January 9, 2012

Mitt!

Huh? What? A kind word about Governor Romney?

Yup, a serious and substantive collection of kind words from Jay Nordlinger. For all the Governor's failings, Nordlinger is right that the treatment of Capitalism from his rivals has been unconscionable:

The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, "Eek, a mouse!" And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion. In the off season, they sound like Friedrich Hayek. When the game is on, they sound like Huey Long, Bella Abzug, or Bob Shrum.

Last time around, Mike Huckabee said Romney "looks like the guy who laid you off." Conservatives reacted like this was the greatest mot since Voltaire or something. To me, Romney looked like someone who could create a business and hire the sadly unentrepreneurial like me.

I've been off the handle at Speaker Gingrich about this, and I guess the Gov. Perry campaign is having fun with the carefully edited audio clip of "I like to fire people." (For those who have not heard it, the context was how he could control a private contractor but not the government.)

I do not recall a single instance of another candidate saying "Whoa, cowboy! I have many differences with the Governor of the Commonwealth, but we should all accept Schumpeterian creative destruction."

The whole piece is good.

UPDATE: Jimi P: Romney doesn't need to apologize for his Bain career.

UPDATE II: Et tu Jon? "What's clear is he likes firing people, I like creating jobs," Huntsman said in Concord.

2012 Posted by John Kranz at January 9, 2012 6:43 PM

Truth In Blogging: I'm a Perry guy, and I see myself sticking with him until he says he's out. Only fair to 'fess that one up front.

That being said... there's a lot I don't like about Mitt Romney. Architect of ObamneyCare? Roger that. Destruction of the Bay State economy? Granted he had help on that one from other governors, but yeah. And the list goes on, at least for me.

But the whole Bain issue? That one, Romney got right. I'm not completely immersed on the finer details, but if I understand it correctly (and I'm sure someone will correct me if I don't), Romney went in, took on a company that was already deeply in financial trouble, with the intention of sawing off the parts of the company that were unproductive and unprofitable, and rehabilitating whatever parts were salvageable.

BUSINESS IS NOT PRIMARILY A JOBS PROGRAM. Business that is not and cannot be run profitably (yeah, I'm looking at you, Solyndra) legitimately and rightfully ought to be lopped off and allowed to die rather than drag down everyone else. Cancer needs to be excised before the patient dies, and Greece needs to be cut off before it drags the rest of Europe down to the sixth circle of Hell. I'm obliged to say I'm with Romney on this one.

I don't totally blame Gingrich or Perry for using this in a campaign; I just as much blame the voting public for being so economically ignorant that this becomes a useful campaign tool. If the hoi polloi weren't so lumpen on the issue, this tactic wouldn't work. It's hard to blame the candidates for using a tool that works. No one ever went bankrupt underestimating the intelligence of the voting public. (Yes, that's a pragmatic argument, not an intellectually honest one.)

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 9, 2012 7:17 PM

It's true that politics isn't beanbag but Newt is trying to claim the "Tea Party" mantle, and comes out with this crap? Find some example where Romney received special treatment from the government and hammer him for that. You know, something like this.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2012 11:41 AM

jg: you bring up a killer point, that of candidates trying to claim the TEA Party mantle - and while I understand Romney's opponents using Bain for political reasons against him, any of those opponents who does so needs to face the fact that it is an anti-capitalist argument. And it begs the question: is there a real TEA Party candidate?

A big part of the problem is the definition of the TEA Party movement. The limited-goverment wing lays claim to the title, and so do the social-cons. Members of both sects see the TEA Party as their own, partly because there are plenty of voters who consider themselves, vaguely, in both groups.

But the origin of the TEA Party - "Taxed Enough Already," hence the acronym - is firmly owned by the economic limited-government wing, whether or not the social-cons have jumped onto that vehicle, and whether or not the movement has morphed into a social-con stream. The events I participated in seemed to be primarily about dealing with a government which spent too much and taxed to much.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 10, 2012 12:25 PM

That has been my shock. After the rush of Tea Party enthusiasm and the sweeping electoral success in 2010, there is no real Tea Party candidate.

I'll cede that your man, Gov. Perry, is probably closest even though he piled on Bain Capital. He might be in for a reevaluation but a) he has performed poorly (this is harsh coming from a Huntsman guy!); b) his hard line on gay rights and social issues detract from chances to sell him as a liberty candidate; c) "noocyoolur" and "Eye-rack" are going to be a tough sell in 2012 -- it may not be fair, but it is what it is (cf. Jebediah Bush, R- FL).

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2012 12:46 PM

"Whether or not the social-cons have jumped on that [TEA Party] vehicle?" Not this social-con. And I, for one, appreciate him distancing himself.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2012 12:56 PM

The Refugee can certainly find fault with the anti-Capitalist attack line coming from Republicans. It serves some purpose in that it become an intra-squad scrimmage in which Newt/Jon/Ron/Rick play the part of the opposing team. Romney will be hit with all of the Bain stuff by the Democrats. Vetting it now can help hone the counter-message and make it old news. The risk is that coming from both sides, it becomes a narrative that sticks.

One can hope that the silver lining comes through. Nevertheless, shame on Newt/Jon/Ron/Rick for cynically reinforcing (if not outright creating) a Democrat message.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 10, 2012 12:59 PM

When the Tea Party Died. Kevin McCullough is not feelin' the love and settling into the Mitt groove:

It is almost impossible to believe and violently sickening to accept that in light of the clear mandate of the Tea Party that the GOP stands on the cusp of returning to "establishmentism." (Imaginary word mine.) But it appears that for all the big talk, tens of thousands of local rallies, and the single largest non-inaugural event to ever occur on our nation's mall, the Tea Party has died.

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2012 1:24 PM

McCullough could not be more misguided or wrong. The GOP does not manufacture candidates; individuals must step up and choose to run. The shame of this election is that we have so much talent that has chosen to sit out the game.

Moreover, the Tea Party is not an entity that can "do something." It's a movement based on certain ideas. If anyone is to blame for the dearth of Tea Party candidates, it is the individuals themselves who subscribe to these ideas and choose not to get involved. Blaming the GOP is completely out of line.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 10, 2012 3:05 PM | What do you think? [8]