I have to admit, I’ve been amused to watch the Romney campaign’s idiotic response to the the question of when he actually left Bain. Really a textbook example of how to turn something manageable into a protracted and wounding issue.
There is an aspect of the Bain story that I do want to focus on a little. Bain is a major element of Romney’s case for being President. He has private sector experience and all. But I do wonder how transferable that experience is. In the final analysis, Bain is a tiny company. It only has 400 employees today. Yes, it made a lot of money. There are various dynamics in the financial sector to explain that. Basically, all financial sector firms have very high profits per employee. But what does that have to do with management experience, necessarily? In terms of management, Romney ran a small firm, surrounded by highly paid, select associates, all pulling in the same direction (making money).
This isn’t to say that Romney’s Bain experience is meaningless, or that it should be seen as a negative. I’m just suggesting that if running a small business is a qualification for the Presidency, then there are several million other Americans just as qualified as Romney.
The case for Romney ought to be one of policy… but he keeps trying to make it about biography — Bain, the Olympics — and inherently that is a fraught approach for him because he’s going to end debating minutiae about the past rather than laying out a positive vision for the future. That’s just bad politics. As I’ve noted before, despite his millions and his good hair, Romney just isn’t that good of a pol.
Of course, if my sole real policy agenda was denying poor people health care and lowering taxes on the rich, maybe I’d be happy with whatever distractions I could muster.