"In the general election, I'll be pointing out that the president took the reins of General Motors and Chrysler, closed factories, closed dealerships, laid off thousands and thousands of workers. He did it to try to save the business," Romney said on CBS's "This Morning."
Fortunately, President Obama didn't follow Mitt Romney's recommendation. But that hasn't stopped Romney from trying to say that what President Obama did with the auto industry is exactly the same thing he did at Bain:
"We also had the occasion to do things that are tough to try to save a business," Romney said. "We started a number of businesses, invested in many others and, overall, created tens of thousands of jobs."
Of course, if Mitt Romney says he did the same thing at Bain as President Obama has done as president, doesn't that contradict Romney's argument that Obama is a European-style socialist who hates America? Presumably, Romney doesn't think he ran Bain like an America-hating European-style socialist ... so by comparing Obama's approach to Detroit to his approach to Bain, isn't he basically saying President Obama has what it takes to be a CEO?
My point here isn't to take what Romney says seriously; it's to illustrate the absurdity of his argument by taking it to its logical conclusion.
The real problem with Romney's analogy is that while everybody knows that President Obama's goal was to save the auto industry and protect as many jobs as possible, Mitt Romney's goal was to make as much money as possible for himself and his investors. By itself, that is not an indictment of Romney; the question that people are asking is whether Romney profited from the failure of companies. Did he put good jobs at risk by leveraging companies to the hilt, making them less stable? Romney suggests that the only way he could make money is if the companies he invested in succeeded, but the record shows he was able to make millions even when companies failed.
Whether or not that sort of vulture capitalism is good or bad is a question President Obama would be happy to debate, but Mitt Romney is the guy who put the issue front and center. The entire rationale for his candidacy is that he knows how to create jobs, but the more we learn about Bain, the truth appears to be that what Mitt Romney really knows is how to make money. And that's really not a skill people are looking for when it comes to the presidency.
It's time for Mitt Romney to quit dodging these questions to address them head-on.