Newt may be intelligent, but he is not smart. His recent attack on Romney’s tenure at Bain capital is an embarrassment to his party.
A survey at conservative National Review shows 80% of the readers thought Newt’s attack was disgraceful. It either shows no understanding of market realities or the eager willingness to torch one’s principles for political gain. It is particularly foolish to not consider how the conservative base would react. Could he have possibly believed that this tactic would have improved his chances? Is he getting campaign advice from Michael Moore? Worse yet, is he taking it?
From Ross Kaminski at American Spectator, Anti-Romney — Or Anti-Capitalism? (1/10/12):
First, who is Newt Gingrich, whose entire life has been in politics, academia, and self-promotion, to offer judgment on how businesses are or should be run? Gingrich’s qualifications in this area are little better than Barack Obama’s, but at least Gingrich’s self-promotion was done a few times through for-profit companies which appear, in total, to have hired a few dozen people — and fired some of them when Gingrich Communications was shut down last year when Newt announced his campaign. I don’t buy into the idea that a business decision is better if it helps others more than it helps you, but at least Romney’s job firings were done to protect the jobs of others as well as the investments of those who trusted Romney. Newt fired people just so he could run for office. What’s good for the goose, Newt?
And by the way, Newt, what “style of investment” do you want to recommend as comporting with your holier-than-thou approach to business ethics — one that perhaps does not require trading on political influence and connections the rest of us don’t have, and which were not the foundation of Mitt Romney’s financial success (quite different from, for example, collecting $1.6 million from Freddie Mac for “advice as a historian”)?
from Kim Strassel at The Wall Street Journal, Romney Derangement Syndrome, 1/10/12:
There’s something more wrong, at least for many conservative voters, with demonstrating a poor grasp of the fundamentals of the free market. Bain cut jobs. It also created jobs. It made money. It also lost money. This is what happens in business, and there is no version of it that is warm and fuzzy, and where everyone wins. To beat on Bain — and its business of taking big risks, restructuring firms, making bets — is to beat on every other investment firm, private-equity group, and hedge fund in America. The voters understand this, too, which is why Mr. Gingrich reaped a backlash in December, the first time he took a shot at Mr. Romney’s business record. He found out then how difficult it is to hit Mr. Romney on this issue without also leaving voters with doubts as to his own beliefs in the basics of capitalism.
Also in The Wall Street Journal, The Bain Capital Bonfire, 1/11/12:
A Wall Street Journal news story this week reported that Bain in the Romney era differed from many equity firms in buying more young and thus riskier companies. This contributed to a higher rate of bankruptcy or closure—22%—for companies held by Bain after eight years.
Bain disputes the Journal’s calculations, but one test of overall success is whether investors keep entrusting a firm with their money. Mr. Romney and his colleagues raised $37 million for their first fund in 1984. Today, Bain Capital manages roughly $66 billion. Its investors include college endowments and public pension funds that have increased their investments in private equity to get larger returns than stocks and bonds provide. The people who benefit from those returns thus include average workers.
Bain’s turnaround hits include Sports Authority and tech-research outfit Gartner Inc., which was once a small division of an advertising firm and is now a public company worth more than $3 billion. Another success was Steel Dynamics, which used Bain money to build a new steel factory and now employs 6,000 people.
Also read Newt Goes Kamikaze in Powerline. 1/11/12:
Is it really possible that Newt failed to recognize the likely temporary nature of his fortune as the non-Romney of the week? I’m afraid it is. One thing we’ve learned over the past few days is that there isn’t much Newt believes in more than himself.
Newt has no one to blame for his rapid drop in the polls than himself. His willingness to sacrifice principles for political gain and his utter lack of grace make him unfit for the office, no matter how intelligent he sounds.