Far be it for me to say "I told you so;" at least, not publicly, but back in 2005, I said that the economy would be the #1 issue in the presidential campaign of 2008.
All the economic indicators dating back to the months immediately prior to 9/11 were in place for a major economic blowout. The handwriting was on the wall, but many prominent pundits disagreed, and said "It's the war, stupid." Well, guess what -- they were wrong. It was the economy, and it still is. Yes, that's right, the economy isn't going anywhere as an issue any time soon.
Well, I'm back to prognosticating, only this time my aim is the 2012 presidential race. If the Democrats want to hold on to the White House in 2012, they'd better sharpen their knives, and get to work on the tefflon candidate, Mitt Romney.
Time to dispell some of those ludicrous myths about what a liberal governor he was, and how he introduced "universal health care." Puh-leeze. Romney introduced a mandate, or requirement, for state residents to carry health insurance, or face stiff penalties, that's not anywhere close to "universal health care."
One has only to look at how the rate of foreclosures, and personal bankruptcies, has gone up in Massachusetts, and the nose dive the economy took, partly as a result of adding to the woes of those who could barely afford to make their car payment. This is hard for one to conceive, especially one whose net worth is estimated to be somewhere around $300 million like Mitt Romney's is.
And, yes, there are those who will point to Romney having been pro-choice before he was against choice, but it's time for Democrats to drive home what Romney's corporate origins are, where his allegiances have traditionally been, and how he is not merely a white collar Republlcan, but a blueblood one at that.
Sarah Palin has served not only as an attractive dartboard, but as a great distraction from a heavyweight contender, Mitt Romney, who is already emerging as the teflon candidate.
So, before the ever resilient Birchers, tea baggers, and Fundamentalists can get those "Romney in 2012" bumper stickers out, it might be helpful to get acquainted with the potential Republican candidate.
In a nutshell, it's fair to say that Mitt Romney was born to politics, and to corporate life. Apart from being a three term Michigan governor, Mitt Romney's father was the chairman of American Motors.
Ask just about anyone, and about the only thing they can tell you is Mitt Romney is a Mormon. It's true that he attended Brigham Young. It's also true that he received a "ministerial deferment" from military service which kept him from serving in Vietnam. Keep this in mind when hearing the drum roll of national security.
While two prominent Democratic presidents, Clinton and Obama didn't serve in the military, the last Republican president who did, George W. Bush, effectively went AWOL. Yes, and he's the one kicking up all that desert dust about homeland security. Romney will see him one disappearing act, and raise him with one bible.
Make no mistake, Mitt Romney, like President Obama, is a highly educated, Harvard man. Romney received both an MBA and a law degree from Harvard where he moved in the mid-1970's. But, it's what he did after he left Harvard that differs drastically to the current president.
But, while Obama was a community organizer before going to Harvard, he was a Visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago's law school where he worked on his first book. After Harvard, Romney went to work first for Boston Consulting, then as vice president of Bain and Company, and ultimately to found a high octane venture capital firm.
In 1986, Romney co-founded Bain Capital, a company that currently manages $65 billion in assets. With Romney at the wheel, their rate of return on investments was reportedly something like 113%.
Bain Capital is said to have acquired, invested in, or founded hundreds of prominent companies; to name but a few: AMC Entertainment, Staples, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Domino's Pizza, even The Weather Channel. It was thanks to Bain Capital that Staples grew from a start-up with only 1 store, back in 1986, to nearly 1,700 stores in 2006.
Six years after founding Bain Capital, Romney was called back to resuscitate the ailing Bain and Company which he did, and so well that he earned the reputation of consummate businessman which served him well in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. He left Bain Capital, his signature company, twelve years ago.
During a close senatorial race against Ted Kennedy, Bain Capital came under intense scrutiny. It was Kennedy who exposed not merely Romney's flip flops on a woman's right to choose, but the egregious treatment of workers at a paper products firm owned by his venture capital firm.
Should Romney prevail and take his party's nomination, in 2012, it will only confirm how deeply entrenched corporate elitism is in the body politic of this country. Those who now decry the influence of big business on the Obama administration ain't seen nothing yet. Mitt Romney isn't just in bed with big business. He is big business.
But, the $60 million question, adjusted for inflation, is: how will the populists who are most outraged at executive bonuses at Goldman Sachs like it when they find out that they're voting for someone who is right in line with handing out even bigger bonuses, and when will Democrats start hammering away at this? Two days before the November 2012 election?
As their recent regrettable decision granting First Amendment rights to corporations shows, even the Supreme Court has now become a leveraged buyout. What's more, there's little doubt Burger King, AMC Entertainment, Domino's Pizza, and Staples will forget who sired them should Mitt Romney become his party's candidate. Should Romney prevail, you may expect to see his face often on The Weather Channel.
If the economy is the issue that will stick for as far out as anybody can see, then it should be easy to defeat even a teflon candidate, especially one whose entire career has been devoted to supporting, and solidifying the infrastructure of corporate elitism; that is, as long as Democrats don't wait, and start working now to make oatmeal of his campaign.