Politics and Public Opinion

Why Danny DeVito could be Romney’s best rebuttal to ‘King of Bain’ attacks

Remember that big-budget Hollywood movie about the powerful company that creates jobs, drives innovation, and gives millions to charity? Neither do I.

From Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street” to Edward Lewis in “Pretty Woman,” Hollywood loves to hate corporate raiders. And now, we’ve learned, so do many of the Republican candidates for president not named Mitt Romney. “Winning our Future,” a super PAC that’s backing Newt Gingrich, just released a documentary called “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” that assails Romney’s record as head of Bain Capital. It’s the kind of withering attack on private equity that makes the Daily Kos crowd cheer.

Romney has tried to respond by noting how many net jobs—“well over 100,000”—he created. And he’s also empathized with those whose jobs were lost. “Any time a job is lost it’s a tragedy,” Romney said today. “For the family, for the individual that loses a job, it’s just devastating. And every time that we invested in the business it was to try and encourage that business to have ongoing life.”

The underlying issue for conservatives is not whether Romney qualifies as a millionaire job creator—a “unicorn,” to use Senator Harry Reid’s term of art. It is whether conservatives stand for free enterprise—period—or whether they stand only for the soft and cuddly kind of free enterprise that they and Washington regulators can manage.

This is crucial, because even liberals concede that free enterprise is a great engine of wealth creation. But liberals and conservatives alike often regard it as a necessary evil—immoral for sure, amoral at best.

Romney tried to be philosophical about the impact of his record. “The reality is in the private sector, that there are some businesses that are growing and thriving—and we were fortunate enough to be able to be part of that in a small way—and there’s some businesses that have to be cut back in order to survive to try to make them stronger. Sometimes you’re successful at that and sometimes you’re not.”

For a guy whose book was titled “No Apology,” that’s weak sauce. But he doesn’t need to spend millions on a campaign film to defend free enterprise and rebut “When Mitt Romney Came to Town.” He could just buy time to run this YouTube clip of “Other People’s Money.” It’s one of the few Hollywood films that shows—perhaps inadvertently—the benefits, and even moral worth, of “corporate raiding.” It’s worth watching the entire 12 minutes.

Can you see the inevitable slogan? Romney to a deeply unemployed America: “I’m not your best friend. I’m your only friend!”

6 thoughts on “Why Danny DeVito could be Romney’s best rebuttal to ‘King of Bain’ attacks

  1. It’s interesting that the chairman in this scene, like so many politicians, mixes up the consequences of a weak and a strong dollar. Contrary to his claim, the business would be stronger if the Dollar were weaker and the Yen were stronger. It’s really regrettable that in the popular imagination strong is always good and weak is always bad, when it’s precisely the opposite for Americans producing products for export.

    • Really, If that is true then we should weaken it. How weak can we make it? The weak Leone isn’t doing Seirra Leone businesses much good. Maybe they need to weaken it further like the Zambian kwacha, but their weak currency isn’t helping their people thrive. The Laotians have a pretty weak kip, the Iranians aren’t doing too well with their weak rial. Maybe you can give an example of a country that has weakened its currency into prosperity.
      A few manufacturers can make some quick, short-term profits off a weak dollar, so they never stop pressuring the government to weaken it. But a weak currency is a disaster for people who save money or who invest for the long term.

  2. In the speech war between Peck and DeVito: All the more reason the majority of stockholders in a company like New England Wire & Cable should be its employees. Then, they might have had a say in the company’s investment in new technology, innovation and specialization to prevent or at least forestall obsolescence.

    And they might also have a say in requiring the company have a education fund set aside to provide for displaced employees when the company eventually is overtaken by time, failing equipment, andobsolescence, so that the employees can find a living wage in another field.

    • Hey Karen,
      We ran that experiment many times before. At one time the majority of United Airlines stock was owned by the pilots union. Of course United Airlines went bankrupt again. When the Board negotiates with itself over salaries and benefits, the company will not be able to compete. This is true with the present government and union owned General Motors. It will go bankrupt. It is just a matter of time.
      Imagine that you are an employee/shareholder of New England Wire and Cable. Do you vote to decrease your salary so that money can go into a fund for education of future displaced employees?

  3. Our system has become like a snake eating it’s own tail..!

    We’ve allowed Corporate Raiders like Romney and many others to destroy our Manufacturing base Essential to Our National Security for the sake of short term myopic greed…and empower and enrich the Communist Red Chinese who now have Nuclear Submarines to directly threaten us due to these ghouls like Romney and those who favor Red Chinese Communism over American Self Reliance and Security..!

    We will pay dearly for this bankrupt banal self destruction..all for the sake of mere money dirty green paper..!

    These swine also hold themselves up as Patriots…that might be their greatest offense..

    • TJ — your profound misunderstanding of economics and your 18th-century mercantilist mindset is what will bring America down. Not investors. Not innovation. Not institutions of freedom.

      You are no patriot, TJ. You are a special interest.

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