Newark Mayor Cory Booker probably didn’t have best week of his life last week. The rising Democratic star’s comments on President Obama’s latest ad calling Bain Capital a “vampire” managed to completely derail the message that the campaign was trying to push.
That’s not exactly what a campaign surrogate is supposed to shoot for when advocating for a candidate, and Mayor Booker had to deal with the fallout amongst party faithful.
While Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital is now back in the spotlight, as President Obama’s campaign desired, the question people are asking about it this time is whether or not it’s even a worthy subject to discuss. Is it fair to discuss Mitt Romney’s private-sector job?
To be frank, yes. If Mitt Romney’s pitch is that he’s the businessman to solve the economic problems that he says President Obama has created, then probing how he ran one of the biggest financial firms in the county is the best way to prove, or disprove, that point. Voters are going to be able to find the most insight into his leadership style and ethos when looking at what he did while in the financial sector. Romney’s campaign would like us to focus on his record, after all.
In fact, it really seems like this discussion is less about whether or not Bain Capital should be spoken of, and more about disagreeing over the conclusions that are being drawn about his time there. Romney is eager to talk up his experience there, at least, until he’s called a vulture capitalist or it’s mentioned that private equity usually has to slash a significant amount of jobs in order to save the companies that they buy up. Those are criticisms that rebut his job creator title, and it’s reasonable to expect his campaign doesn’t want to talk about those except to contest them.
The problem is these criticisms are seen as an attack upon leveraged buyouts, which has the business community that practices them up in arms. However, the idea of leveraged buyouts is different than what Mitt Romney is trying to say it is. Despite trying to subtly imply it, the firms that practice it do not exist to save the types of jobs that most Americans need their government to focus on right now.
Instead, they’re about saving the investments that firms have made in a now-failing corporation. This is an important role that helps keep the portfolios that Americans invest in every day stable. But this stability comes at the cost of eliminating inefficiencies, which are usually people who needed the eliminated job to support their family. It’s up to the voters to decide how they feel about that.
The crux of the argument that President Obama’s reelection campaign is making is that Mitt Romney is not automatically an expert at creating jobs because of working for a company like Bain Capital. Because Mitt Romney is making that argument himself, Bain Capital is valid to mention.