Thursday, July 12, 2012

Elsewhere: Romney, Medicare, Predictions

Today I did a post over at PP speculating that the nomination process this cycle didn't produce any candidates capable of full opposition research efforts other than Mitt Romney, and as a consequence the usual vetting that goes on in primary campaigns may not have taken place as it normally does.

And I have a couple that I didn't get around to linking yesterday. At Greg's place, I beat up on the Republicans again over the Medicare (provider) cuts in ACA, which again was their lead point during the repeal debate this week, despite that House Republicans included those cuts in their budget resolution.

One more from yesterday: a longish but I hope interesting item about the difficulty in doing predictions in presidential elections. It's hooked around the question of whether Mitt Romney's wealth might hurt him, but it's really more about the broader issue.


  1. It might be that Republican attackers were not well equipped to make the charge that Romney is too much of a weaselly capitalist.

  2. I dunno....I think 2008 counts as his vetting.

  3. As I understand it, a partner at a big, fancy consulting firm like Bain can expect a pretty sweet golden parachute, including a permanent pension at 80%+ final salary, plus residuals for continuing project areas. As the founder of Bain Capital, Romney's arrangement was surely much sweeter still.

    It seems to me that Romney's 'post-Bain' accomodation must start to bump into the accounting concept of "controlling interest"; that is, at what point does Romney's income+residuals leave him, effectively, still 'in charge' at Bain Capital, if not actually in name only?

    So it seems quite likely that the Republican oppo research folks knew this in either 2008 or 2012 and were a bit flummoxed about how to proceed. Was he really in charge, or only sort of, and anyway, are we Republicans against pocket-lining consultancies?

    The relevant Obama comparison is apt: the most difficult attack for Obama in the general was probably his palling around with terrorists, which was perhaps as difficult for Hillary to play in '08 as the murky world of big consulting was for Santorum in '12. Was Obama's problem Ayres? Or really the conservative Annenbergs? And so on. Thus that was left for the Republicans, for whom the Ayres thing become all too easy an attack line.

    In a similar way, Bain may provide clarity to Obama that was unavailable to Romney's same-party primary opponents. The audience Obama is trying to reach cares much less than Santorum's about the nuance of compensation and control in big consulting. Which should work quite well for Obama.

    1. I think to, CSH, that the big element here has to do with the difference between "illegal" and "ill-advised." Bain broke no laws. They profited handsomely. Romney is justifiably proud of his investment record. No Republican would see this as a line of attack.

      Nonetheless, Bain's method of making money produced no real value for the other stockholders or the employees of the firms it took over. Seen outside the context of finance, people disapprove of what he's done and how it was done.

      In an ideal world, this would open up a serious conversation about the role of business in promoting the welfare of the country. But that ain't gonna happen.


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