Tea With Mittens

Someone made an anti-Romney documentary about Mittens and Bain capital, and now a Super PAC for Newt has bought it and is planning to run it in pieces as attack ads. Here is the trailer, which is an attack ad in itself:

The “production values” of this thing make it almost a stereotype of right-wing attack ads, complete with ominous imagery and music. But Steve M. argues that this approach is unlikely to hurt Mittens among right-wingers. Why? Because to accept that Mittens exploited capitalism to make a quick buck at others’ expense is to admit that capitalism is not perfect. It is exploitable. It needs to be regulated.


Thomas Frank makes the point that Romney is actually the quintessential bagger candidate. So what if he’s not credible on social values issues, like abortion.

If nothing else, you in the Tea Party movement have spent the last three years teaching Americans that they no longer matter — not when we’re supposedly in a battle for the very soul of capitalism.

And here comes Mitt Romney, the soul of American capitalism in the flesh.

Frank argues that if Mittens is the nominee — which is looking pretty likely at the moment — the Right will be forced to come clean that it’s all about defending the rich and privileged, and all the rhetoric about liberty and patriotism is window dressing.

And keep in mind that, with Mitt Romney, venture capitalist, carrying your banner in 2012, you will finally get to submit your capsized vision of social class to the verdict of the people — the actual flesh-and-blood people, that is, not the corporate “people” who make up the S&P 500. You will get to defend exactly the sort of “person” your movement has longed to defend since it was birthed by a CNBC reporter almost three years ago to the cheers of a bunch of derivatives traders in Chicago.

You will get to explain your peculiar conviction that the way to react to a gigantic slump brought on by frenzied finance is to unshackle Wall Street. You will get to line up behind a heroic businessman, like those rugged, resourceful fellows in the Ayn Rand novels you love. You will get to go into battle for the job creators, which is what all capitalists are, right? (Well, okay, maybe not the guys at Bain Capital, the particular outfit where Romney made his pile, but the theory is all that really matters, isn’t it?)

Indeed, your leadership cadre is already playing up the inevitable criticisms of Romney as a job decimator as a way of launching a grand debate about capitalism — by which they mean, of course, freedom itself. When Newt Gingrich criticized Romney a few weeks ago for his career in private equity, the airwaves of your winger-tainment world exploded with outrage. “This is the kind of risk-taking, free-market capitalism that most people who call themselves conservatives applaud,” intoned Brit Hume on Fox News. If Newt had a problem with Bain’s operations, announced syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg, “then Gingrich really doesn’t believe in capitalism at all.”

I’m actually starting to warm to the idea of Romney as the nominee. See also Krugman, “America’s Unlevel Field.”

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