Back when most people only knew that Romney made a lot of money buying and selling stuff, you could find plenty of folks to second-guess Obama for taking on Bain. Making money is capitalism and who criticizes capitalism? SOCIALISTS, that’s who.
Now, as they say, things have changed. At least Cory Booker and friends have the good sense to keep clear once team Romney’s number one selling point started to pick up the distinct smell of trainwreck. Even Romney surrogates are having a hard time of it*. So you might wonder what the hell inspires David Gergen to keep scraping off fingernails at the bottom of this particular credibility pit.
Now you can knock it off with the wondering.
Let me acknowledge upfront what I have said several times on CNN: I have a past relationship with the top partners at Bain that is both personal and financial. I have worked with them in support of nonprofit organizations such as City Year. I have given a couple of paid speeches for Bain dinners, as I have for many other groups. I was on the board of a for-profit child care company, Bright Horizons, that was purchased by Bain Capital. It was a transaction with financial benefits for all board members and shareholders, including me.
So, yes, I have a bias…[SPOILER ALERT – after the ellipsis he defends Romney.]
I suppose Gergen might as well get it out before some blogger does.
So, Glenn Kessler, what’s your excuse?
(*) Seriously. He ‘retired retroactively’? What a disaster. That line could define Romney in the same way that Kerry’s voting for and against
invading paying for the invasion of Iraq will hang around his neck for the rest of his life.
At least Gergen comes right out and says it. The rest of Romney’s shills hide their affiliations like the pea in a shell game.
Shorter David Gergen: Some of my best friends are rich white people!
Bain “after 1999” has now been fully established in the media as evil. Big PR win for the Prez.
Romney, himself, being so adamant about the date means there is something important about it. Which is that Bain after 1999 turned into a terrible “entity”
Bain as an asset is long gone from Romney’s portfolio. This current discussion means the media concurs that the company Romney founded and owned turned into a bad thing.
Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God
What particular talents and job experiences did Gergen have that qualified him to serve on the board of a for-profit daycare center, I wonder…?
Oh duh, I forgot: Made Man. He’s qualified because, STFU, that’s why.
I have no idea why David Gergen is still taken seriously.
Because the Media Elites in the Beltway take him serious. Otherwise their whole house of Respectability cards collapses.
2012 Word Of the Year: Retroactive.
@MazeDancer: I can’t wait to see the inevitable biographical film of Romney at the RNC convention to see how they try to finesse Bain. “From 1980 to 1999, he did some stuff and made a lot of money. Yay money! In early 1999, that all came abruptly to an end. Really it did. Completely and totally. After that, he had nothing at all to do with that company.”
Culture of Truth
@PaulW: I hear that has been made Word of the Year for 2010.
This! If Bain did nothing wrong as Romney supporters were quick to point out … if Romney is proud of his business success why doesn’t he defend it? Why doesn’t Romney say, “So what if I worked there? We were a hugely successful company and I’m proud of my time there.”?
Of ourse, now he can’t.
Was Bain involved in Enron’s shenanigans somehow? Helped them form those phony holding corporations?
Glenn Kessler seems to have been bought and paid for, I wonder what his price was?
I had the same thought. I used to do white-collar criminal defense, where the issue is often whether some sharp business practice crosses the line into criminal conduct.
To have any chance of acquittal, you have to keep all of those involved on board and on the same page: there was nothing wrong with what we did. As soon as one of the defendants starts distancing himself from what was done, the jury gets the message that it was dirty, and everybody goes down.
Just as you say, by trying to distance himself from Bain Capital in the period 1999 to 2002, Romney gave a loud and clear signal that it was dirty. Rookie mistake. And I think it will cost him big.
I think Romney should spend more time on his boat and retroactively retire from the campaign. That would be awesome.
Team Obama does not confide in me but I’m guessing that the plan is to firmly attach Bain 1999-2002 around Romney’s neck and then start talking about why that’s a bad thing. And talking. And talking.
It’s a very trial-lawyer-like approach: Establish the groundwork firmly in the minds of the jury [voters in this case] and then lead them step-by-step into the description of the crimes. Effort spent laying the ground of the argument is not considered to be wasted.
Or, at least, that’s how it goes in courtroom drama on TV.
Snarki, child of Loki
He had retroactive brain damage. Barely functional. So naturally he’s in the bag for the GOP.
I like the phrase “retroactively retired”. After all, Obama seems destined to retroactively retire RMoney before the campaign has really started. Couldn’t be more pleased with that retroactive retirement, allowing Mitt to go back to the Vulture sector and Obama to continue arguing with insane people in Congress.
I think the trick is to keep the big money sufficiently behind Mitt to drain them of a few billion while maintaining enough of an electoral edge to keep the crazy out of the White House. A proxy war of attrition between the upper classes and everyone else seems to be the only way to relieve our Galtian betters of their excess money, thereby priming the economy. So, here’s to the good fight!
The bumper sticker slogan writes itself: “Retroactively Retire Romney!”
Well…sort of. It’s an incredibly milquetoast defense. He concedes that Bain is fair game, that Romney should release his tax returns, that the current evidence doesn’t show that Romney is trying to mislead people, and that the Bain people could be lying. He’s leaving himself a TON of wiggleroom to retract his defense and say that Romney is lying. And that makes me think that he knows that this could get a lot worse for Romney.
Gergen is a master of the false equivalency who last had something useful to say back in the year………wait. I’m thinking.
Change his name to David Jergens because he seems to spend a lot of time lovingly applying lotion and giving hand service to his corporate paymasters.
Glenn Kessler seems to have been bought and paid for, I wonder what his price was?
They haggled over the price and a fair deal was struck.
That’s one good thing about Citizens United: Millions coming out of offshore accounts to be spent right here in the US on ads, ad productions, PR, etc.
Another tell re the deep corruption of our MSM: Gergen’s status re Bain should have immediately disqualified him from writing/reporting this story, disclosure or not.
Doubtless to CNN his conflicts are perceived as enhancements to his credibility.
Is it, or is it not a potential felony for telling the SEC you are running a company with your signature under pain of perjury, and then claim you had nothing to do with managing that company? The folks that are sighing that everyone does this sort of thing, so who cares, are telling us exactly why this country is so very fucked up right now.
There’s an article from 1999 where Mitt and Ann complain about how busy they are in SLC, don’t have time to do anything else and are on the edge of mental/relationship/etc breakdown. You’d think Mitt would point to this as evidence of him having nothing to do with Bain at the time (not that that would absolve him since he, you know, owned the place), but quotes like this are probably why we haven’t heard about it:
… and …
The Presidency is probably a larger workload.
This pleases me. :D
What it simply means is that Mitt is a 20th Century Bain man living in a 21st Century Bain world.
How are we missing this:
ETCH A SKETCH CEO.
@General Stuck: “Is it, or is it not a potential felony for telling the SEC you are running a company with your signature under pain of perjury, and then claim you had nothing to do with managing that company?”
It’s more of a crime against your investors than anything. Having Romney at the helm was important to investors who were rocked by the tech bubble and recession during those years. He’d saved Bain & Co. and could surely see Bain Capital through this mess! If he had nothing to do with Bain, he was mostly screwing over the pension funds and whatnot that naively trust SEC filings and the word of their investment managers.
Not to nitpick (he says and then goes on to nitpick) but IIRC Kerry’s I voted for it before I voted against it, was not on the authorization to go to war in Iraq, but on a bill for fudning of the war after the invasion. Kerry voted for a bill that would require funds from oil proceeds to repay the funding, which the Republicans voted against, and against a bill which was just a straight, off budget, supplemental funding for which there was no way of paying.
@Culture of Truth:
You don’t want to know.
Crackwhores look at reporters and sneer.
You don’t want to know.
Crackwhores look at reporters and sneer.
Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937
One of Bain’s partners bought some girl scout cookies so the firm must be okay.
Romney Tampa biopic will be interesting. Probably they won’t use the young white guys in suits smoking dollar bills shot.
Mitt is just gonna stay all vague “I know business”. And “Success is good. President is attacking American way of life” stuff.
Difference between good cross-examination and good promotional efforts can be very slim. You want people to hear what you want them to hear. You want to drive home the facts in a persuasive and undeniable way.
But this establishment of Bain as Evil has been so smooth, and so not highlighted so that it can be made part of accepted, uh, “testimony”, that almost think it was part of the goal. No matter what the outcome, Romney touting “I wasn’t there after 1999 when they were evil scum. Those guys I hired. My best friends. Who would now vouch for me except you would ask them questions about their evilness” is such an incredibly bad stepping into it, such remarkable not just choosing the box canyon but running all the way up it, that it is a sight to behold.
Another Halocene Human
@David Fud: It won’t really help the economy much, since it’s the wrong kind of spending, but it could help finance some better TV for a few months. I guess that’s cool?
And maybe some small businesses who are priced out of their markets will figure out that they don’t need tv advertising.
@Egypt Steve: ftw (l.c.)
eta: there was meant to be a smiley there, but fywp
Jim, Foolish Literalist
A few months back I flipped through CNN long enough to see David Gergen “balanced” by Erick Erickson, because even though he worked for Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush I, there was also that six month stint in the CLinton White House, so he’s practically Dennis Kucinich, don’t you know. CNN is such a fucking joke it almost makes the Washington Post look like some kind of platonic ideal of political journalism.
So now Romney’s excuse for not releasing more returns is that Teresa Heinz Kerry didn’t?! Does he really want to go there?
EXACTLY. Because Romney’s fundamental defense against the Bain allegations is that he jumped out of the Bain airplane and pulled the SLC Olympics parachute ripcord BEFORE all the stinky, evil stuff started happening at Bain. The unavoidable premise is that there is indeed something toxic about post-1999 Bain that he urgently needs to distance himself as far as possible, as fast as possible, away from, to avoid being seriously contaminated by it.
Seriously. He ‘retired retroactively’? What a disaster.
Well Gee, can’t a guy misspeak!? What Gillespie meant to say was that Romney ‘retired radioactively’.
And ain’t that true or what?
apparently romney is now running for first lady of the united states. good to know.
the best is his excuse, saying “The Obama campaign people keep on wanting more and more and more, more things for their opposition research to pick through and make a mountain out of.” yeah, given that the GOP has consistently demanded everything of obama, from multiple birf certificates to college xscripts and even his college applications in order to comb through them and find something, this excuse makes perfect sense.
I like the crony capitalists hire cronies — I won’t tell you who my legion of SuperPac donors are Ex-Lax pivot. Etches are Sketching practically mid-sentence.
Meanwhile Romney demanded tax returns be provided by his previous Dem opponents. Secrecy for me but not for thee, apparently.
@chopper: Well, of course! There’s that VP surprise! Miz Rmoney, the token Human of the pair, for President, Etch-boy is going for VP!
As far as the White House job goes, shouldn’t that be “Proactively Retire Romney”?
The Tragically Flip
Petition to make “retired retroactively” the tag for posts about ex post-facto rationalizations, specious and strained sophistry and other assorted apologetics for the 1% from the media elite.
It really is one of the most preposterous things ever contrived.
Also, Ed Rendell is still carrying water for the pro-Wall Streeters.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@RSR: thank you for giving me an excuse to link to this again: Paul Begala (rhetorically) kicks Ed Rendell in the nuts.
One wonders whether Ed Rendell is one fundrasing period away from retroactively switching parties.
someone should ask him if he also gave back the money he earned after he retired retroactively.
the whole Bain thing was just a trial balloon… Romney’s trying to figure out if he can retire retroactively from the Governors office, at a date before he signed Romneycare into law.
It might be just crazy enough to work!
But why is Rendell’s puss always on Teevee as a representative of Democratic points of view? They can’t find anyone else?
Yes, Rendell is a complete dick. Haven’t heard a peep from Corey Booker lately, though..
I tell you what, if traction on the Bain stuff keeps gaining, ole Ed may need to stick a sock in it if he has a view towards any future ambitions in EITHER party.
He ‘retired retroactively’? What a disaster.
They never said he retired – they said he was engaged in retirement-related program activities.
But hey, the contards have retroactively never supported Bush, why not this?
That sounds like typical MOTU behavior. Mitt works (or claims to work) ridiculously long hours because he is a control freak and is unwilling to delegate any real authority unless he absolutely has to. He wants to treat this as a demonstration of his dedication and commitment, but it’s really a pathology. Real leaders have to know how to get good people to work for them and to trust their subordinates to do their jobs without the boss breathing down the back of their neck.
@Elie: I lived in Philly when Rendell was mayor and he was not, as far as I recall, like this at all. He was more of a Chris Matthews “I’m a big, sweaty, Regular Guy who loves the city and loves sports and food.” I would not have pegged him back then as an excuse-maker for tycoons.
I think that you have hit on why Romney’s campaign team seems so incredibly inept and unable to get in front of anything — or respond effectively either. They are afraid to and were not selected for traits that would allow them to express any independent thought. This is killing Romney’s campaign thus far…
@EconWatcher: I’ve been wondering if those connected with Bain post-1999 (other than totally non-involved CEO, prez, chair and sole stockholder Romney, that is) are resenting Romney’s rush to dissociate himself — any one of them could lash out as this unfolds and give a “he most definitely was one of us, one of us” speech.
And just in case anyone missed this hilarity…
@Roger Moore: Yes. As an expert in control freakery (takes one to know one), I’ve been wondering if that particular pathology doesn’t explain most of Mitt’s deluxe fuckups. He doesn’t learn, can’t learn, won’t learn, because he won’t give up control long enough to listen. The inappropriate anger when even slightly challenged is a tell, too. (It’s also suggestive of an addictive personality, but we all know the only addiction Mitt has is loving Amercia too much.)
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@FlipYrWhig: He’s the perhaps the highest profile bitter PUMA out there, after Bubba himself. He will never forgive Obama for cheating him out of that “Mr Secretary” title he wanted to retire with.
After the Bloomberg article, I no longer believe there were any “good years” at Bain. That company is kill-it-with-fire level of evil.
Well, the irony is that Mitt’s partner in crime at Bain, Ed Conard, on Up with Chris Hayes yesterday, suggested that Mitt needs to own Bain metaphorically like he did in equity. They’re very proud of what they accomplished for their investors, and he thinks Mitt will come around in September to not just defending, but championing that kind of capitalism. I hope so, but I want what he’s smoking.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: LOL they had to disable the comments on the clip.
At least Gergen came out and admitted it.
By the way, City Year is a pretty great organization. Doesn’t make Bain any less shitty.
I’m sure somebody has already asked about this, but given that there is now an opening for a retroactive CEO at Bain for the 1999-2002 period, how does one go about retroactively applying for that position so as to be retroactively compensated for all his or her retroactive hard work?
Heh. I was going to point out that unless Romney gave all the money back, there ain’t no such thing as a retroactive retirement.
Don’t expect anyone at Bain to sell the company out. I get a distinct cult-like vibe from the place, and you’re asking them to sell out their cult leader. Not to mention that none of them would ever be allowed to work Wall Street again. The only hope is that somebody who has already been cast out will kiss and tell, but you can bet that anyone who does that will be attacked as a sore loser who’s making stuff up for revenge. It’s not going to help unless they kept incriminating documents.
Have all y’all stumbled on this ditty yet?
I think he’s probably right in the big picture. The question of Mitt’s level of involvement with Bain from 1999-2002 is a side issue. A company like Bain doesn’t change its culture overnight, as the claim that it took them years to figure out who was going to replace Mitt points out. They didn’t go from sweetness and light on 10 February 1999 to the epitome of evil on 12 February; they kept doing the same kind of stuff. The more Mitt runs from 1999 and forward Bain, the more it calls into question the value of pre-1999 Bain. If he wants to have a prayer of getting past the Bain issue, he needs to own what Bain did and does and be able to sell it as a necessary part of Capitalism. If he can’t do that, it kills his one real qualification for President.
Soon enough Gergen will tell us the negativity has to stop because it will make it impossible for Romney to govern.
people pay to hear David Gergen speak? WOW! how terribly sad for them.