Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh, the Irony

A list of the some of the ironies regarding the "King of Bain" dust-up:
  • The old anti-Romney claim was that Romney was too sympathetic to the middle class (for example, in offering certain tax-cuts only for those who make less than 200K/year); now, he's become the embodiment of corporate, top-1% greed.
  • Perry and Gingrich can make these attacks second-guessing Romney's experience in business in part because they have been career politicians.
  • Gingrich served on the board of a company that pioneered the leveraged buyout mechanism about which he has criticized Bain.
  • Perry collects plenty of donations from those who practice the very same "vulture capitalism" of which he accuses Romney.
  • Conservatism is supposed to be about individual responsibility, but now Romney is being blamed for the actions of Bain years after he retired from the organization; many of the events talked about in the "King of Bain" "documentary" happened after 1999, when Romney left the organization.
  • I thought a standard line for "True Conservative" purists was that too many regulations are strangling the national economy, but the purported excesses of Bain (from the perspective of the Gingrich and Perry camps, at least) occurred due to certain regulatory rules---which could be revised or added to.  So we've moved from regulatory abolition to the idea of regulatory reform or increase (and President Obama would no doubt be glad to talk about the latter).
  • Many "True Conservative" purists were salivating at the prospect of Gingrich offering a full-throated defense of capitalistic profit in all its forms in the presidential debates against Barack Obama.  So much for that exchange.
  • Some "libertarians" warned that Rick Santorum was some kind of anti-market technocrat (or something), but Santorum has actually defended the actions of private equity firms (and thereby Bain) as a worthwhile part of capitalism.
  • At a time when they could be working to develop and defend market-oriented policies that support the economic middle, many conservatives have chosen instead to indulge in identity politics.

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