What Romney has to do now is not only counter the disingenuous video released yesterday about how horrible Romney’s leadership at Bain Capital was, but explain to the electorate how democratic capitalism works. And here, surprisingly, Obama’s former auto czar, Democratic financier Steve Rattner, came to Romney’s defense on Morning Joe. When asked by Scarborough what his thoughts were on the Obama campaign video, Rattner replied:
I think the ad is unfair. Mitt Romney made a mistake ever talking about the fact that he created 100,000 jobs. Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for his investors, most of whom were pension funds, endowments and foundations. It did it superbly, acting within the rules and acting very responsibly and was a leading firm. So I do think to pick out an example of somebody who lost their job unfortunately, this is part of capitalism, this is part of life. And I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.
If a leading Democratic liberal and Obama supporter like Rattner, who himself has become a millionaire from equity funds management, can tell the truth when asked, clearly the electorate can also be informed about how capitalism works. On this point, the Romney team has already responded with their own video showing that Romney’s team created thousands of jobs in Indiana by funding another steel company. And, of course, they can point to the many jobs lost and dealerships closed as a result of the terms of Obama’s bailout of Chrysler. Under capitalism jobs cannot be guaranteed. As Joe Scarborough pointed out, his late father used to say when he was laid off for a year and a half that “if you want a guarantee of employment, go to the Soviet Union.”
So as it looks now, the president is in for some rough sledding. He will attempt to deal with this by increasing the attacks on Romney as a person, and by shifting left in order to reassure his dwindling base that they have reason to come out and do the kind of legwork that enabled him to win in 2008. Look for more promises to students, women, gays and African-Americans — pie in the sky that the gullible among these groups, he hopes, will respond favorably to.
If the Republican Party does not mess up its chances, it is indeed possible that Mitt Romney will be our next president.