Last weekend’s spectacle of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich feasting on Mitt Romney was political cannibalism at its worse. What followed later this week has only compounded the problems for the Republican field. It almost seems as if the carnage will not end until the candidates annihilate each other to the point of allowing Obama to make the election of 2012 a winnable race for his failed presidency.
This ugly spectacle risks alienating the anti-Obama vote from the Republican candidates. Political cannibalism aside, it has become so that it is next to impossible to tell if any of these candidates is a free market proponent anymore (with the possible exception of Rick Santorum who is staying above the fray). It is normal for candidates to point each others’ weaknesses out, but what is all this uncharacteristic class warfare rhetoric doing in a supposedly conservative field? Although I am not particularly a Romney fan, his tenure at Bain Capital was nothing to be ashamed of for any small, constitutional government supporting free market capitalist.
Just what kind of an evil organization is Bain? Let’s see…it is foremost a venture/private equity capital firm. This 400-employee bastion of evildom with $66 billion in assets under management provides life’s blood for start ups as well as established giants that have capital needs for various reasons including, among others, business failure, which seems to be the main point of contention as far as anti-Romney forces go.
Whether it is due to under capitalization, faulty business plan, or whatever the reason, in our capitalistic system, companies fail all the time. It is a fact of life in a competitive free market. When sizeable businesses fail, one of several outcomes occur. The first two possibilities are total liquidation as a result of bankruptcy proceedings or a government bailout. Neither of these two outcomes is desirable because the first leads to job losses as well as other less visible costs to society, and the latter amounts to government picking winners and losers – something they have repeatedly proven to be quite inept with for the obvious reason that the word profit is not in its DNA (see Solyndra, Evergreen, etc.). The last possible outcome is for companies like Bain Capital to step in and try to rescue the business. The risks that these types of companies take are immense and so are the profits when they are successful. After all, this is private money in search of underperforming or undervalued assets that can be turned around given a new business plan/strategy.
Companies get in to business for one reason and one reason only: to make money (and preferably lots of it). No company gets in to any venture for the stated purpose of creating jobs. Jobs are simply a desirable byproduct of successful businesses that are profitable. We expect progressives not to see the vital role of private equity firms, or the importance of creative destruction in a dynamic economy, but what is the excuse for those who are trying hard to pass themselves as conservatives? Why engage in class warfare rhetoric that should only be at home at the Democrat party?
Messrs. Gingrich and Perry need to realize that a scorched earth policy of class warfare to secure the nomination amounts to burning down their own house. The only party that can benefit from that is the current resident of the White House who happens to be promoting the same strategy. If the GOP does not wake up from this nightmare, the eventual losers won’t only be them but the American public to whom they owe a viable alternative.