Bain Makes A Man Take Things Over


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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110 Responses

  1. Hey y’all, sorry about the comments initially being turned off. I didn’t know and went out to grab a bite as soon as this went live.Report

  2. Avatar Bad-ass Motherfisher says:

    This is going to be fun.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    From what I understand, Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers went on for much longer than he told the media.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

      Great for Mitt and his supporters that THAT’S THE EXACT SAME THING! I guess we can now move on to the more important questions, like whether Obama’s eyes twinkle sufficiently when he claims to believe that America is exceptionally exceptional.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Would you say that Romney hiding how close his relationship to Bain is similar to Obama and his relationship to Jeremiah Wright or completely different?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          “I said we no longer spoke but actually he came to a few parties” is quite different from “I said I didn’t work there, but they actually sent me a check every other week.”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Maybe it was just a case where they were handing the checks around in a circle but Romney would jump from where he was sitting to where the check was being handed and he’d yell “INTERCEPTED!” like Obama did when Obama was a member of the Choom Crew.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              Probably more like after the indictment, Ken Lay went from “I worked hard for everything I got. Look at all the jobs I created” to “I was just a front man. I had no idea how anything really worked.” Romney wasn’t working at Bain, but nobody on the real management team had his ability to act like a regular guy in front of the cameras.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

          No, I just said they’re the exact same thing. Obviously, being CEO and sole owner of a company while publicly claiming your relationship is over, while accusing the other side of “lying” because it argues the nature of your responsibility differently, is THE EXACT SAME THING as attending a church with a leader who said some controversial things – especially since the Romney-ites have declared OPEN SEASON on discussing the candidates’ religious and religion-related practices and beliefs. ZACT SAME THING! Obviously!Report

  4. Avatar wardsmith says:

    For a decade I kept filling out my tax returns with my old job title at a Subchapter S firm I still co-owned even though I never spent one minute there. I suppose I should report myself to the Gulag immediately for my transgression. Thank God I wasn’t running a bible study in my home or I’d really be in trouble.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Were you still payed 100 g’s from that firm during that time?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Was your old job title “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president”?Report

    • Avatar balthan says:

      If you want to run a bible study in your home, don’t get it classified as a church or else you may be subject to zoning requirements and building codes:

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        Greg, Yes or some semblance thereof. The way a SubS works, you /personally/ owe taxes on your pro rata percentage of the corporation’s profits. I wasn’t working there and I wasn’t collecting a salary but I owed taxes nonetheless. My agreement with the other shareholders was that I would receive enough compensation from the S-Corp to pay off the taxes it caused me. This doesn’t work in reverse BTW, if my share of the /loss/ from the S-Corp is $100K the IRS will only allow me to write off $3K per year until I die. Whatever is left over is of course lost, the IRS isn’t fair.

        Mike, my title was President.

        Balthan, I agree, the rules for running a crack house are much easier.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Well sure, you’d be crazy not to file your S corp or you’ll arouse suspicion. That sort of thing can get you in trouble if your S corp actually made any money.

      Churches are always getting in trouble with zoning restrictions. This guy could have completely avoided this mess. He ran afoul of the law when he started building on his own land.Report

  5. Avatar Shannon's Mouse says:

    Mitt’s in quite a pickle here. He either lied about not running things from 1999-2002 or he got paid $100K for doing nothing. I know the Romneys probably lose $100K in the cushions of their sofa every month, but is THAT the sort of thing they want reinforced in the minds of (the diminishing number of) swing voters?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Quite seriously, I don’t know that this will have half of the impact of the outsourcing thing. So he lied about having a job? It doesn’t carry even half the same sting as thinking about outsourcing during a time of unemployment.

      Were I on the Obama team, I’d tell them to hammer on outsourcing and focus on the profit margins, before and after, of the companies that engaged in it (if the numbers are useful for that, of course) and talk about how we need someone who thinks about us all being in this together (or some similar phrasing) than about the bottom line for rich people to become even richer on the backs of the (formerly) middle class (or some similar phrasing).

      I don’t see this as carrying much of a sting.Report

      • They’re completely intertwined, though, the outsourcing and whether or not he was running (and what it means to be “running”) Bain.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Hey, I know why *YOU* care about it.

          I’m just imagining someone undecided trying to figure out who to vote for and thinking about what might get them to flare their nostrils.

          “Romney lied about being a CEO” isn’t on the list. Specifically, it puts the emphasis on the wrong place for what would fire up the undecided. It’s not obvious how Romney was screwing anybody by lying about being a CEO or how he had a bank account overseas. Outsourcing? That screwed undecideds over and screwed them over hard.

          Figure out who the undecideds are, then figure out what makes them mad. Talk about *THAT*. I’m not seeing this particular tidbit as being particularly meaty (and certainly not the way that other topics might be).Report

      • Avatar North says:

        It feeds back to the outsourcing thing Jaybird. Mitt’s defense against the outsourcing issue was to say “No no they did that after I left the company!” Now it appears he may have fudged that defense. If he did then the whole outsourcing thing pops back up again only with a patina of “he lied to try and get out of it” thing over it.

        Though for the record I still think this is mostly teapot tempest stuff. The media is bored and the elections a long way off. Still there’s some danger of it laying bad impressions in the impressionable national narrative. Kerry got flip-flop branded in the summer during his campaign for instance and never managed to shake it.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          If he did then the whole outsourcing thing pops back up again only with a patina of “he lied to try and get out of it” thing over it.

          *THAT* is where the emphasis needs to be. “When Romney was CEO of Bain, they outsourced American jobs that paid an average of $X0,000 to Americans working and living and spending here, locally, in America to the following foreign countries…”

          Let him argue “but I wasn’t acting CEO!” all day. You *WANT* Romney to keep denying this attack. Do not let him change the subject.

          If you change it to whether he really was the CEO, he was getting paid, after all, then we’re off in “he said/she said” territory over something pretty boring. Make Romney deny that he outsourced jobs. Get him on tape saying it. Have him talk about outsourcing in every speech and how he didn’t do any.

          There’s a Hunter Thompson story out there involving pigs that touches on this.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            I’d generally agree Jay, but I’m not really interested in offering campaign advice to Obama.

            My interest actually is more on the question of Bain. Most importantly I’m puzzled as to why Team Romney seems so flat footed on this. Bain is one of the centerpieces of Romney’s campaign; he was hammered on this subject in multiple previous campaigns; why wasn’t there a strategy in place to deal with this? An associated question; why does he play so tight to the chest with disclosure of his taxes and stuff, doesn’t this play right into his weaknesses? I’m honestly puzzled at it.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Romney is Kerry is Dole is Dukakis is Mondale.

              That’s the argument that makes the most sense to me.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                But Obama is Carter: a failed presidency. Viciously partisan like Truman as well—which worked for Harry in 1948 but by 1952 he was so unpopular he didn’t even run for re-election.

                Absent BHO’s stranglehold on minority votes, he might not have even won a contested Democratic primary.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                How can we really judge a Presidency when it isn’t really over?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                The case that Obama is carter strikes me as a difficult one to make Tom. Asserting it is so doesn’t make it true.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                It’s an opinion, Mr. North, just as JB’s is. OK?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Of course Tom! If I ever gave you the impression that I thought what you said was gospel instead of your opinion I apologize. Your gigantic sunglasses, however, are epic and that’d not my opinion; that is fact.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Thx, Mr. North. Had ’em custom-made.

                I spend a lot of time straightening the facts after they’d been twisted—or telling the half the story that’s hasn’t been told. Today we had Romney quoted out of context about firing people, and Fortune Magazine kicking more of this Bain stuff to the curb. And that’s just in the last half-hour.

                If you think Romney can do no better with the economy than Obama and want Obamacare to stay, you SHOULD vote for Obama, no big deal. It’s the rest of this crap that’s annoying.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Well I generally do actually. That’s without factoring in the cative voter aspect.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 says:

                Obama is EXACTLY like Carter in that same alternate universe where Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter, where Carter successfully rescued the hostages, while implementing universal healthcare and rescuing us from the worst financial crash since 1929.

                Exactly the same!Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Wow, now that’s a really cool rebuttal. Keep up the good work.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Oh well when you put it that way Jay… … … I can’t imagine that is a thought that’s particularily pleasing to his party though.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Here’s something to really keep you up at night:

                If the Republicans nominate people like McCain and Romney, exactly how far to the right of the party that nominates people like Obama or Clinton are they?Report

            • Avatar Scott Fields says:

              As you say, North, it is next to impossible to believe Romney’s campaign didn’t see this coming. Doesn’t that suggest that rather than not having a strategy in place, they just don’t have a good answer? Romney wants his business experience to count when it helps him and to not count when it hurts him; he also wants to be the one who decides which is which. He’s been able to set the rules of the game his entire life, but not this time. It’s possible he have not expected that.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Like you said; one’d think there’d be a strategy of some sort in place. If this is it even a political neophyte like me isn’t impressed.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                If you get your news from Elias and Mother Jones, y’d think that. TPM is already walking it back.

                The Romney camp got a boost in its efforts by Fortune, which reported on Thursday that Bain documents provided to potential investors in a new fund in 2000 did not list Romney as active in day-to-day operations.

                That’s the facts part, then. So there’s nothing left but the moralizing bleat and being a tool for the Obama campaign.

                The Obama campaign says Romney should be held accountable for Bain’s actions during that period regardless of his level of involvement, given that he was listed in official documents as CEO and owner.


              • Avatar Scott Fields says:

                Their strategy is, and always has been, shouting “look over there, it’s the bad economy” and hoping expecting people will peg it all on Obama, like Tom does just above.

                He’s used to setting the terms of the transaction. Too bad for him that, in the case of an election, he doesn’t get to.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                No, it’s look over HERE it’s the bad economy. What’s wrong with you, dude? The election’s about the economy and has nothing to do with what I write in comment boxes. No need to personalize it.

                This Bain crap is the distraction, like the dog on the roof or whatever trivia is coming next.Report

              • Avatar Scott Fields says:

                I had no intent to offend, dude. I was responding to North and I’m not sure why translating “Obama: a failed presidency” into an assignment of sole blame to Obama for the economy is such an affront. I regret pulling you into it.

                The “over there” part of my characterization of Romney’s strategy is in reference to Romney’s penchant for criticizing what Obama’s done while keeping mum on what he’d do differently beyond the “I know how the economy works” bromide. If Romney’s business experience is what makes him qualified to be President, he ought to be able to explain why. It’s Bain is my qualification, until it isn’t convenient, then it’s this Bain crap.

                If you think Romney can do better with the economy than Obama and want Obamacare to go, you SHOULD vote for Romney, no big deal.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The smart move here is to play black and let Romney do what he does best, open his mouth and insert his foot. Romney is horribly advised this time at bat, as he was last time, when he managed to Flip Flop himself out of the GOP nomination and let Old Crankypants G. McCain beat him out.

        The G stands for grrrr.

        Romney’s his own worst enemy.Report

  6. Avatar Steve S. says:

    The charitable interpretation is that you can be “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” of an entity yet bear no responsibility for what goes on there. This fits in nicely with the larger narrative of post-accountability capitalism.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      I’m confused. Are we talking about Bain Capital here? To quote wiki:
      “The firm was founded in 1984 by partners from the consulting firm Bain & Company.” Digging with the tiniest spoon I could find I discover: “Bain & Company was established in 1973 by a group of seven former partners and managers from the Boston Consulting Group headed by Bill Bain.”

      So how do you and Mike Schilling get off saying Mitt was the SOLE shareholder? Even when he rescued Bain and Company the number of shareholders went UP not down. Or are you claiming he bought out all the partners in Bain Capital? I find that impossible to believe.Report

      • Avatar clawback says:

        He’s probably basing it on the SEC filings, as reported by the Boston Globe.Report

      • Avatar Steve S. says:

        “So how do you and Mike Schilling get off saying Mitt was the SOLE shareholder?”

        I didn’t. Notice the quotation marks?Report

        • Avatar wardsmith says:

          Hmm, so the question is /which/ Bain Capital are we talking about? A quick perusal of Bain Capital on the SEC site (which unfortunately only goes back to 2003) shows 73 “related” corps. We have Bain Capital LLC, Bain Capital Investors (I, II, III, IV etc), Bain Capital Partners (I, II, etc), Bain Capital (I, II etc) Coinvestement Fund (I, II, etc), Bain Capital Fund (I, II etc), Bain Capital Investment Partners (I, II, etc.). Bain Capital Investment Partners Associates (I, II, etc), and so on.

          To be honest one would need a roadmap to navigate this corporate structure. My guess is these are all SPV’s (special purpose vehicles). These guys are smart money managers, they are certain to take advantage of every jot and tittle of the corporate tax laws for themselves and their clients. I’m certain that will have most of you screaming Foul! To me it just makes sense, that is what these people do. The actors holding big fund raiser for Obama are investing with these kind of people, that’s why they have NO concern about higher taxes on “the rich” because they’re fully protected. Fortunately their finances won’t become a matter of public conjecture unless they’re stupid enough to run for office.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            Heh. I started to answer you and it turned into a post. Just posted it.Report

          • Avatar Steve S. says:

            “Hmm, so the question is /which/ Bain Capital are we talking about? ”

            Does it really matter? According to his financial disclosure statement, “since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.” Frankly, I don’t see how accepting both this statement and the Boston Globe reporting makes Romney look any better. I’ll just repeat myself from above: you can be “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” of an entity yet bear no responsibility for what goes on there. I’m afraid that’s a world that the vast majority of people simply can’t relate to.Report

            • Avatar wardsmith says:

              Steve, I think most of this conversation went over to Blaise’s post but I’ll answer you here. The entity that Romney was supposedly (since I haven’t found the actual SEC filing and can only take the Globe’s word for) “sole stockholder” of may have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with day to day management of ANY of the investments under discussion. In all likelihood it is simply a holding company that holds shares or more likely “carried interest” in investments. That would be par for the course for these kinds of operations.

              Let’s say I set up the Wardsmith Family Trust of which I am the sole shareholder, chairman of the board and whatever other titles my ego needs. THAT entity has whatever I decide to place in it, stocks, bonds, cash, heirlooms, land, my dog, anything. The fact that an artificial construct has been created by no means indicates that there is any “active management” going on, it is a special purpose vehicle designed to do exactly what it is doing, which is essentially nothing at all. Just a placeholder to post accounting gains and losses against. Further discussion on this point is meaningless unless someone has the business background to understand these vehicles. My observation is no one does, not even Blaise although he’s smart enough to learn if he so desires.

              I’ve been through these types of transactions dozens of times just with my own (founded, co-founded) companies. This is just par for the course in today’s world but most Romney observers think they’re watching hockey when they’re really watching golf.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I don’t think this comment got enough attention. I suspected there was something like this going on, but am not business-savvy enough to really know. It is indeed a political problem for Mitt to try to explain this clearly to the public, but it sounds like there really is no there there as a substantive issue.Report

  7. Avatar b-psycho says:

    Can’t talk about his time as governor because it’d piss off his base, so it’s all “I have private sector experience!” all the time. That he seems so blindsided by any questions about that experience is amazing.

    BTW: it’s too bad that outsourcing and the implication that it is being subsidized by the tax code is only campaign fodder. A serious exposure of just how un-free what people gripe about as “free trade” actually is (including the global IP regime) would be useful. But no, all such talk will go poof soon as the votes are counted because it’s an inconvenient subject to take seriously.Report

  8. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Romney took jobs from white Americans and gave them to Chinese and Indian people: The Democratic Southern Strategy?Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Nah, it doesn’t matter that those folks are non-white, just that they’re non-Americans. It’s nativism, but not actually imbued with racism. Outsource to the Netherlands and they’d still not be happy.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        People who used to be able to work for a living are the real racists.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Sure, but one can offer the same defense of the actual Southern Strategy, that it was really about taxes welfare, not about race. This does not dissuade the left from using the term “Southern Strategy” as a slur against anyone who proposes cutting taxes and welfare. What’s good for the goose…Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          I like goose.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          Come to think of it, it’s not clear that nativism is any more defensible than racism. This is arguably worse than the Southern Strategy, since the Southern Strategy was at least promoting policies that had a pure economic justification.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley says:

            I find nativism less offensive than racism. It’s a “ours first” approach, which is essentially an extension of “family first” or “charity begins at home.” I don’t admire it, and I don’t think it’s defensible, but it’s not as bad as “you have some immutable characteristic that makes me see you as less than human.”

            And not all of the southern strategy had a pure economic justification.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            In the American context, racism is seen as detrimental to our country. As a polyglot nation, we rely on a degree of diversity. With this in mind, we have to be able to live together. And thus, we agree that racism is bad.

            People in China and India? We don’t have to live with them. We do in the global sense, of course, and there are arguments to be made along those lines. But we’re not “in it together” with them the same way that we are with our fellow countrymen of differing color.

            That being said, if you’re arguing in favor of increased immigration and accusing those against immigration of having a racist of xenophobic agenda, and you’re also arguing against jobs being offshored, you have to square that hole. It can be done, but it needs to be, cause as an American I don’t see much reason why I should have more loyalty to a Mexican who wants to cross the border than I do someone in China that wants a job.

            Anyhow, anti-offshoring arguments only work if you have nationalism**. If you view nationalism as bad, then it does become problematic.

            * – I would go with nationalism rather than nativism, if only because the latter has more racial connotation and anti-offshoring arguments need not do so.

            ** – Okay, there’s also “they work in sweatshops!” But then you have to explain why the sweatshops are worse than the alternative. And if they are, why people work in them. More than once I have listened to people who believe that if we denied them their sweatshops they could (or would) opt for a first-world economy. I consider this view… problematic. China builds our junk cause it needs to, not cause it (or its leadership) particularly wants to.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              China builds our junk because it artificially depresses the value of its currency. If they had to compete with India or anywhere else without currency manipulation, we wouldn’t see little kiddies in elite prep schools learning Mandarin.Report

            • Avatar Mo says:

              “That being said, if you’re arguing in favor of increased immigration and accusing those against immigration of having a racist of xenophobic agenda, and you’re also arguing against jobs being offshored, you have to square that hole. It can be done, but it needs to be, cause as an American I don’t see much reason why I should have more loyalty to a Mexican who wants to cross the border than I do someone in China that wants a job.”

              This one is pretty easy. We want the smart/hard-working people to come here, because they will make this country and all of our neighbors/countrymen richer. The money we give them will circulate in the US economy, benefiting other Americans. However, if you send the money overseas, the money will largely circulate in their economy and the benefits will accrue to China, not the US. Sergey Brin may have taken a spot at Stanford away from another American, but keeping him here has created more American wealth than if he had founded Google in London or Tokyo.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          The problem is that arguing that, at the end of the day, more people in India and people in China were helped (and helped to a greater degree) than people in the US were harmed does not make for a particularly good campaign ad.

          Yet, anyway. If Chinese and Indian people (of course, I mean citizens of those two countries) were allowed to vote for US politicians, I’m pretty sure we’d see ads (on the youtube, anyway) explaining how they should vote for Outsourcey Offshorison… and, over here, we could see remakes of the Helms “Hands” ad.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

          What’s irrelevant for the goose…

          As b-psycho may have been getting at above, the problem runs potentially very deep. The defenders of outsourcing and offshoring would have to explain why it is up to the direct and indirect victims to validate the Mr. Offshore. An abstract argument about the value to the overall economic system or to the national interest – not necessarily the same thing (and that’s another problem)- still might not be sufficient to get the victims’ votes. At the same time, Mitt is barred ideologically from promising substantial direct aid in general to displaced workers, much less supporting measures against out-sourcers. He can’t even really admit that “creative destruction” of this type is even a problem. (He likes being able to fire people.)Report

          • Avatar b-psycho says:

            A clarification just in case:

            In principle I see nothing wrong with free-trade, at all. That isn’t what we have though. It’s more accurately described as state-corporate managed trade.

            What happens in the mainstream discourse is either crass appeal to nationalism in which the entire concept of trade over borders is slammed as evil, or vague promotion of it in speech while hiding measures that do way more than simply allow trade to happen, instead deliberately encouraging certain forms of it over others.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              measures that do way more than simply allow trade to happen, instead deliberately encouraging certain forms of it over others.

              I see this alluded to a lot, but almost always in abstract terms rather than in terms of specific policies. Could you give a few examples?Report

              • Avatar b-psycho says:

                Take a look at some of the “free trade” agreements that have been coming up over the past few years. They routinely contain various IP regulations that supersede the laws in the countries that would be party to it, so U.S. companies can play copyright troll if people there do something they don’t like. They’d rather have them working for something they don’t control.

                On top of that, there’s also the Export-Import bank, which effectively redistributes the costs of extending a business across borders. Then also there’s the practice of selectively erecting or dropping specific controls on nations based on whether they play ball on some unrelated issue.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            “Things can always be taken out of context and I understand that that’s what the Obama people will do,” Romney told reporters in Hudson, N.H. “But as you know, I was speaking about insurance companies, and the need to be able to make a choice, and my comments entirely reflected that discussion, which is we should be able to choose the insurance company of our choice; we should not have to have one foisted upon us by the president and Obamacare.”


          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            At the same time, Mitt is barred ideologically from promising substantial direct aid in general to displaced workers

            Aside from two years of unemployment benefits?

            He likes being able to fire people.

            And you don’t? Do you really think that your life would be better if you were legally obligated to continue all of your business relationships indefinitely, and your counterparties knew that and acted accordingly? Because that’s the alternative.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              I don’t like firing people. I would hazard the bulk of Americans hate the idea. They realize it is necessary to fire people, whether due to performance, work issues, or layoffs.

              But like it? Enjoy the act? Not in a “Bob was a pain in my side for years and loathed by all” sense, but just in general?

              No. In fact, I’d say that the people who DO enjoy it have something wrong with them.

              Not that it matters. If corporations are people, the best ones have to be sociopaths these days.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There is a difference between these two statements:

                “I like being able to fire people”
                “I like firing people”Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                Also, Romney wasn’t actually talking about firing people. He was talking about changing insurance providers.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                In which case add it to the list of “stupid things Romney has said that make him look like a less loveable Thurstan Howell III”.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Not really. Who goes into business for firing people?

                Firing people is, bluntly, on the “chore” side of running a business. A neccessity, yes.

                Anyone whose first thoughts on running a business are related how it’s cool to be able to fire people? Not a guy I want to know, because he’s an asshole at best.

                You think Jesus is wandering around going “The best part of being the Son of God is being able to send people to Hell”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m not so big on wishing my politicians were comparable to Jesus.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                The voting population does not want a man that is, basically, the opposite of Jesus. Nor would they want a businessman whose first thought on business was “I like firing” rather than “I like hiring”.

                Laying aside the sort of personality that might enjoy the act of firing someone (they do exist, and they are all pricks), voters tend to prefer the guy that “makes stuff” instead of “breaks stuff”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                On a scale of Jesus to The Opposite Of Jesus, how Jesusy is Obama?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                .201 Jesi.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs says:

                Those are Bob Eucker numbers. Definitely not Hall of Fame. But there’s a good chance to be in a few movies maybe?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Because you say it’s his first thought doesn’t mean it is his first thought. That his comments about being able to fire got a lot of attention is because it was taken out of context (“I like being able to fire people” became “I like firing people BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”) and the “you shouldn’t say things that can be taken out of context or that I can ascribe such sinisterity to” defense is remarkably lame.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

              “Mr. Romney, Mr. Romney, the Obama campaign says that you specialized in outsourcing and offshoring American jobs to places like China, destroying profitable companies, devastating workers, their families, whole communities and regions while amassing a huge personal fortune – how do you respond?”
              “Well, they got unemployment benefits, didn’t they?”Report

  9. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Well, look, when it comes to free market capitalism, nobody does it better than communist autocracies.Report

  10. Avatar Scott says:

    Apparently that three years makes Mitt a criminal according to some folks at the Obama campaign.

    I’m still trying to figure out why being a multi-millionaire makes Mitt incapable of understanding common folks but yet Obama the multi-millionaire can understand us commoners.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho says:

      True. Nobody that isn’t “us” could ever possibly understand “us”. Just because he was at one point doesn’t mean he cares now, pandering isn’t understanding.Report

  11. Avatar Kria says:

    All of this would be a tempest in a teapot, but the sum total of things that Mitt Romney doesn’t want to talk about is getting beyond the ordinary, accepted level of avoidance of and dishonesty about cetrain issues in policy and personal history by a presidential campaign. That level of dishonesty and avoidance is and should be (I would argue) something that matters in a determining who to vote for. You can disagree with me that Romney isn’t a particularly opaque, dishonest politican, but he is really close to looking that way to the average, largely uniformed voter, no?

    I get that what matters most in determining who to vote for is what a candidate is likely to do once elected, but Romney is trying to hide his views from both the far right and the center, and a guy who would do that is less likely to do what you expected he would do when you voted for him. Moreoever, he’s hiding things about his earnings and relation to Bain and isn’t particularly open about his religion. That’s a problem.

    If I were Romney, I’d come out and really talk about my religion. It won’t hurt him as much as he thinks with evangelicals. And it will make him look honest and open, which he desperately needs. It will be a huge win with the media and Democrats won’t dare attack. And it will change the subject away from Bain, Wall Street-money, dishonesty, paying low-taxes, which really is becoming close to a huge liability at this point. Defending on this issue only makes you look more like a hair-splitting rich guy who bends rules and gets away with it. Better to change the subject, even to something uncomfortable to some.Report

  12. Avatar Kris says:


    I mispelled my own name,Report