greater good of the business and the other employees to make sure that everybody there is pulling their weight,” Santorum said.
Asked whether Romney’s corporate takeover experience at Bain Capital would be a liability, Santorum said: “I’m not making it a liability. I believe in the private sector.”
Via The Right Scoop, Rush Limbaugh takes Newt to task.
Heckuva job, non-Romneys…
National Journal headline via Allahpundit: Capitalism Comes Under Fire in Republican Primary Campaign
Via The Right Scoop on MRC, here’s a Fox News video montage of the Occupy Republicans: