2012: GOP Commits Political Suicide?

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of “Suicide by Cop,” the practice by which somebody who is unwilling to do the deed themselves, instead puts themselves a position to be threatening, thereby drawing fire from police.  In the same way, the Republican Party now seems poised to commit political suicide by nominating Mitt Romney.  It really wouldn’t take a great deal of explanation were all of my countrymen versed in the principles of capitalism.  Sadly, they are not, so let us make them plain:  Mitt Romney is not a capitalist, but he will be attacked as one.  Just like his false conservatism will lead to attacks on our philosophy, so  too will capitalism come under attack even though neither he nor we any longer practices it.

Many people have defended Mitt Romney over the last several days when he was attacked by Gingrich and Perry on the basis that his work at Bain harmed workers and destroyed jobs.  Others were quick to point out that this sounded very much like an attack on capitalism, in almost the same manner that the left attacks it.  For my part, I pointed out that Romney has enough baggage that you could easily assail his record without seeming to attack capitalism, and I offered up a few specifics.  The problem is that much of this is complicated information, and most people simply don’t have the time or patience to sort through all the details.  I find that frustrating, because we cannot render just opinions on the matter of Romney’s qualifications for the office of President if we’re not willing to chase this all the way into the weeds.

One of the concerns about Bain Capital that hasn’t been mentioned much is how it has relied upon corporate welfare to improve its profitability.  Consider the case of Steel Dynamics, which was provided various incentives and breaks in order to locate in DeKalb, Indiana, a company in which Bain was the largest domestic equity holder.  The state and county provided $37 million in incentives, and even levied a new county income tax in order to get the plant located there.  While this sort of thing isn’t all that uncommon, what it reveals is how thoroughly involved in wringing money out of tax-payers Bain’s operations had really been.

From the same LA Times article:

“This is corporate welfare,” said Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst with the Washington-based Cato Institute, which encourages free-market economic policies. DeHaven, who is familiar with corporate tax subsidies in Indiana and other states, called the incentives Steel Dynamics received “an example of the government stepping into the marketplace, picking winners and losers, providing profits to business owners and leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill.”

That’s a shocking disclosure about a man who has claimed to work in “free enterprise.”  The people of DeKalb County aren’t free, as they’re undoubtedly still paying off the debt they incurred as a result.  Some will point out that this isn’t uncommon, and I agree, but I’m not sure that’s a valid argument for doing it.  Still, the larger point in all of this is that Romney and his company were the beneficiaries of this, and that it wasn’t all “free market.”

Of course, Steel Dynamics was one of the companies that went into the total of his preposterous claim of 100,000 net jobs created, and of course we now know that this too had been smoke and mirrors.  Of course, this is just a sample of his private sector experience, but what you come to learn about Romney during his term as Massachusetts Governor is much more frightening.  While having a president with private sector experience would certainly be useful, Romney’s really not the sort of private sector person we need.  We need a person who understands Main Street, and knows what it is to make a payroll in a business with a few doen employees.  Those are the kinds of enterprises that aren’t being established in this economy, and they’re the sorts hardest hit by the ridiculous big government regulatory regime under which the economy now suffers.

Small businesses are the ones that don’t get tax breaks, and they’re the sort on which we have depended for most job creation over the last fifty years.  They’re also the kind of endeavor that provide slim profit margins, are often held together on a wing and a prayer, and are completely devastated by programs like Romneycare.

What the GOP establishment doesn’t understand is that by going along with Mitt Romney, what will be accomplished is to institutionalize the very sort of government that will destroy the economic growth we so desperately need to climb out of the gargantuan debt pit into which Obama has heaved our nation.  At Bain Capital, Romney could turn to a bankruptcy court for a company that didn’t make it, and at the state level, he could turn to the federal government for grants and similar when Romneycare ran the state short of funds, but as the President of the United States, to whom can you turn?  The Chinese? Even they have had enough of our easy-money policies.

A Romney nomination threatens to destroy the GOP, because if he fails to defeat Obama, or perhaps worse, defeats him but then goes on to govern the nation like he did the State of Massachusetts, there will be no coming back from it.   We haven’t been practicing capitalism for some time, but instead muddling through what is known as a “mixed economy,” meaning one that is neither fully dominated by the state, nor by the free market.  What we allow with Romney is the continuation of the lie that we are a capitalist nation, and yet it will be for all the flaws of statism that capitalism will take the blame. It’s little different from the phenomenon by which George Bush claimed to be a “compassionate conservative” while practicing his own nuanced form of statism.  It had been these government programs and initiatives where government failed worst under Bush, and it was in these that conservatism took the blame.

Conservatives would not implement socialist prescription drug programs.  Conservatives would not further empower a federal education establishment.  Conservatives would not resort to a government takeover of airport security on a permanent basis, and then extend that security to all manner of places as has happened with the TSA.  A Conservative would not have borrowed and spent as George Bush did for the two terms he held office, and certainly wouldn’t have closed out that administration with a program like TARP(which Romney approves.)   All of these things were done by an allegedly conservative president, so are you surprised that by 2006, conservatism was taking the blame?

Terms like “conservative” or “capitalist” are only good as short-cuts to understanding when we deny their use from labeling the things they are not.  In permitting George Bush to stand before us claiming to be both a capitalist, and a conservative, we damned both when he turned out to be neither, in fact.  Labeling McCain with these labels was ineffective because for the party’s base, they clearly weren’t true, and the labels now held a negative connotation in much of the electorate because they had been associated falsely.  It’s the reason McCain had to bring in Sarah Palin, because he had to restore credibility to the terms.  Mitt Romney will fare no better than McCain, and perhaps worse, because Obama will be able to blame conservatism and capitalism for the failings of his own ideology.  Again.  If Republicans permit this to happen again, they’re foolish, and there’s to be no going back.  Even on the slim chance that Romney is elected, he won’t save the country because his solutions are merely a slower implementation of the same statist ideas. It will throw the GOP into a banishment that may turn out to be permanent.  If the Republican party wants to commit political suicide, Mitt Romney is 2012’s perfect and perhaps final solution.

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