It seems par for the course for the party that gave us the "hate crime" -- in which the severity of a crime is measured largely by what the criminal thought when he did it. Democrats claim credit now less for their results than for their intentions, which they assure us are only the best.
They are attacking Mitt Romney, Bain Capital and Wall Street in general, not for failing to create jobs, but because job creation isn't their first or main purpose -- that would be making a profit, growing their business and becoming ever more rich. Job creation is, of course, a great public good, but it is an indirect result of their ambitions. To make themselves rich, entrepreneurs must make or do something that people want. As demand grows, their businesses grow larger to meet it and hire more people, providing livelihoods for hundreds or thousands, who in turn have the wealth to enrich other people, and so it goes on.
The entrepreneur, whether he is an altruist or just someone who wants to live very nicely, does something good for his fellow man and his country. Surely, he is happy to know this, even if it was not the main goal he had in mind when beginning his venture.
Not only does capitalism do its good indirectly, but it often is cruel to be kind. Industries die as new ones replace them, or they become fat and sclerotic, and must be pruned to survive. Those pruned or displaced suffer unjustly, and take a dim view of the pruners, but the process is good for the country in general. It allows the system itself to chug on.
Conversely, one can be cruel to the country in general when one is too kind to the parts that comprise it: General Motors became a pension plan attached to a car company, and was on the verge of collapse. The government saved it by pruning and slashing, using roughly the same tactics deployed by Romney and others at Bain. Obama calls this one of the high points of his tenure. In fact, "vultures" like Romney are part of Obama's bundler and donor base. Does this make him one of them, too?
Obama makes much of his own good intentions, and there is no reason to think he is lying. Profit making was never his main objective. He really does want most people to flourish. (If they don't, he will not be re-elected.) The president's main concern is the common interest, not the welfare of some of the wealthier parts that comprise it, but his problem is the translation of these into tangible goods for the country, and here he falls very short. He gave up a big salary at a prestigious law firm to be a community organizer, but we don't know what benefits, if any, were realized by the communities that he organized. His environmental concerns are choking the energy business. His health care morass has put a damper on hiring. He poured billions of dollars into helping "green energy" firms create jobs, which they failed to do. If unemployment has managed to tick a bit downward, it is only because so many people are leaving the workforce -- most of whom would jump at the chance for one of the jobs once created by Romney in his prior career of seeking out wealth.
Obama may not have planned to enrich himself, but his good intentions have done little for the intended beneficiaries, who might well prefer Romney's results.
Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."