“When Mitt Romney Came To Town” Film: Operation Inoculation

Mitt Romney knows he has one large electoral problem, and it’s his time spent as CEO of Bain Capital during the 1980s and 1990s. If there’s one thing the left and Obama know how to demagogue against (disingenuously, perhaps, but that’s for another day), it’s big-business “Wall Street Fat Cats”. But that specific line of attack only really hurts him with the left-wing Democrat base, which he need not worry about. It’s the Republican base he has to fear, even though it has traditionally resisted this attack, as “Wall Street Greed” has traditionally been seen by conservatives as an ugly but necessary part of free-market capitalism.

To that point, this 25-minute short film, “When Mitt Romney Came To Town”, is an intriguing case in what may be one of the most sophisticated Presidential campaign “black-ops” we have ever seen. The film tells the story of a few examples of Romney’s “creative destruction” at Bain Capital, through the eyes of blue-collar workers whose jobs were eliminated due to the “corporate raiding” of Mitt’s firm.  Watch for yourself, and you’ll see this takes a decidedly left-wing tone: it says, essentially, “Romney destroyed the lives of thousands of poor helpless blue-collar workers”. It’s a tone that, while dramatic, does not really resonate with the Republican base, which generally accepts the thesis that bankruptcy and “creative destruction” are a legitimate part of the free market. So the question is: why would Newt Gingrich be so foolish as to use this film to try to rally the conservative base against Romney? 

While countless conservative commentators have rightly chastised Gingrich and Rick Perry for promoting the left-wing populist angle used in this film to attack Romney (conservatives do not want their candidates to be seen as attacking capitalism), most have gone a step further and given Mitt Romney the ultimate weapon in securing the Republican nomination: they’ve told conservative voters to LAY OFF BAIN! Only Sarah Palin, in her numerous Fox News appearances in recent days, has refused to declare Bain “off-limits”, and has advised voters to take a close look at Mitt’s record – in particular, his claims of job creation, and his possible use of his corporate takeovers to attract government subsidies and bailouts. In fact, last night on Sean Hannity’s program, she used the key word that I think explains what’s going on here: inoculation.

Which gets me to my theory: this film was subversively created by the Romney campaign itself, in order to achieve this desired result of inoculation on Bain. The reason he needs to create the meme out there that “an attack on Bain is an attack on capitalism”, is because of the aforementioned Governor Palin, and her rallying the Republican base around the cause of Crony Capitalism. The Tea Party base of the party is now wise to the concept of statism, cronyism, corporatism, and corruption coming from the big-business side of the economy. The type of capitalism Romney engaged in with Bain is a problem with the Tea Party base not because he put people out of work (many types of capitalism involve the elimination of jobs), but because the businesses and jobs themselves were not a factor at all in the business decisions of Bain, just collateral damage that, on the aggregate, has been extremely harmful to America. Jobs, and the businesses themselves, were irrelevant to the partners at Bain. What Bain and other corporate raiders actually do is not “turn around failing companies. It’s the search for opportunities on balance sheets, stock prices, and regulatory environments, to exploit through political connections and complex financial instruments, to create paper profits, and damn the consequences.

It’s a complex discussion that can take volumes to fully explain. But what Romney’s campaign has discovered it needs to hide is the fact that the profits at Bain usually could not occur without the exploitation of political contacts, regulatory loopholes, and questionable complex financial tactics. So while Newt and Perry were foolish enough to take the bait on this film’s apparent attack on capitalism itself, Palin will continue to try to drag them back from the edge of self-destruction by rescuing the narrative. Romney’s problem is a Crony Capitalism problem, and he knows it. That’s why it’s no coincidence, this film was produced by Jason Killian Meath, a former business associate and 2008 campaign leader for Mitt Romney himself. Romney’s team, consisting undoubtedly of many brilliant and experienced tactical political operators, is loving the effect this film is having. Mission accomplished? We’ll see how successful the savviest political minds, including Governor Palin, are at rescuing the narrative.

4 Comments

Filed under Governor Sarah Palin, Political Corruption, Politicians, Soulless Conservatism, Statism Gone Wild

4 responses to ““When Mitt Romney Came To Town” Film: Operation Inoculation

  1. Unbelievable to me that even FOX has helped to raise the feeling that Gingrich is attacking capitalism. All the man said was that several of Romney’s investment activities just plain smell bad AND THEY DO. If Romney is the Republican nominee, the Obama machine will eat him alive over this activity and subsequently I don’t think Romney will have a snowballs chance in November. FOX seems to have just lost their minds in recent weeks!!!!!

  2. merit coba

    Interesting observations.
    And indeed, by levering this kind of criticism now, it is hard to use it again(at least not to often); for the person who cries wolf to many times is going to have others turn against him.
    The movie is so obvious made to harm Mitt Romney that it actually might achieve the opposite effect. Take the moment it is released, during the preliminaries. Take the people in it: Mitt Romney as the always smiling healthy looking guy (with money in his hand, mouth and pockets) set off against the whiny unhealthy-looking poor people. Take the almost melancholic over-voice: i am going to tell you disaster in a very smooth and calm style. you know I am faking it all the way.
    This movie feels like a fake.
    But I am doubtful.
    The movie is sponsored by the super pac winning our future, which is obvious a Gingrich oriented pac. Your theory then supposes that this pac and all the people in it, (and those who cough up the money for this pac) have been duped in sponsoring and endorsing a movie that is ultimately going the help Romney and thus hurt Gingrich.. Or that this Gingrich pac is already supporting Romney, thus indirectly assuming Gingrich is going to lose the preliminaries? Or do you suppose that it is actually a Romney pac that poses as a Gingrich pac?
    Then there is the danger that this movie actually does what it is superficially made to do: hurt Romney, for not everyone is as inquisitive as you and smells a rat.
    It would only be reasonable for Romney-supporters to do such a thing as a last resort or when you are sure you are about to win the preliminaries so you can head of any criticism Obama is going to throw at you.
    Another reason I am doubtful is that greed is now very well on the political agenda, even amongst the hardcore Republican base. In fact you pointed it out yourself when you spoke about Palin’s objections.
    The interesting thing in this movie is that it is continuously hammered upon that Romney is a corporate guy. In fact, his own words are that he has 30 years of experience in job creation and knows how businesses think. He clearly takes a stance here: there is us: working America and them, those political dudes who don’t know a thing about economics.
    Gingrich is however posing as a guy with 30 odd years of experience in the political arena: thus taking the stance: well i don’t belong to the corporate gold-diggers.
    There is this principle that the least complex explanation is the preferred one. In this case I would rather hold on to that principle this this is a movie made by Gingrich to hurt Romney.
    Anyway.. i find this movie interesting, so I’ll see if i can use it…

    Regards,

  3. Very interesting response, Merit. However, there’s an important detail that you may have missed. This film was not made or produced by Gingrich or his PACs at all; it was produced and completed independently by Romney’s old business partner and supporter, then peddled to all the opposition campaigns as a finished product. Gingrich’s campaign ended up being the high bidder. Which leaves only two possibilities: Gingrich’s camp thought that this film would indeed harm Mitt’s image and help define his candidacy; or that Gingrich’s camp got suckered. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the future, but in the meantime, I’m betting on the latter.

  4. Merit Coba

    I don’t begrudge you your idea: it would be hilarious funny if you were right.
    One way or another someone has been serious blundering…

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