Rattner too. Ditto Harold Ford.
Finally in Chicago you found your argument, and by the way it’s a good one. Trouble is, it’s not a great one. And only great points resonate with voters in close elections.
The advertisement in question calls Mitt Romney a “vampire” and casts a negative light on private equity in general and on Bain in particular. It implies that rich fat cats gain lucre by shutting factories and abrogating pensions and leaving decent working people without jobs.
Sometimes that is exactly what private equity does.
But far more often private equity and venture capital creates jobs, funds new technologies, and does more than harvest, dissemble and outsource jobs to foreign markets. And by a pretty wide margin fatcat ownership in private equity is out paced by pension funds, foundations, colleges and universities. So whether they realize it or not the true beneficiaries are the right ones: cops, firefighters, teachers,
college workers…in most any script, the good guys.
By the way over the last 20 years or so private equity has made more money for these “good guys” than almost any other asset class.
That’s why you should take Cory Booker into the public square rather than the woodshed, and
then kiss him on all four cheeks. Because your decent but not great argument is that private equity sometimes represents the worst of “return on equity” capitalism…just sometimes. For some Americans “sometimes” is way too often; for others it’s just business.
Your point is that Mitt Romney sometimes didn’t create jobs, but cut them; sometimes didn’t build businesses but dismantled them, sometimes made money for fat cats and other clients and other times lost them money.
These accomplishments and failures do not qualify Romney automatically to be president. That’s a reasonable point.
The facts of his performance at Bain deserve specific review. But I can tell you how they will come out right now. He probably created fewer jobs than he has claimed. His winners grew by every yardstick and they expanded his employment claims. But his losers ended in job losses and also in the tough minded cost cutting attempts to save the business that leads to such painful collateral damage. The truth will emerge that he did both.
So Mitt Romney will represent the best and the worst of capitalism. And that won’t necessarily make him a good president. It may even make him a bad one.
Whew. That’s not an elevator pitch, not even an escalator pitch…It’s a fifth floor walkup pitch. Everybody got there with your point but they are out of breath from following you.
Presidential politics is a contact sport not a debating society. Whoever is advising you to pursue these arguments of wandering intent needs to stand down. Don’t be so subtle.
So often the key to a candidate’s weakness is hidden in their greatest strength. So what is Romney’s bragging right?
He claims he is a career capitalist who has run many businesses and hired and fired when he had to. He even claims to have enjoyed it.
Instead of going for the circular argument why not go for the jugular?
Point out that the record of business leaders in politics is decidedly mixed. Why is that? For one, CEOs enjoy the privilege of command. Public leaders don’t.
Corporations aren’t people despite Romney’s claims to the contrary. And even if they are people, then they are very selfish people.
You see corporations are hierarchies, like pyramids, with a few well-heeled execs on the top and loads of workers on the bottom. Elected presidents have to pay attention to those myriad folks on the bottom rung; CEOs far less so. Corporations have employees, customers, suppliers, distributors, communities they occupy, regulators and shareholders. CEO’s only really answer to the owners of their stock and their regulators. Elected presidents answer to all of the above.
In short being president is an entirely different job requiring among everything else the ability to weigh and consider everybody’s view, because they all get a vote. Most business folks get too frustrated serving so many masters. They steamroll and ignore constituencies and bluster important folks in the process. To them, it’s just business.
That’s why some of the finest business leaders in the world fare so poorly as elected officials.
For Mitt to prove that he is up to the task he will need to prove that he is capable of and willing to listen to all kinds of people. How does he measure up on that score? He is pretty inept at the unscripted moments. Fair enough, not everyone can be articulate on the fly. But perhaps in his adlibbing is veritas.
The honest answer is we just don’t know.
Romney has made some ill-considered statements about the poor, about teachers, about the folks on the fringes which make for far more powerful voices than private equity naysayers. Come to think of it, they will also be the deciders in the election.
If I were Romney, that’s where I would shore up. And if I were you Mr. President, that’s where I would spend my time. It’s far more interesting to voters than Bain Capital’s return on invested capital.
Mr. President the tougher the truth you are told, the truer the friends who tell it. You got some bad advice to pursue a circular and only partially accurate course of argument. My advice for what it’s worth is to listen to friends who tell you not to pick a weak argument. Instead confront the issue head on.
That’s a winning strategy for elections. Forget about the debating societies.