Are we starting to see signs that Gov. Romney's campaign was a Bain-style cash grabbing bust-out all along?
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In case you're not familiar with it, here's a summary of the Bain M.O. that Romney parlayed into his personal fortune:
1) Take over a business, preferably with leverage from other people.
2) Generate large amounts of cash by loading the business with massive amounts of debt.
3) Siphon that cash into your own pocket.
4) Walk away laughing from the company, counting your millions while the little people (the workers, the investors who provided the leverage) are left with the smoking crater.
In this case, #1 was accomplished with the leverage of huge amounts of money pledged by the Adelsons, Kochs and other 0.1%ers that supported Romney through his primary victories.
With the "company" (in this case, the G.O.P.presidential candidacy) successfully taken over, then #2 begins: we know Gov. Romney's been spending much more time at fundraisers than on the campaign trail, his campaign just took out a $20 million loan, and his fundraising has been impressive. Yet even with this huge fundraising, a number of people have started wondering what exactly he's spending it on, given his relatively low number of campaign offices, and rather lackluster spending on campaign ads.
Now that the convention is out of the way (and Romney's takeover irreversible), it looks like maybe #3 has started in earnest. He's doling out huge bonuses to his staff, and I would not be at all surprised if Gov. Romney made sure his own loans to his campaign were the first thing that got repaid (with generous interest). We hear that he doesn't actually have the cash on hand that he should have, given his massive fundraising... has it already been moved to Switzerland?
As the odds Gov. Romney faces in the election get longer and longer, Gov. Romney has to be acutely aware that he will likely never be president. If we can be sure about anything about his chameleonic character, I would say three things are certain. First, he is someone who can game out his odds of benefiting from a situation with precision and actuarial bloodlessness. Second, he is a master at pivoting on a dime to act on what he perceives as his best short-term interests. Third, he has absolutely zero compunctions about screwing over anyone else (especially the little people) to do so.
If Gov. Romney knows his campaign is doomed, the temptation to convert his losing election into personal profit must be immense.
Which brings up #4, and the title of the diary. What does Gov. Romney busting out his campaign even mean? There's no pension funds to raid, and win or lose the campaign will be ending in early November. What tricks could a master ledger manipulator like Gov. Romney pull to maximize his profit?
Well, one really obvious (and lucrative) way to do this is to make sure the last set of checks he writes bounces. If I was a vendor servicing the Romney/Ryan campaign, after seeing these news reports, I would start demanding every nickel of payment up front. Likewise, if I was a paid employee of the campaign (that wasn't in his privileged inner circle), I would try to make certain my family could absorb never receiving the last paycheck or two that I was owed.
The odds of anyone working with the Romney/Ryan campaign getting royally screwed over go up with every drop in the polls.
EDITED TO ADD: I just remembered this story, where Romney essentially blackmailed the government into giving Bain a bailout, by threatening to hand out so many bonuses to corporate leadership that it would bankrupt his company (and therefore default on a larger loan owed to the FDIC). Behavior completely in line with this theory for his campaign.