RedState's Erick Erickson is disappointed with the Republican field. So am I (I still haven't gotten over Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan not running). But I think his latest concern about Mitt Romney is misplaced. Erick writes:
Should he be the nominee, the American public will be treated to interviews and commercials with every person ever fired or laid off because of Bain Capital, an organization from which MItt Romney still draws money.
The Romney camp response is, in effect, “Sure, but look at all the people laid off because of Barack Obama.”
Okay. Sure. In other words, in a race about job creation, we’ll have a fight over who caused the fewest people to lose their jobs.
That’s a real winner of an argument to have.
Erick is 100% correct about Bain being a popular line of attack Obama will use against Romney should Romney be the nominee. But this is a fight conservatives must be eager to fight, and win.
The 2012 election will come down to a choice between two visions of how the federal government should manage the economy: Obama and the Democrats believe the federal government should be an active market participant, investing in new companies like Solyndra and bailing out old companies like Chrysler. Romney and the Republicans believe the federal government should set broad rules that make America a relatively competitive place to invest, but should avoid directly picking winners and losers in the marketplace.
Romney did a decent job of making this argument in last week's debate. Here is his exchange with Chris Wallace on the issue:
WALLACE: Candidates, I’m going to call this section, for lack of a better word, D.C. Culture. Governor Romney, I’m going to begin with you. Speaker Gingrich says that you should give back the millions of dollars you made, in his words, “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.” You respond that he has, in your words, “an extraordinary lack of understanding of how the economy works.”
But his comments dovetail with arguments you hear from Democrats that your belief in, what’s called, the creative destruction of capitalism, shows a hardheartedness. What do you think of what Speaker Gingrich had to say about you? And are you vulnerable to that kind of attack?
ROMNEY: I think it’s a great opportunity for us. Because I think the president is going to level the same attack. He’s going to go after me and say, you know, you — in businesses that you’ve invested in, they didn’t all succeed. Some failed. Some laid people off. And he’ll be absolutely right. But if you look at all the businesses we invested in, over 100 different businesses, they added tens of thousands of jobs.
In — in the real world that the president has not lived in, I — I actually think he doesn’t understand that not every business succeeds. That not every entrepreneur is lucky enough to do as well as the entrepreneurs that I described at Bright Horizons and Staples and that steel company and many, many others. I myself have had the chance of leading four different organizations. Each of those was highly successful, in part because of hard work and in part because of good luck.
In the real world, some things don’t make it. And I believe I’ve learned from my successes and my failures. The president I’ll look at and say, Mr. President, how — how did you do when you were running General Motors as the president, took it over? Gee, you closed down factories. You closed down dealerships. And he’ll say, well I did that to save the business. Same thing with us, Mr. President. We did our very best to make those businesses succeed. I’m — I’m pleased that they did and I’ve learned the lessons of how the economy works.
This president doesn’t know how the economy works. I believe to create jobs, it helps to have created jobs.
The liberal media is going to bend over backwards to help Democrats make their case. See recent stories in Politico, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. But pay special attention to The Post story which reports that five firms Bain bought did eventually go bankrupt, but never mentions how many companies that Bain bought are still thriving today. The Romney campaign is going to have to start telling these success stories.