Conservative Leaders Condemn Attacks on Romney, Bain Capital

Most conservatives said the entire attack was unprincipled, displayed an ignorance of the American economy, and that the assault ultimately would fail. Said Smith:

The willingness to essentially throw away principle just for populist rhetoric is silly. I mean, if you want a socialist to run this country you don’t need to go to a Republican. You’ve got a perfectly good choice from the Democratic side.

Benjamin Powell, a senior fellow at non-partisan think tank Independent Institute, said Gingrich and Perry were doing a good job promoting a Hollywood version of American business. He told PJ Media the statements by the Republican candidates were “demagoguery”:

It does confuse the public. ... It’s like the old movie Wall Street where they picture Gordon Gekko. ... Just like Hollywood they undermine our understanding of how markets really operate.

Don Boudreaux, a libertarian blogger at Cafe Hayek and a senior fellow at Mercatus Center, told PJ Media he was appalled by Gingrich:

[He is] criticizing private firms with their own private money on the line, engaging in competitive market activities. And that is the stuff that Democrats are supposed to do. Not your modern, post-Reagan Republicans are supposed to do. But that is exactly what Gingrich is doing. And it shows how unprincipled the guy is.

Phillips agreed with Boudreaux, saying the candidates are desperate and playing political games:

We expected this from President Obama, from Occupy Wall Street and from the unions. ... But from the former speaker, from the governor of the great state of Texas? We think they know better. We think they are playing political games. ... Why on Earth they would attack the private sector work of one of the candidates is beyond me. ... It shows a complete lack of understanding of free markets, free enterprise, and capitalism.

Most felt the Gingrich attack was, in fact, pure Gingrich. Said Smith:

Newt has been lots of things in his life. He’s clever. He’s articulate. He doesn’t have a lot of reflective capacity. ... He’s certainly not a consistent free market person.

In an unusual show of bipartisan agreement, both the liberal Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal questioned the integrity of the assault on Romney and Bain Capital. Per the Post:

Risking your money on a business idea, and persuading others to join you, is Capitalism 101, a strange thing for conservatives like Mr. Perry and Mr. Gingrich to criticize -- the latter with the “independent” help of a super PAC bankrolled by a casino magnate. Better that private parties take investment risks than government -- as in the case of now-bankrupt Solyndra, or the hundreds of millions in state funds that Mr. Perry has steered to Texas high-tech firms.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized that Gingrich and Perry used “crude and damaging caricatures of modern business and capitalism.”

Some predict Gingrich's campaign will collapse in South Carolina. Writes Post columnist Jennifer Rubin:

There can be no better evidence of Gingrich’s unfitness to serve than his behavior over the past week. Having attacked Bain earlier in the campaign and then expressing remorse about the attacks, he went back to the well with even more incendiary language, accusing Romney of making money off the misery of others. The guy who told Occupy Wall Street protesters to take a “bath” is now the mouthpiece for David Axelrod and President Obama.

Boaz said social media was railing against the three:

I think free market people are Facebooking, and tweeting and emailing each other saying, "what is wrong with these people?"

Smith feels there might be a rough ride ahead for the nation during this campaign:

History provides plenty of examples where chaos creates even worse political chaos. I’m a despairing optimist.