What an interesting couple of days it has been. The long promised Newtagedon finally arrived when Newt Gingrich dropped a hydrogen bomb on Romney’s electability argument. Attacking directly Mitt Romeny’s tenure at Bain Capitol. Reinforced by Rick Perry’s attack’s on Romney’s character, the conservative world has exploded. The talking heads at Faux News have roundly condemned Rick Perry with Meagan Kelly calling his attacks “dishonest and disingenuous”. Way to stay impartial there Meagan. Hannity and Rush have wrapped Mitt in the sacred cloak of capitalism, conflating instantly any assault on Mitt as an assault on our free market system as a whole, yeah that seems accurate. Rush going so far as to call Rick Perry the Governor of Texas Castro? No none is over reacting at all. At Redstate the ammunition has once again been passed out, sides have been chosen and various scrimmages have already ensued. Though I fear this may just be the quiet before the storm. You have to hand it to Newt, the guy doesn’t disappoint. When he says it’s on, baby he means it. So this brings us to the here and now and the purpose of my posting.
Several amongst us, myself included have let the emotions of the moment overshadow the actual issue at hand. By way of example I am a 39 year old white gun owning male from the outskirts of Dallas Texas who has over the last 24 hours or so been called a liberal, an OWS supporter and a “stupid shill for Obama” no less. While I certainly match the demographic for these labels 😉 I have never cast a democratic or third party for that matter ballot in my life. Further there are literally scores of post’s denouncing the Governor of Texas as a traitor, liar, democrat and (insert your favorite here). Is it at all possible that we are going a little to far with all of this? Could it be we have let the heat of the moment cloud our collective judgment? Let’s take a look at what Governor Perry actually said.
We have all heard or seen by now the “Vulture Capitalism” line but I will include it anyway so we can see what he actually said.
“I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists, but they’re not — they’re vulture capitalists,” Perry told voters in Lexington, South Carolina.
There it is folks, Rick Perry the three term governor of Texas the reddest of red states. Champion of free enterprise, small government and conservative values as proven by his extensive record has proclaimed socialism is the path forward for America, the free market has failed. But wait a second, we seem to be missing something here? Does that say “I happen to think”? Could it be that Perry is expressing an Opinion? Could it be that Perry is attacking the leadership and character of Mitt Romney his opponent for the Republican Nomination? I know this is a stretch but lets investigate.
“greedy people on Wall Street were taking advantage of small companies”, but added that the answer was not more regulation.
“We’ve got plenty of regulations,” he explained. “You got a Congress that’s in bed with Wall Street. When you look at Barney Frank, and when you look at the people who did away with the oversight of Glass-Stegal and then go to work for Wall Street firms. I think we need to have a serious look at substantially reducing all of the agencies that are supposedly protecting the consumer,” Perry continued. “They’re not protecting the consumer.”
Now that doesn’t sound like someone who is advocating abolishing the free market to me. In fact it sounds more and more like someone who is questioning the business practices of a rival who has made his “Private Sector Experience” and the fact that he “Has Been In the Private Sector” a center piece for his campaign. Otherwise why would he be advocating removing regulations and abolishing government agencies? Just doesn’t make since does it? It seems more and more that Governor Perry disagrees with the appropriateness of Mitt Romney’s business practices, especially as a candidate running for president on a jobs creation platform.
But what are these business practices that the Governor of Texas “happens to think” are so inappropriate for a presidential candidate to take part in?
By way of example we will start with GSI Technologies.
Mitt Romney became majority shareholder in a steel mill that had been operating since 1888. The old mill was renamed GSI Technologies, company managers then cut jobs and benefits almost immediately. Bain and other investors received management fees from GSI and a $65 million dividend in the first years following that acquisition. Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied their severance pay and health insurance they’d been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month. What’s more, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (i.e. YOU the taxpayer) had to pay $44 million to bail out the company’s underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.
Another prime example is DDi.
Bain invested $41 million in DDi starting in 1996. Bain took the DDi stock public in 2000 and eventually liquidated most of its stake in the company, selling shares to the public as well as distributing them to its investors and partners. It generated at least $93 million from selling the stock, according to a 2003 Register story. Romney personally sold $4.3 million of his DDi stock in May 2001. And just in time. The tech bubble burst and by the end of 2002, DDi defaulted on debt and cut its workforce by 1,300 workers, to about 1,900. In 2003, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Later that year, the SEC cited Lehman Brothers, one of four investment firms that took DDi public, alleging it pressured analysts to lie about DDi’s worth. Shareholders sued DDi, saying it withheld information that the company’s fortunes would soon sour, and the company settled for millions. In 2005, DDi was the worst performing public company in Orange County, losing 79 percent of its stock value.
I have to quote the Newt here because as is so often the case I think he says it best.
“I think there’s a real difference between people who believe in the free market, and people who go around, take financial advantage, loot companies, leave behind broken families, broken towns, people on unemployment.”
These are but two examples , I could continue but I think we all get the point.
Sure companies succeed and fail that’s how the market works after all, certainly Romney has his success stories… Staples, Dominos and Sports Authority are the chosen few he likes to mention. Though one must wonder. Would these companies have actually failed had Romney and his minions not taken so much out of them? Would they have turned a profit with the benefit of the capital they were able to raise yet somehow found it’s way to the coffers of Bain, Romney and his offshore investors? Was Romney actually trying to help these companies or himself? That is the real question.
Romney was born rich, a person like that chooses his own path in life, the path doesn’t choose him. With all the opportunities in the world one must wonder, why did Romney choose to make his money in this way? He could have made a ton of money in anything he chose, why then did he choose this particular path? I think it is a fair question and one the American voters have a right to ask.
My father said three very important things to me as a young man, things which I have passed on as basic principles to my own sons.
1.Courage is not the absence of fear, courage is what you do despite it.
2.Strength is not demonstrated in the subjugation of the weak.
3.An honorable man does not profit from the suffering of others.
I personally believe that Governor Perry is right to ask these questions of Mitt Romney. Further Governor Palin is leading a growing chorus demanding Mitt Romney release his tax returns which is also fair. If Mitt Romney has nothing to hide why would he deny such a basic request to the American people? I feel that he should be required to answer for his actions as the rest of the candidates have. We need an honorable president again. A person who can lead by the example of his own character. Mitt Romney should answer these questions of character, it is after all one of the most important qualities of a man.