In A Mormon In The White House I charted how the attack on Mitt Romney would unfold, beginning with the scrutiny of each transaction conducted by Bain Capital, the enormously successful private equity firm founded by Romney. Romney’s 1994 campaign against Ted Kennedy included a preview of this coming attraction, but with between 160 and 200 major deals in the years with Romney at its head, I concluded that the history of Bain Capital would be the richest source of ant-Romney attack ad material.
The New York Times gets this phase of the Democratic campaign underway this morning with its front page spread by David Kirkpatrick, “Romney’s Fortune Tied To Riches Gained In Business.” Kirkpatrick’s central theme, which we can expect to see again and again:
But Mr. Romney’s Bain career – a source of money and contacts that he has used to finance his Massachusetts campaigns and to leap ahead of his presidential rivals in early fund-raising – also exposes him to criticism that he enriched himself excessively, sometimes by cutting jobs to increase profits.
As Romney’s campaign increases its momentum, so too will the digging into Bain Capital’s history. Expect detailed scrutiny of every business ever acquired by Bain Capital, and the publication of long lists of the numbers of employees laid off from each concern.
The attempt to turn business success into a negative is a long shot, though, especially when compared to the resumes of the leading Dems, who boast among them exactly zero years in senior management of any product- and profit-making concern. The three lawyer-legislators at the top of the lefty pile will find that every attack on Romney’s extraordinary success in the corporate world will highlight their threadbare resumes. Even with the war as the top issue, the voters can’t be counted on to be cavalier about the economy. The Times has done Romney a favor by getting this meme out early, as it won’t hold up for long: Don’t trust Romney –he was an incredible success in the world of investment banking!
If you want to know what the next series of attacks on Romney will be like, you’ll have to read the book. David Kirkpatrick certainly has.