Waiting, along with millions of others, for Romney to speak. I pass the time by reading Matt Taibbi’s deliciously polemical account of Bain Capital. I doubt that more than one percent of the country understands what “private equity” firms do; I certainly didn’t, though I have known people who spoke knowingly about so and so, “who left Goldman to go into private equity.” Taibbi spells it out. Essentially Bain borrows money to take over companies, then has the acquired company pay off the debt. The principals of the acquired company are well compensated–bribed in a way to turn their company over to Bain. Bain’s partners are well compensated with managment fees. The companies, saddled with huge debts, tend to stagger under their new burdens, shedding workers. The whole mechanism is essentially a way of transferring wealth from private businesses–their owners and workers, to the Bain partners. Who provides the funding? Well, one funder of Bain’s deals, one learns from the Taibbi piece, was the junk bondster and convicted felon Mike Milken (though Milken had only been charged and was not convicted when Romney was dealing with him.) If Taibbi’s piece becomes the standard vehicle to understand Romney’s business success, the GOP is in trouble. Probably they should find someone to write a rebuttal. At a fancy golf club last month, someone suggested to me that Romney needs to take out ads showing that private equity firms are absolutely critical for the pension funds of labor unions and municipalities. Somehow I don’t think this will do the trick.
Now we’re on to the movie. George Romney. Emphasis on him as “a brick”–you always knew where he stood, what his principles were. The obvious contrast with the son isn’t intended, but jumps out.
Clint Eastwood. Kind of old to be doing this, no? He’ s making what sounds very much like an antiwar point about Afghanistan –”how did it work out for the Russians?” Time for a businessman to be President, he says. Now, “We own this country,” he tells Obama. Can’t quite tell who the “we” is; if someone other than Clint was saying it, I might suspect a racial edge.
Here comes Marco Rubio. Probably the runner up choice for Veep. He seems to be making the argument that upward mobility exists only in “special” America, ignoring most global historical evidence of the past two centuries. Uniquely blessed. Exceptional. Sigh.
And now: Mitt Romney! He channels FDR–we are all immigrants! Actually, Mitt, your folks were settlers, which I think is the correct term for WASPs who came before the founding. Chants of “USA”. Is this standard at GOP conventions? Or new? He wishes Obama had succeeded. I doubt it. One of the big lies of the convention is that the GOP wanted Obama to succeed in bipartisan problem solving. Of course they didn’t.
Okay, Mitt says that Americans felt all things were possible in the 50′s and 60′s. I don’t disagree. But what went wrong? Curious how Mitt will get out of this rhetorical corner. Tells the story of his father. Sports teams. Mitt does not strike me as someone who followed sports teams. Ever. Maybe a reader can correct this surmise. Dad gave Mom a rose every day. It’s so corny and sweet. So far he’s talked more about his father’s business career than his own. Ann, church, community, big family. Faith and family. Sounds very Petainiste.
Okay, here we go. Helped start a business “helping companies”. See Taibbi. Is this credible, that Obama has spent a lot of time “attacking success?” For all my problems with Obama, I have not noticed this predilection.
He’s talking about the poor. One in six. Convention goes to its feet for first time at energy independent line. But no chants of “drill baby drill.” We will cut the deficit. Question: what would the deficit be if everyone in upper tax brackets paid taxes at Romney’s 13 percent rate?
What’s this, making fun of Obama for wanting to slow the rise of the oceans. The floor laughs, global warming such a hoot! Mitt knows his audience.
Obama has thrown Israel under the bus, Poland; Return to Truman/Reagan foreign policy. Under Romney we will have a united America that will preserve a military so strong no one will ever test it. It sounds like the peroration, restore that America.
Okay, it’s over now. I can’t think of the hook–George Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” or the hint of direction. It’s full of platitudes. But adequately delivered I think. Romney does look good on the podium.
Here come the blondes!! (Ms Romney and Ms. Ryan)–the double blonde ticket, notes my wife.
Seriously, I don’t think, despite the unrelenting use of the phrase “middle class,” this allows Romney to connect with the middle class. Wolf Blitzer is now recapitualting, saying Romney touched all the bases. But I don’t think so.