13 January 2012

The Bain of his candidacy

Gingrich's scorched-earth campaign against Romney, using Bain Capital as its chief weapon of mass destruction, has implications beyond just Romney's candidacy or the 2012 election. Romney and much of the Republican establishment have denounced this line of attack as an expression of "envy" and as anti-capitalist, but as William Galston observes:

Most citizens make an intuitive distinction between business activities that add value to workers and the economy (running an auto company, for example, as Romney’s father did) and those that shuffle paper to the advantage only of the shufflers.

Or, to use my own terms, the distinction between productive capitalism and the financial parasite class. Even teabaggers harbor an inchoate suspicion of the latter, however much they've been manipulated to serve its interests in practice. What Gingrich has done is to drag this issue into the open and make it explicit. None of this critique is new to us. But it's now coming from a source to which non-liberals are more inclined to give a hearing.

The attack could cost Romney the nomination. More and more Republican establishment figures are sternly warning Gingrich that his line of attack on Romney is unacceptable and must stop. Predictably, this has been followed by a shift of rank-and-file South Carolina Republican voters away from Romney, who now shows as almost tied with Gingrich there. The attacks do resonate with many of them, who are likely to be suspicious of what looks like a clumsy effort to silence the messenger.

Still, Romney will probably be the nominee, if only because those who reject him still can't unite behind a single candidate. But he'll be all the more vulnerable to the Democrats' natural line of attack. Anyone who wants to fend it off by screaming "socialist" will need to explain how Gingrich is a socialist.

Beyond that, the whole issue of the financial parasite class is now being made an explicit election issue in a way it never has been before. If it brings Romney down, then the core raison d'être of the traditional non-theocratic Republican establishment -- the continued subjugation of America to that class, disguised by free-market rhetoric and whatever other squid-ink works best at any given time -- will become much tougher to pursue.

Gingrich is no working-class hero for doing this. His motive seems to be rage at Romney for defeating him in Iowa. The Republicans have embraced the politics of resentment and vindictiveness and exclusion, and now they are destroying each other.

The full 28-minute film on Bain and Romney can be viewed here.


Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Romney is definitely a member of the "financial parasite class" and the attacks on him over his performance at Bain are entirely correct and justified. It disgusts me the way some right-wingers have started to attack Gingrich, Perry and Palin for their very valid criticisms of Romney, and how those same right-wingers have tried to marginalize those 3 over it. Not that I am a convert to their every belief, as I'm definitely not, but their criticisms are entirely true.

13 January, 2012 10:06  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

The republicans are providing Obama all the ammunition he needs to kick their asses in the Fall.

13 January, 2012 11:00  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

JJ: They don't like people from within the fold ripping the camouflage off their game, that's for sure.

JC: And rarely have there been asses so badly in need of kicking.

13 January, 2012 11:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone, no matter how vile, has at least one redeeming value. This is Newt's.

13 January, 2012 20:36  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Romney the man this week, eh? ... must be the nice haircut : )

13 January, 2012 23:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anon: Yes, the liberated America of the future should name something in his honor. Maybe a species of venomous toad.

RC: Well, a man with $250 million should be able to afford a decent barber.....

14 January, 2012 03:41  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

It's telling, isn't it, that Rmoney hasn't released his income tax returns yet--if he ever will.

Is there something about his income that he doesn't want the 99 percenters to know?

Perhaps Willard should go to a quiet room and think about this.

PS. I've linked to this very fine post on my latest blogpost.

14 January, 2012 07:58  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

I just want to point out how much the #occupy movement had to do with turning the discussion from the phony horrors of the budget deficit, to the disparity of wealth in the country- something for which Romney is the poster bad guy. We tend to assume that the #Occupy people haven't accomplished much so far, but we owe them a big thank you for setting up a context in which Romney is almost a caricature of evil.

14 January, 2012 18:36  
Blogger Malcolm said...

It's funny how quickly Newt Gingrich's fortunes changed over the past month or so. I think he realizes he can't win and is only doing the anti-Romney stuff in an effort to smear Romney as much as possible before his own ship sinks.

The story of Romney's involvement with Bain isn't going away. It's going to hang around his neck like a piece of Kryptonite. Unfortunately for him, I don't think there'll be an Eve Teschmacher around to remove the necklace.

15 January, 2012 10:06  

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