Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital are failing
As noted yesterday, President Obama has made it clear that he intends to use Bain Capital as part of his campaign against Mitt Romney. His team no doubt hopes that they can reignite the same populist craze that put him in the White House by tearing down private equity in the process, despite the fact that he takes their money (a shocker, I know) and took economic advice from Jon Corzine, former head of MF Global.
But a new poll from Rasmussen shows that the attacks aren’t working, and may indeed hurt Obama more than it helps him:
Democrats have begun criticizing Mitt Romney’s business record, but a plurality of voters view the Republican’s business past as a positive.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that Romney’s track record in business is primarily a reason to vote for him. Thirty-three percent (33%) see his business career as chiefly a reason to vote against him. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided.
Fifty-five percent (55%) voters believe venture capital companies are better at creating jobs than government programs are. Only 26% see government programs as better job creators. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. That’s essentially unchanged from January.
[J]ust 16% of voters prefer a candidate with mostly business experience. Even fewer (10%) like a candidate with mostly political experience. Seventy percent (70%) favor someone with a combination of political and business experience.
Like I mentioned yesterday, just because a candidate has business experience, it doesn’t mean their going to be a good president. George W. Bush, for example, is no doubt among the worst presidents in the last 50 years and he was a businessman — and largely unsuccessful in those private ventures.
This is not an area that Obama wants to go. If his team is going to start tearing into a private businesses and private capital, then they’re going to justify the anti-capitalist or “socialist” label that Obama has been given. Will Wilkinson explains:
Mr Obama may be playing with fire. He has been careful not to impugn all profit-seeking, or even all private equity, yet it’s hard to see how it’s possible to attack Mr Romney for the alleged depredations of Bain Capital without implicitly attacking other profit-seekers responsible for similar labour-market churn. If Mr Romney’s Bain was guilty of something other private-equity firms are not, it’s not clear what it is. Meanwhile, Mr Obama’s Bain offensive seem likely to help the market-loving right continue to belatedly warm to Mr Romney, who now has an excellent opportunity to soberly explain to America the righteousness and relevance of his business experience. Moreover, he can appear the bigger man by insisting on a clear-eyed comparison of his and Mr Obama’s qualifications.
Not only that, but it provides Romney and Republicans with an opportunity to point out of the failures of Obama’s policies, including the stimulus bill, which was supposed to keep unemployment from rising over 8%, and extensive regulations and mandates, such as ObamaCare, that are keeping businesses from investing. But Romney has to craft that message very pointedly and actually has to speak with conviction when he speaks, something he wasn’t able to often do during the Republican primary.
Romney is no free marketer — after all, his health care reform plan was the blueprint of ObamaCare and he backed the bailouts, along with other statist economic policies, so you can’t trust him to defend the virtues of economic liberty and the invisible hand. However, Obama is playing into his hand, and the odd thing is they don’t seem to even know it. The country is not what it was four years ago, and though that populism may still exist, it’s ready to turn on Obama.