Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bain of his candidacy

Guest post by Infidel753 
Infidel753 was born in New York state, grew up in California, and now lives in Oregon. His area of academic specialization was the Middle East. He is a life-long atheist and long-time liberal with a special interest in social issues and technology.
(Ed. note: This is Infidel's third guest post for us. You can find his first, on the ignorant fundamentalism of the Republican Party, here, and his second, on the incoherence of the Occupy Wall Street movement, here. -- MJWS)
Gingrich's scorched-earth campaign against Romney, using Bain Capital as its chief weapon of mass destruction, has implications beyond just Romney's candidacy or the 2012 election. Romney and much of the Republican establishment have denounced this line of attack as an expression of "envy" and as anti-capitalist, but as William Galston observes:

Most citizens make an intuitive distinction between business activities that add value to workers and the economy (running an auto company, for example, as Romney’s father did) and those that shuffle paper to the advantage only of the shufflers.

Or, to use my own terms, the distinction between productive capitalism and the financial parasite class. Even teabaggers harbor an inchoate suspicion of the latter, however much they've been manipulated to serve its interests in practice. What Gingrich has done is to drag this issue into the open and make it explicit. None of this critique is new to us. But it's now coming from a source to which non-liberals are more inclined to give a hearing.

The attack could cost Romney the nomination. More and more Republican establishment figures are sternly warning Gingrich that his line of attack on Romney is unacceptable and must stop. Predictably, this has been followed by a shift of rank-and-file South Carolina Republican voters away from Romney, who now shows as almost tied with Gingrich there. The attacks do resonate with many of them, who are likely to be suspicious of what looks like a clumsy effort to silence the messenger.

Still, Romney will probably be the nominee, if only because those who reject him still can't unite behind a single candidate. But he'll be all the more vulnerable to the Democrats' natural line of attack. Anyone who wants to fend it off by screaming "socialist" will need to explain how Gingrich is a socialist.

Beyond that, the whole issue of the financial parasite class is now being made an explicit election issue in a way it never has been before. If it brings Romney down, then the core raison d'être of the traditional non-theocratic Republican establishment -- the continued subjugation of America to that class, disguised by free-market rhetoric and whatever other squid-ink works best at any given time -- will become much tougher to pursue.

Gingrich is no working-class hero for doing this. His motive seems to be rage at Romney for defeating him in Iowa. The Republicans have embraced the politics of resentment and vindictiveness and exclusion, and now they are destroying each other.

The full 28-minute film on Bain and Romney can be viewed here.
(Cross-posted from Infidel753.)

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