Conservatives should not be defending capitalism. They should be defending economic freedom. And there is a difference. The word capitalism was created by Karl Marx to demonize those people who make a profit. We’ve always talked about the free enterprise system or economic freedom. Suddenly, they’re trying to defend something that has only 18 percent support.
Frank Luntz needs to chillax. Seriously! This is one case where wordsmithing alone won't get his boy Mitt Romney anywhere. Aside from the fact that Karl Marx apparently never used the word "capitalism" (though he did refer to "capitalist production"), Mitt Romney's problem is that instead of actually defending his job record, he falls back on Luntz's buzzwords. People don't care about Mitt Romney profiting from investments in companies that flourished, but they do want to know why he made millions from investments in companies that failed. It's one thing to reap the rewards of creating value, but it's another thing to get rich while putting people out work, especially when the entire argument for his candidacy is that he supposedly knows how to create jobs.
Romney is trying to avoid the whole topic by saying "free enterprise is on trial," but if his definition of free enterprise is that financial wizards should be able to make millions while bankrupting companies and laying off workers, simply calling it "economic freedom" won't do him any good. Heads I win, tails you lose isn't a winning message—and it's not what Mitt Romney talked about when he outlined his credentials for the White House.
In his own words, Romney said his experience as a job creator is what entitles him to be president. But if it turns out that he profited from the destruction of jobs, doesn't that destroy his entire rationale for being president? In the context of this campaign, the debate over economic freedom isn't directly relevant.
The key thing is that it was Mitt Romney who made his private sector experience an issue in the campaign. He said that it was relevant because he created jobs. Now he's saying it's wrong to question his record—that any criticism amounts to putting "free enterprise" on trial. That's pious baloney. And given his unwillingness to defend his job creation record without resorting to name calling, it's pretty obvious that he knows he was lying.