“I want to be a president who reminds you of the guy you work with, not the guy who laid you off.” — Mike Huckabee on Mitt Romney, 2008
The only chance Republicans have to defeat Barack Obama is if independent voters decide the jobs picture looks bad enough in November to give Bushonomics II another shot. Since nobody in his right mind is that stupid, Mitt Romney is running a fuzzy “hope and change” campaign. He wants to portray himself as a can-do businessman who, by virtue of his own awesomeness, will lead the country to a brighter future. That’s why his economic plan has about a thousand bullet points: Nobody’s going to read them.
Romney’s biggest mistake so far is insistence — complete with numbers — that he was a “job creator” at Bain Capital. He would have been better off keeping his mouth shut and keeping things vague. Bain Capital is just a private equity chop shop:
Romney never could have raised money from investors if the prospectus seeking $1-million investments from the super wealthy had said it would focus on creating jobs. Instead, it said: “The objective of the fund is to achieve an annual rate of return on invested capital in excess of the returns generated by conventional investments in the public equity market and the private equity market.”
Romney’s time at Bain Capital — perhaps even more than his flip-flopping — is the soft underbelly of his candidacy. What’s making even things worse are the attacks from the other candidates on his phony jobs record. They’re forcing Romney to sound like John Galt. Here he is last night:
President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our Party and for our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique — We are One Nation, Under God.
Aside from the mandatory claptrap about God, this is Ayn Rand stuff. It plays well with the wingnuts, but independents don’t care. They want to know one thing: Is Romney a job creator, like he claimed he was?
Or is he just the guy who laid us off?