Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Overheard in the Gingrich Campaign

"When desp'rate for polling improvement,
Out the window the positive groove went,
And Republican hacks
Were armed with the facts
From attacks by the Occupy Movement."

Observers from across the US political spectrum have marveled at the rhetorical turn taken in the Republican Presidential primaries. Opponents of front-runner Mitt Romney, notably former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry, are decrying Mr. Romney's erstwhile management of the private equity firm Bain Capital as "more ruthless than Wall Street" (in Mr. Gingrich's words) and "vulture capitalism" (in Mr. Perry's). Prominent Republicans, even those not affiliated with Mr. Romney's campaign, have voiced alarm at the seeming attack on free-market capitalism coming from within the GOP. The conservative Club for Growth think tank took Mr. Gingrich to task for his "downright Obamaesque... economically ignorant class warfare rhetoric."

President Obama's campaign of course enjoyed having its arguments advanced by the opposition before the general campaign even begins. "I guess the only downside is that Mitt Romney might not be the nominee," said Obama strategist David Axelrod. For its part, the PE industry's "Private Equity Growth Capital Council" is set to push back with a big PR and lobbying campaign. Finally, the Occupy Movement is left to ask: does this Republican "99%" rhetoric reflect the strength of our ideas, or only the political weakness of certain desperate Presidential candidates?


  1. I pretty much liked Newt until he pulled this crap. When you have a real leadership position, you make decisions that actually affect people. There are winners and losers. If you disqualify for office everyone who has ever actually made a tough decision, then you get, well, you get what we've got now.

    Companies like Bain are part of a system required for efficient movement of capital in an advanced economy. Many people don't like it, and a few get very wealthy from it, but having an advanced economy is a necessity for a large portion of jobs in the US: There would be little demand for insurance workers, music copyrighters, or economics professors without an advanced economy.

  2. I have a certain fondness for smart people who like to brainstorm their big ideas in public, but I took note when I heard Sen. Tom Coburn, who was a House Republican member under Speaker Gingrich, refuse to endorse him on Fox News Sunday. Newt's unseemly attacks on private equity just confirm the Senator's harsh judgment.

  3. I very much agree with you this time. The man is certainly very smart, and has a presence that certainly fills a room (actually met him briefly in a DC pharmacy years ago). But this latest populist spin is unbecoming. Populism is easier, and sometimes even works, if you are a Democrat. If you are Republican, it's just plain awkward.


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