Saturday, May 26, 2012

Donald Trump: enemy of capitalism?

Just don't pull.
It is true that opponents running for their party's presidential nomination say some very nasty things about each other. It's well understood that one of the best ways to put together a general election campaign is to simply gather all the clips of what was said about the other party's eventual nominee by those who where vying for the job.

For example, there are great comments made by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum's campaign about the predatory nature of Bain Capital. I posted a few of those earlier in the week.

We can add to that list comments that Donald Trump made about Bain in an interview last April with CNN's Candy Crowley.

What makes Trump's comments marginally more interesting is that they come from someone who claims to be America's uber-capitalist, thus making it difficult to suggest his critical comments on Bain Capital are attacks on capitalism itself, as Romney has been saying about President Obama.

In a clip, which I'll run below, Trump described Romney's experience at Bain in this way: "He'd buy companies, he'd close companies, he'd get rid of jobs."

In fairness, Trump may not have been critical of how Romney made his money, suggesting, as other's have, that Bain conducted it's business within the rules of the game.

All Trump is saying, and all many of the critics of Romney's time at Bain are saying, is that this type of company is not primarily interested in job creation. To suggest that Romney's work there prepares him to create jobs in America is absurd. Trump, before he became a Romney booster, was making what seems like a pretty obvious point.

Remember, this whole thing became an issue because Romney claimed, falsely, that he created over 100,000 jobs at Bain Capital. He made this an issue.

And, by the way, when the right thinks they have discovered something important by pointing out that some of Obama's campaign contributors have been in the same business as Bain Capital, private equity firms, they miss the point. Even for those who believe there is nothing wrong with this kind of endeavour, it doesn't mean that a history working in it prepares one to be a great "job creator," as Romney would like us to believe.

A presidential candidate's resume is an issue. I'm sure Republicans will agree we need to vet all candidates who aspire to the top job (though it would be better if they agreed truth should be our guide). I'd be very comfortable sticking to the facts.

The question for me is: why is Mitt Romney so uncomfortable with a thorough examination of the jobs on his resume, how he made his money, and how that might relate to his qualifications to be president?

Once upon a time, Donald Trump, socialist that he must be, thought it was important to ask.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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