Last week, I noted that the President Barack Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney over Bain Capital may well backfire given his own failures on the economy — everything from four straight years of trillion dollar budget deficits, the every increasing national debt, and a still-high unemployment rate.
However, during a press conference yesterday, President Obama said that Romney’s time at Bain Capital will be a significant part of the narrative during the campaign — doubling down on rhetoric:
President Obama on Monday declined to back down from his campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital despite criticism from some Democrats.
Asked at a press conference in Chicago about criticism from Newark Mayor Cory Booker regarding his campaign’s attacks on Romney’s work in private equity, Obama defended the tactic and said it’s fair game in a race where Romney has played up his business credentials.
“This is not a distraction,” Obama said. “This is what this campaign is going to be about.”
“If the main basis for him suggesting he can do a better job is his track record as the head of a private equity firm, then both the upsides and the downsides are worth examining,” Obama said.
This line of attack was tried by some Republicans, most notably by Newt Gingrich, against Romney during the race for the nomination. It’s a populist line and Obama is hoping he can carry the attacks over using the similar rhetoric that he used in 2008. But like I said, that comes with risks given the stagnant economy.
Obama also discussed private equity during the press conference, which Washington Post’s @TheFix noted “probably wasn’t his best moment,” using it to note that the business mindset isn’t good for the presidency:
He said Romney’s background in private equity is fair game because it suggested the mindset Romney would have in taking on economic questions as president.
Obama strongly suggested such a background was unsuitable for being in the White House.
The goal of a private-equity firm was to “maximize profits,” which Obama contrasted to his job as president.
“Your job is not to simply maximize profits. Your job is to make sure everyone has a fair shot,” Obama said.
Granted, businessmen that become president — I’m looking at you, George W. Bush — haven’t been all that successful, but it’s not because they came in to the White House and treated the running the country like a business. Bush’s brand of compassionate conservatism — or economic statism — was largely a disaster for the United States.
But the approach Obama has to governing — or “mak[ing] sure everyone has a fair shot” — is essentially to do nothing when the country is facing short-term and even more substantial long-term budget issues; or to point fingers when his agenda doesn’t get passed and not accepting the consequences of it when it fails in action. This is why Obama’s urging to Europe to get it’s fiscal house in order, which was also said during yesterday’s press conference is so hypocritical.
You give everyone a fair shot by working to clear government out of the way, not by class warfare and a perpetual welfare state. Obama has never run a business. He’s a politician. He’s says what people want to hear to keep them voting for him. He’ll never substantially reduce the size of government and he’ll continue to cripple the economy with burdensome regulation and work to make sure taxes are increased. That is not how you create economic growth, that’s how you kill the economy.
While I get that private equity firms aren’t always great, they do play an important role in our economy by fixing troubled or failing companies. To slam Romney due to his ties to Bain Capital strikes me as very anti-capitalist, which is unsurprising since it’s coming from Obama, and very dishonest.