As Red Alert Politics has been reporting, the Obama campaign has spent the last several weeks attacking presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. President Obama has even said that this will be a “central” issue in this election.
It is worth noting that the Obama campaign is not making the president’s record the focus of their campaign, as that strategy is usually reserved for incumbents with successful records.
While there is an argument to be made that Romney’s experience at Bain should be an issue, the Obama campaign’s attacks on this subject have been defined by absurdity, hypocrisy and dishonesty.
At first, the Obama campaign attacked the job losses from specific companies that Bain invested in while Romney was the CEO. The irony of this argument is that it is coming from a president that lost millions of taxpayer dollars investing in failed Green Energy companies such as Solyndra.
Aside from that reality, these attacks purposely deceive on several key points. For example, Romney was no longer working at Bain when many of the job losses that the Obama campaign is pinning on him actually occurred. In addition, Bain often took over companies that were often already in poor shape. In the specific example of GS Technologies, which the Obama campaign has been highlighting, Bain’s involvement likely kept the company afloat for an extra eight years. The Obama camp completely ignored that many of these jobs would have been lost much sooner and in greater number without Bain’s investment.
Another question that comes to mind when considering these attacks is this: if Bain is doing something that is really harmful, why does President Obama continue to take such large amounts of money from employees of Bain and other private-equity firms? It appears the president wants to have it both ways on this subject, which has led many Democrats to dissociate themselves from these attacks.
These skepitical Democrats’ concerns are now forcing the president to “evolve,” as he is prone to doing, his claims against Romney. President Obama has now made a point to say he was not attacking all of private equity and instead now is focused on two related arguments regarding Romney’s time at Bain.
First, the Obama campaign claims that Romney is exaggerating how many jobs he created at Bain. Admittedly, it is hard to calculate exactly how many jobs Romney can really claim credit for. However, the real point being missed in this attack is that even if the real number was only 10 jobs, that is still 10 more jobs than Barack Obama has ever created in the private sector. Furthermore, President Obama has his own history of issues with exaggerating job creation numbers.
The second line of attack is even more shockingly ignorant of reality. Obama’s campaign is claiming that Romney’s focus at Bain was making money and not creating jobs, which they imply is somehow a stain on his record. In fact, Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith even made the point that the problem is that Romney was a “wealth creator,” not a “job creator,” at Bain. That statement is made as if those two things are mutually exclusive. This whole argument displays a complete misunderstanding of basic economics. Every single business has the goal of making money, while job creation is simply a side effect of positive wealth creation.
Romney’s argument is that he understands how businesses work and create jobs, which can aid him in creating an environment for private job creation. Conversely, the Obama campaign is betraying a misunderstanding of the basic principles of business. Attacking wealth creation rhetoric helps explain why the Obama Administration has had such a difficult time creating that type of environment.
These attacks on Bain aren’t just desperate; they are based on a complete rejection of reality. Private equity remains an essential part of our economy that has created a lot more than it has destroyed. There is no doubt that what Romney did at Bain was a net positive for the economy and the country. There is also no doubt that experience would benefit him in the Oval Office.
If Barack Obama wants to distract from his own horrendous record by focusing on Romney’s success in business, I think he will find that Americans will gladly vote for wealth creation over job destruction come November.