I’m a bit late to the party, but I have been following the public spectacle over Bain that was launched by the Democrats fairly recently. The Washington Post has a fairly good summary of events that is helpful to look at if you want a timeline. Some observations comes to mind, and I’ll share them there with you.
First, anyone who thinks that this issue is going away soon is fooling themselves. The Democrats, cheered on by the media, is not going to stop attempting to paint Romney and Bain Capital as ‘vampires’ in order to score political points. For example, consider the following statement from Tad Devine found in WaPo’s summary:
“That’s the heart of his campaign,” said Tad Devine, who helped craft similar Bain-related ads for Kennedy. “And if you undercut that, there aren’t a lot of places left for Romney to go.”
The Romney-campaign immediately began firing back together with right-of-center journalists and bloggers. One of them is the brilliant Marc Thiessen who put together a piece in which he listed a large number of investment-failures by the Obama administration. Tom, here at the Right Sphere, also entered the debate with a piece of his own. While these attacks on Obama and his administration all have substance and make good points, I believe that there is a larger issue involved that should be highlighted. George Will touched upon this in ABC’s This Week:
There’s another difference, that is when Bain invested, it invests money that it gets voluntarily to be invested. When the president throws a half-billion dollars away on Solyndra, it’s money taken away by the police power of the federal government from unwilling taxpayers.
I agree with Tad Devine: This is the issue at the heart of the debate that will ultimately determine this election and the future of the United States. On one hand, there is Mitt Romney. A private businessman who has attempted to make a profit for himself and his investors by investing money, creating jobs, producing products, and in the end turning a profit. This is capitalism and free enterprise, and through history it has been an immensly powerful tool that is rivaled by none when it comes to creating wealth and lifting people out of poverty. On the other side, Barack Obama argues that the government should spend taxpayers’ money on various projects in order to advance the common good such as green energy, equality, and freedom. In President Obama’s mind the American government knows better than the American people and should act accordingly by implementing regulations, taxes, and massive amounts of public spending. For Barack Obama, there is seemingly no end to the good that the government can produce.
Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and his successes there might be up for debate. What is not up for debate is the fact that it provided Romney with experience the private sector that will aid him in making decisions if he is elected to the Oval Ofice. (He later added to his private sector experience with public sector experience as governor of Massachusetts.) However, his business experience says precious little regarding his ideological positions and the exact decisions that he would take as president because of it. Warren Buffet, just to take one example, is another successful businessman who would be likely to benefit from his private sector experience in political office. This does not mean that Buffet and Romney’s ideological positions are the same.
President Obama’s record as president is different. Not only does his record show that a Harvard degree isn’t worth the paper it is written on, his spending binge also indicates a dedication to a left-wing ideology in which the government is the only institution capable of solving the problems facing America. If re-elected, this is what President Obama intends to keep on doing. There should be no doubt about that. President Obama can aptly be described as a dedicated Social Democrat whose faith in government only is surpassed by his love for the driving range.
Mitt Romney might not be the ideal conservative candidate, but he is far removed from the European Social Democracy promoted by Barack Obama since he took office.