The Job Cremator Gets Burned

The ABC News New Hampshire GOP debate on Saturday was a dud. The fireworks didn’t go off as promised and Mitt Romney’s phoniness and sanctimony were not spread all over the night sky.

Gingrich was unusually timid, even given a chance to bash Romney’s tenure with Bain Capital, which has caused Democrats to start labeling Romney, cleverly, the “job cremator.”

Jon Huntsman, who is depending on a good showing in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary to keep his campaign going, didn’t have much fire in his belly on Saturday. In fact, he couldn’t have warmed a gnat’s gonads.  Regarding the unbelievably important Bain Capital issue, he punted.

But Sunday morning’s NBC debate was a real fireworks display. And the let’s-blow-up-Romney-for-a-change show was kind of refreshing, and certainly a lot of fun for Democrats to observe.  Watching Romney’s “pious baloney” (Gingrich’s phrase) loaded into a canister and blasted so high in the sky it could be seen in South Carolina, was, well, genuine schadenfreude.

For all the other fireworks in the debate, the one that will keep pleasing Democrats is the Bain Capital controversy. Late in the debate, Gingrich finally got real:

Well, I think you have to look at the film, which I haven’t seen.  But if you look at the New York Times article, and I think it was on Thursday– you would certainly have to say that Bain, at times, engaged in behavior where they looted a company, leaving behind 1,700 unemployed people.

First of all, it was not a New York Times article that Newt wanted us to look at, but a Reuter’s article about a Kansas City steel mill, “Special Report: Romney’s steel skelton in the Bain closet.”  And Newt is right, the article is a good read, which includes this:

“Romney cost me lots and lots of sleepless nights and lots and lots of money,” said Ed Stanger, who worked at the plant for nearly 30 years.

Second, the “film” Gingrich alludes to is the soon-to-be-released documentary (“When Mitt Romney Came to Town“), produced by a so-called “super PAC” that happens to support Newt Gingrich, which, according to The Washington Post,

paints the GOP presidential frontrunner as a corporate “raider” more unscrupulous even than Wall Street executives, preying on the misfortune of people who lost their jobs when his company, Bain Capital, turned around their companies.

Here is a trailer of the documentary, and I remind you: this is a Republican-produced film:

The Post goes on to describe more of the content:

The video, which is being disseminated by the Winning Our Future super PAC, also features clips of Romney speaking French, getting his shoes shined on the tarmac next to a large airplane, and even Fix boss Chris Cillizza describing an expansion of Romney’s massive beach house in California.

Indeed, it is a concerted effort to paint the former Massachusetts governor as an elite who lined his pockets by gaming the system and destroying unsuspecting American businesses.

From Saturday’s debate, which featured an extensive discussion of Bain Capital, Romney defended himself this way:

ROMNEY: Well, I — I’m not surprised to have “The New York Times” try and put free enterprise on trial. I’m not surprised to have the Obama administration do that, either. It’s a little surprising from my colleagues on this stage…

You see, to folks like Romney, “free enterprise” means doing things like lining your own pockets and “gaming the system and destroying unsuspecting American businesses” and the jobs that go with them.  His real argument, when you strip away all the decorations, is that such outcomes are just part of the price of enjoying unfettered, dog-eat-dog capitalism.

We shall see how that plays in November, and we can be sure that by the time the election is here, every American with a TV or radio or who reads a newspaper, will know exactly what Bain Capital is and Romney’s role in it. (For another problem for Romney related to Bain Capital, read here.)

Finally, one of my favorite moments, other than the Bain Capital business, was watching the normally undisturbed Jon Huntsman finally get disturbed about Romney’s pious baloney (thanks, Newt, for that wonderful characterization!) expressed in Saturday’s debate. This time the discussion was about Huntsman’s work on behalf of the Obama Administration as Ambassador to China:

ROMNEY: I’m sorry, Governor, you were, the last two years, implementing the policies of this administration in China. The rest of us on this stage were doing our best to get Republicans elected across the country and stop the policies of this president from being put forward.

By Sunday morning, Huntsman had finally come up with an effective way of countering the pious baloney (other than speaking in Mandarin):

Let me say– let me say, first of all, with respect to Governor Romney, you know, there are a lot of people who are tuning in this morning.  And I’m sure they’re terribly confused after watching all of this political spin up here.  I was criticized last night by Governor Romney for putting my country first. 

And I just wanna remind the people here in New Hampshire and throughout the United States that I think– he criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in China.  Yes, under a Democrat.  Like my two sons are doing in the United States Navy.  They’re not asking who– what political affiliation the president is.  I wanna be very clear with the people here in New Hampshire and this country.  I will always put my country first.  And I think that’s important to them.

You see, while Mitt was only pretending to put his country first by making the “sacrifice” of sharing his awesome skills with the people of Massachusetts (he could always go back to his job-cremating day job, remember), and while Mitt was only pretending to put his country first by making the “sacrifice” of running for president since 2007 (2007, for God’s sake!), Jon Huntsman was actually doing it. He actually put party politics aside, at least temporarily, and served his country—even if he served it at the pleasure of someone so hated in the Republican Party.

When Romney tried to justify his criticism, Huntsman answered back:

This nation is divided because of attitudes like that.

For all of Jon Huntsman’s ideological flaws—and there are many—one cannot question his service to his country, as Romney certainly did on Saturday night. Not only was Huntsman elected as Governor of Utah for two terms (he won with 78% of the vote the second time), he also served the sainted Ronald Reagan and Bush I and Bush II.

But his unforgivable sin, of course, is serving that scary black man in the White’s House, and for a moment on Sunday morning, it seemed that Huntsman was telling his judges in the GOP to judge not lest they be judged.

And, for Huntsman, it is about time.

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5 Comments

  1. The Citizens United decision is now only two years old and something tells me we are only beginning to see its effects, both intended and unintended. The GOP super-pac video above must have come as a shock to Romney, and like most effective polemics I assume it wields the truth while withholding any mitigating detail.

    Disingenuous presentation and demagoguery have the potential to be as effective and slick as a Dr. Pepper commercial when there’s enough money behind the effort, especially in an America with a 25% high-school drop-out rate. That’s why I consider Citizens United to be one of the most damaging decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court.

    If you didn’t see the comic “Non Sequitur” this morning, you missed a good one that applies here.

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    • Jim,

      You know, what bothers me about the Citizens United decision (besides the danger you point out) is the idea that “both parties do it.” While that, as you say, “wields the truth” it does withhold some important “mitigating detail.” Like: the Democrats, by and large, want to change the system and Republicans want to keep the system. It would be political suicide for Democrats not to play along with the way things are and watch Republicans sell their brand of Dr. Pepper without sufficient rebuttal.

      And I loved that cartoon:

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  January 9, 2012

    To all,

    Let’s see, are we discussing the debate or money in politics?

    If you believe GOP money in politics is “bad” just wait. The President, as I hear, has about a $1 Billion war chest for the coming campaign and has yet to spend very much while the GOP sorts itself out to pick a candidate. But just wait! We the people are going to see and hear $1 Billion worth of Dem ‘stuff” in the coming months. That makes Romney’s $13 million (or so) in Iowa PALE in comparison. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Axlerod can’t wait to start unleashing all of that money!!!

    Now back to Huntsman and his service. Good service and good for him for doing so is my view. I am also sure he knows more about China than anyone else on the stage. But is that the criteria for election as President? Or is such a choice “bigger” than that?

    Now Jim has expressed some “concern” about Mormans simply because it seems he does not “understand” their religion. Well which is more important, his religion or his knowledge of China?

    It almost seems to me that Duane is trying to “pick a winner” for the GOP nomination. Why I wonder as we already know for whom he will vote in Nov, no matter what? So in his “support” for one or another GOP candidate, I wonder why the motivation to show even a “little” support. Go back to his perceived “job” in this blog to diminish all things GOP and evnagelical.

    Duane has certainly joined all the crowds as each GOP candidate rose to the top then went back down. He was all over Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich and of course now Romney. Did I leave out Santorum? You know as well as I do that if Santorum gains traction, particularly in NH and SC, we will hear all the arguments against electing a “Christian believer” as President as well.

    But no, when Duane shows even a “little support” for anything GOP or evangelical, I listen carefully. If I really am on the “top of my game” late next summer, I might even find a quote to two herein showing SUPPORT for “something” GOP. OMG!!

    anson

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    • Anson,

      Nice try. My “support” of Jon Huntsman extends only to his unwillingness to call Obama names and to his willingness to serve his country, under Republicans and most recently a Democrat, as a public servant. I also know he doesn’t have a chance to become the GOP nominee because of his association with that “uppity negro” in the White’s House.

      If I could pick a winner in the GOP primary, it would be, for selfish reasons, Ron Paul. Try this:

      1) Republicans need to confront the silliness in their party’s soul that Paul represents.

      2) He would lose in a landslide.

      Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  January 9, 2012

    Duane,

    Nice try to you as well calling for a Ron Paul candidacy. He as you well know was history before the first page was written about this campaign. As for Huntsman, we both agree that his apolitical service deserves praise, not campaign rhetoric in criticism. But such is politics, Dem of GOP for sure in such campaigns.

    It seems that you are now focusing your guns on Romney, the likely GOP choice now. IF and only if Gingrich, Santorum and Paul combine their candidacies into one candidate, will that ONE candidate have a chance at really challenging Romney now.. Florida will show that result in my view with SC giving “some”, probably Gingrich a momentary boost as the conservative of choice by the right wing of the GOP.

    If Romney in fact gains the GOP nomination you and I will have six months to argue back and forth between Romney and Obama. Obviously for now at least your biggest gun with be BAIN (fully) applied.

    Well guess what Duane, Sometimes firing people is in fact the right thing to do, to run a business, a country, even a household. If you want more details on the “household” side of things, well I can show you people that have been “fired” from their families and the families were correct in doing so. In that case the firings were usually in form of divorce. But that is beside the point I suppose.

    Anson

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