I finally found a journalist who actually seems to get the context of the Cory Booker-Obama-Romney-Bain bruhaha, Who Won the War Over Cory Booker?
Democrats and Republicans both believe they got the upper hand in the kerfuffle over Cory Booker’s criticism of attacks on Bain Capital.
The perpetual outrage machine of the 2012 campaign alit Monday on Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who said on Meet the Press on Sunday that he found the negativity of the campaign “nauseating,” including his own party’s attacks on Romney’s past work in private equity.
As Booker partially backtracked, the Obama campaign declined to let up on the issue, holding a conference call to push the story of yet another company Bain Capital took over and profited from while laying off workers and eventually driving it into bankruptcy. Republicans, meanwhile, attempted to use Booker’s words as validation for their claim that Obama is attacking capitalism, with the Romney campaign swiftly rolling out a web video decrying “President Obama’s attacks on free enterprise” and featuring Booker.
By the end of the day, the president himself had weighed in, calling the Bain issue “part of the debate that we’re going to be having in this election campaign about how do we create an economy where everybody from top to bottom, folks on Wall Street and folks on Main Street, have a shot at success.”
I’m going to get more into that claim by conservatives that President Obama is “attacking” capitalism in a moment. That conservatives are playing the Bain story and the vulture capitalism of Romney as capitalism is a disservice to the genuine virtues of which free markets are capable. That kind of response is also something the general public should take a hard look it. What Bain has done might be legal but it is a form of corruption. It is the kind of corruption that conservatives and some Democrats like Booker have worked to make mainstream. Attacking Bain equals attacking capitalism? Certainly the conservative echo chamber buys that as of today. What Bain did when Romney was there is use the tolls of free enterprise to exploit the tolls of the free market to make unearned profits. Most Americans think of free markets as a somewhat fair competition. If you have ten companies that make widgets, the company that makes the best widgets for the best price wins. Bain took over many companies – in what used to be termed hostile takeovers, signed themselves up as consultants, paid themselves huge fees even if the company was losing money. Bain did not create the best widget or provide the best widget service, they rigged the system to make a profit even if that meant laying off hundreds of workers, bankrupting their pensions or shipping the same jobs overseas. If you believe, as many conservatives do, that any and all values are obsolete in the pursuit of profit than what Romney did for a living is great, a valuable service, nature’s way of clearing out the weak, the way our Founders dreamed the system should work. On the other hand if you think that what Bain and similar firms do can sometimes be a form of financial and moral corruption, than you can see what President Obama is talking about when he says that Bain and Romney went too far.
John Feehery, Republican strategist, former congressional aide:
“This issue is going to be a liability for Romney. It just is. But I think, at the end of the day, because Obama is seen as anti-capitalistic, they may be able to win this fight. This comment from Booker is a gift from heaven, because it gives them a talking point. They’re going to take that clip, and whenever Romney’s attacked by the Obama campaign they can use it to say, ‘These attacks are ridiculous, just listen to Obama supporter Cory Booker.’
Feehery is correct is his own convoluted conservative way. He also suffers from short-term memory loss. If Romney and conservative PACs want to play the sound bite game, Democrats have a lot more ammunition. A round-up of capitalism hating conservative Republicans:
BIG GOVERNMENT CANDIDATE’ — During a debate in Iowa, Bachmann charged that “Mitt Romney is the big government candidate.” -anti-capitalist Michele Bachmann(R).
INDIVIDUAL MANDATE — Bachmann repeatedly hit Mitt Romney for implementing the antecedent of ObamaCare while governor of Massachusetts, saying the dreaded individual mandate “was Newt Gingrich’s idea, and Mitt Romney implemented it.”
Fox news analyst and anti-capitalist Sarah Palin said criticism of Mitt Romney’s record as the head of Bain Capital by fellow Republicans is fair and the front-runner should provide proof to his clams that his tenure there helped created 100,000 jobs.
“WALL STREET FINANCIER”: “I heard Governor Romney here called me an economic lightweight because I wasn’t a Wall Street financier like he was. Do you really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as the president of the United States? Do you think that’s the experience that we need? Someone who’s going to take and look after as he did his friends on Wall Street and bail them out at the expense of Main Street America.” Well known communist Rick Santorum.[ABC].
BUSINESS EXPERIENCE DOESN’T MATTER: “Running a business is not the same as being president of the United States.” Anti-capitalist Rick Santorum.[CNN]
“WEAK CANDIDATE”: “We can’t nominate such a weak candidate. I’d love to be able to get one-on-one with Gov. Romney and expose the record that would be the weakest record we could possibly put up against Barack Obama.” Maoist communist sympathizer Rick Santorum.[Huffington Post]
”While you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation. … You failed as the governor of Massachusetts.” Anti-capitalist Texas Governor Rick Perry(R).
”If you are a victim of Bain Capital’s downsizing, it’s the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina to tell you he feels your pain. Because he caused it.” – Anti-capitalist Texas Governor Rick Perry(R)
”I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he’d have enough of them to hand out.” – Marxist socialist Texas Governor Rick Perry(R)
”Gov. Romney enjoys firing people. I enjoy creating jobs.” Anti-capitalist Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman.
”When you combine a record of uncertainty — running first as a senator, as a liberal; governor as a moderate; then as a conservative for the presidency, people wonder where your core is.” Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman.
”We are not going to beat Barack Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island accounts, owns shares of Goldman Sachs while it forecloses on Florida and is himself a stockholder in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while he tries to think the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together and understand what this is all about.” Anti-capitalist and former conservative Congressman from Georgia Newt Gingrich.
“Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful or rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money? Or is that, in fact, somehow, a little bit of a flawed system,” he said to a packed audience of reporters in Manchester. “So I do draw a distinction between looting a company, leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods and leaving behind a factory that should be there.” Commie anarchist and former conservative Congressman from Georgia Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich: Frankly, not Mitt Romney’s biggest supporter
What are conservative Republicans and what do they ultimately stand for, a United States that is modeled on the U.S. in 1860. That is what will make them all happy. No Social Security, no food inspections, not much regulation, no Medicare or Medicaid for seniors, children or the disabled, no federal income tax except for military expenditures, no publicly funded research that might find cures for cancers or invent the next great technology like the internet. A new poll puts Obama and Mittens even at the public’s perception of who would manage the economy best. Considering that a large segment of the public is always easily swayed by conservative disinformation – a staple of cable news – that is not surprising. Though Romney has a way to go to convince the public he can handle much of anything else, ‘Unfairness’ vs. ‘Over-regulation’
The top-line results in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll are largely in line with expectations: President Obama’s approval rating stands at 47%, and he leads Mitt Romney by four points among all Americans (49% to 45%) and three points among registered voters (49% to 46%). Obama has an even larger edge when it comes to voter enthusiasm.
[ ]…It’s not just about personalities: when asked which of the two “better understands the economic problems people in this country are having,” Obama has an eight-point edge. When the questions turn to personal character and standing up for key beliefs, the president’s advantage reaches double digits. These factors will certainly matter come November.
But just as interesting was this question: “What do you think is the bigger problem in this country — unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy, or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity?” The results weren’t close: 56% said unfairness is the bigger problem, while 34% pointed to over regulation.
That’s not what Romney and the GOP want to hear — Obama’s vision for what ails the economy has a 22-point edge over the Republican vision, and that gap is growing, not shrinking.
The public has the kitchen table view of free markets. Sure we’re all supposed to compete and the best products sell and the best employees get ahead. We all know from personal experience that is not the way things really work. We bring a brand name product home and it stops working properly after a few weeks. That company keeps on selling the same crap. We see lazy or devious co-workers get ahead. Most people realize that some unfairness is just part of life and reconcile themselves to that. Then we see someone like the Koch brothers, Donald Trump or Mitt Romney – who all stated a few steps up the latter from everyone else bragging about how “successful” they are, all the things they “accomplished”. Its like grade school all over again when the kid who started the race at the count on one rather than waiting for three, brags about how he won the race. Some people who accumulate a lot of money during their life are grateful and show a little humility. Conservatism has come to celebrate the cheaters, the corrupt, the arrogant and the bunglers who made it despite their ineptitude.
Executives at Romney’s old private-equity firm have donated more to the Democratic Party than the GOP. Why?. This is Greenwald playing the there is not much difference between parties card. he does make some good points. Though he knows and everyone else knows that if what we have to choose between is one candidate who is only a little better than the other, what should we pick – Romney who is Bush part III or Obama. If Obama is only a half step forward, that beats Romney the step backwards. This is going to sound like snark no matter how I phrase it, but maybe Bain gave more to Democrats because not even his former co-workers like Mitt.