Leftist criticism of Romney’s business history is ignorant, hypocritical, and magically void of similar criticism of Democrats.
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One wonders if Taibbi would have offered the same criticism of Obama-buddy Buffett whose holdings include everything from insurance to furniture to private jets. Warren had better be flying his own plane and building his sofas, right Matt? In fact, when NetJets was failing, Buffett sent a former utility executive to straighten out the situation. Fixing NetJets included firing about 800 people — layoffs which the company’s founder, Richard Santulli, had managed to avoid for several years.
To be clear, I am not critical of the layoffs that were likely necessary to save the business. I am critical of Taibbi’s misleading and context-free condemnation of the relatively few layoffs which Mitt Romney was involved with at Bain Capital-controlled companies. Furthermore, even Warren Buffett has had to close a company that he owned: Buffett himself talks about the worst trade he’s ever made, ironically enough in the original Berkshire Hathaway company, which he took control of and which then failed, costing over 2,000 textile workers their jobs and shuttering the last textile mill in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
As Buffett tells the story, he speaks with justifiable positivity about the business necessity of using machines to “save (on the cost of) people.” Imagine how Matt Taibbi would portray Mitt Romney if he found a quote of a Bain Capital employee making a similar statement. The Berkshire Hathaway failure (the original textile company, not Buffett’s tremendously successful holding company which kept its name) was no more a sign of ill intent or incompetence by Mr. Buffett than the Ampad story is of Mr. Romney.
TAIBBI GOES ON to discuss Romney’s supposed similarity to, and business dealings with, “convicted felon” Michael Milken — a man whom John Stossel correctly described as having “helped more people than Mother Teresa.” Although there are legitimate questions of conflict of interest in a department store merger that Taibbi mentions, the problematic pattern is more in the “journalist” than his target: The failure of the department store company “took place three years after Bain cashed out ” — yet of course remains Romney’s fault.
But if essentially accusing Romney of being part of a criminal conspiracy isn’t enough, Taibbi’s next gem is to accuse Romney of being a secretive, government-subsidized, tax-break-junkie who wants a “crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish” society. We are led to believe that Romney is deserving of more scorn and disdain than any gangster, despite never having committed a crime and despite creating more jobs and wealth than a stadium full of Matt Taibbis could ever hope to — not that he and his ilk would have any interest in actually creating anything of value lest it lead to a long-term capital gain or an urge to vote Republican. (The horror!)
As we anticipate more demonization of Bain at the Democratic National Convention, it is worth noting that most employees of private equity-owned companies know no more about how private equity works than employees of major corporations know about how trading in their companies’ bonds works. In short, they know precious little. In this and most other ways, including the occasional tendency to dislike the boss, they are no different than tens of millions of other American workers except that those associated with Bain are more likely to remain employed than those associated with Solyndra or other Obama “investments.”
After attacking Romney’s career, and just when you thought Taibbi couldn’t go any lower, he sinks to even more desperate and petty levels: there’s also apparently something wrong with Romney because you can’t detect a particular accent in his speech even though he has lived and studied in many places. Matt, don’t you realize that living and studying in many places is precisely what causes many people (like me) not to have a particular distinct accent?
And by the way, just what accent does Obama have? Oh, I remember, it depends (and for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden as well) on whom he’s speaking to. As Shelby Steele put it, “It sounds a little hollow. Sometimes, he’s Martin Luther King, sometimes, he a Black militant from the Sixties, then he’s a Baptist minister. He can be so different. There’s not yet an Obama voice. That troubles me on other levels. It’s hard to know what bag he’s going to come out of when he takes to the podium. “
Taibbi also grouses about Mitt Romney having attended “a collection of private schools” despite Taibbi himself having attended an elite (and very expensive) Massachusetts prep school and the also elite, expensive, and rabidly leftist Bard College — reportedly the single biggest American college recipient of money from George Soros’ foundations. So who’s the real hypocrite, Matt?
IN CLOSING HIS ARTICLE, which comes across mostly as an intellectual laxative for unbalanced socialists, Taibbi unintentionally begs an important question: By calling Mitt Romney a “man from nowhere” he reminds us that Barack Obama is a man much of whose life story, increasingly called into question, is a shadowy unknown, made and kept that way by the president himself.
Similarly, Taibbi talks about a conflict “between people who consider themselves citizens of actual countries, to which they have patriotic allegiance, and people to whom nations are meaningless…” Even the average Democrat (at least those not in journalism or Congress) will not be able to help thinking of Romney positively in this light as compared to our president who went to Berlin to call himself a “citizen of the world” and whose second-favorite activity after golf (the 100th round of his presidency occurred in June) is apologizing for his country. After all, what person whose stated goal is to “fundamentally transform” something can be said to have an allegiance to that something?
Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone anti-Romney, anti-capitalist rant does have tongues wagging, with the chattering classes and the media’s useful idiots thinking “I knew it all along” when in fact they have just been served another giant steaming helping of misdirection and hatred to be swallowed with a chaser of ignorance. The available facts on Mitt Romney’s business career show a man who is competent, caring, and, yes, capitalist — and proudly so.
Mitt Romney is a remarkably well-qualified aspirant to the presidency with a skill set (and running mate) ideally matched to our nation’s current needs. In that, I understand why Taibbi and his fellow leftist radicals are so afraid.
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