Obama, Romney, And The Phony Focus On Offshoring

The Obama campaign's focus on Mitt Romney's alleged involvement in moving companies overseas is entirely phony.

David Frum argues that the entire controversy over when Mitt Romney might or might not have left been, and what his degree of involvement at the company from 1999 through 2002 actually was, is pretty much a waste of time: 

What does any of this have to do with running for president? Not much, frankly. Whether Mitt Romney wins or loses, private equity firms will continue to press for more profitability — and in the tough economy of the 2010s, the quest for profitability leads to wage squeezes and job cuts. Whether Barack Obama loses or wins, the likely economic outlook for the bottom 60%-80% of the American workforce will remain grim.

How do we support living standards for ordinary workers in a world where Chinese and Indian workers are bidding to do the same jobs at a fraction of the pay? That’s the question that haunts politics throughout the developed world.

But with nobody having any good answer — not Romney, not Obama — we’re cast upon the furious but meaningless debate: Is Romney a liar for saying he left Bain Capital in 1999? Or is Obama a liar for saying he didn’t?

Coming at the story from a different angle, Matthew Yglesias points out the absurdity of the issue that started this whole mess, the argument over so-called “offshoring”:

Lost in the shuffle here is the question of what it is Romney is denying he’s responsible for. Stipulate that Romney somehow had nothing to do with running a company of which he was the CEO and sole shareholder. Does he think, in retrospect, that his subordinates did something wrong by offshoring jobs? Clearly he didn’t, which highlights the absurdity of his claims not to have been responsible. It’s true that he wasn’t running the country on a day-to-day basis, but he really was titular CEO and had Bain been doing something he deemed outrageous he could and should have stepped in to stop them. But he doesn’t believe that. And what’s more, all indications are that Barack Obama also doesn’t think Bain was doing anything wrong. As president he’s made no moves to make it illegal for companies to shift production work abroad and has publicly associated himself with a wide range of American firms—from GE to Apple and beyond—who’ve done just that to varying extents. And we all remember what happened to Obama’s promise to renegotiate NAFTA after taking office, right?

Yglesias goes on to ask his readers a rather simple question, do they think its wrong that foreign car companies have built production facilities in the United States rather than keeping those jobs in their home countries? In the end, there’s no substantive difference between Toyota and BMW setting up shop in the American South and an American company moving some of its manufacturing overseas. In both cases, the companies are seeking to take advantage of reduced costs and other efficiencies in an effort to maximize profits, which is, in the end, the primary task of any business. Toyota could make all of the cars it sells in the United States in Japan, and indeed there was a time that it used to, but then it would have to deal with shipping costs and the thousands of things that could go wrong and cause shipments to be delayed and supply in the target market to be reduced. The same goes for American companies that choose to “offshore” part of their business in other parts of the world. In many cases, of course, the primary motivation for the move is to reduce labor costs, but there have been many situations where that was the only way a company could continue operating profitably at all. So, the choice comes down to off-shoring or going out of business. Which alternative is better for the economy? I can’t think of any situation where the second alternative would be the palatable one.

Yglesias is correct to point out that the President likely doesn’t really have a problem with offshoring, and he certainly hasn’t proposed any legislative or policy changes that would stop it, and he’s unlikely to. After all, what we’re really talking about here is a question of international trade and the policy of the United States for decades now has been to favor lower trade barriers an all respects. If the United States were to suddenly start imposing policies to make it difficult for domestic companies to locate overseas, then it’s quite likely that other nations would retaliate in kind and make it more difficult for their corporations to locate facilities in the United States. President Obama simply isn’t going to do that.

Michael Kinsley addressed this issue earlier this week:

In the presidential campaign, President Obama is trying to paint Mitt Romney as an incorrigible outsourcer, as if it were obvious why this is so terrible. Maybe it seems obvious: People lose their jobs when companies transfer parts of their operations overseas. But most economists believe in the theory of free trade, which holds that a nation cannot prosper by denying its citizens the benefit of cheap foreign labor.

It’s a hard sell because the victims are concentrated and easy to identify, while the benefit is diffused through the whole economy. That’s why so many politicians pay obeisance to free trade in the abstract but oppose it in the particular.

This seems to be Obama’s approach, unfortunately. He accuses Romney of outsourcing both as governor of Massachusetts (letting a state contractor move its calling center operation to India) and before that as a businessman (as part of Romney’s “buy, fillet and throw away the guts” method of corporate acquisition at Bain Capital). Romney replies that nothing he did was illegal (true, as far as we know) and that the Obama campaign misrepresents some of the facts (also true).

Obama apparently intends to skewer Romney as a businessman. His campaign carefully conflates being a businessman with being a crooked businessman, and many other variations on the theme: being a ruthless businessman, a businessman who engages in outsourcing, a businessman who doesn’t pay enough taxes and so on.

It is, in other words, a smear campaign based largely on actions that President Obama himself clearly doesn’t really think are wrong.

In the end, the Obama campaign’s focus on the “offshoring” issue, regardless of what involvement Mitt Romney may have had in the cases at hand, is entirely disingenuous and demagogic. There’s a visceral dislike of free trade in many parts of the United States, and these commercials are exploiting it even though the President himself knows that he’s not really going to do anything about offshoring, outsourcing, or any of these other supposedly immoral practices and that the whole episode is really quite irrelevant to the issues facing the country. In other words, it’s politics as usual.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Economics and Business, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Robinson says:

    <blockquoteIt is, in other words, a smear campaign based largely on actions that President Obama himself clearly doesn’t really think are wrong.

    As opposed to say, health care reform.

  2. Michael Robinson says:
  3. Michael Robinson says:

    And when your personal negatives spontaneously generate YouTube anthems, you’re losing even more:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fPQ3AuQ1kY

  4. mattb says:

    Doug, you and Frum are completely correct on one level. But consider two alternative views:

    First, as you pointed out in another thread, these “distraction” issues tend to reveal a lot about how a politician and their campaign can deal with unexpected (and sometimes unfair) attacks.

    Second, and more pragmatically, politics and policy are two different things.

    The issue of the “man” (or “woman”) and how their personal histories tie into what they claim to be supporting or against has always been an important part of American Politics.

    So this is “meaningful” in the same way that — like it or not — the Swiftboating of John Kerry was meaningful to that election and the specific issues of that day. Or the meaningful role that cultural politics of the Tea Party played in the entire Debt Ceiling Debacle.

    It’s unfortunate, and we want to imagine ourselves above all of these identity issues, but the fact is that they ultimately do matter. It’s good for people to call us on it, and force us to confront the basis of our biases — I’m all for that.

    But, ultimately, we are no where near a world where emotion has little to no role to play in voting. And for better or worse, I don’t think we’ll ever get there. And in the meantime, pandering to base emotions remains an important part of the “game.”

  5. michael reynolds says:

    None of this is the point. The point is to turn the word “Bain” into a dirty word. It is analogous to the very successful effort by conservatives to turn the word “liberal” into a dirty word. Now, in fact, many conservatives and most moderates agree with most liberal policies — Social Security, medicare, civil rights — but the GOP redefined the word “liberal” to mean “welfare queens and weakness.”

    The word “Bain” is getting the same treatment. Mr. Romney wanted it to mean, “business and jobs.” Now Bain is going to mean, “dishonesty, privilege and job loss.”

    The net result is to deprive Romney of his one visible asset. It’s working. By the time debates roll around Mr. Romney’s advisers will be telling him to avoid “Bain” like the plague.

  6. The point is to turn the word “Bain” into a dirty word.

    Yes by all means let’s demonize a company that has made investments that have led to jobs for thousands of Americans and made money for the dozens of University endowments and Public Sector Union pension funds that have invested in it over the past 20 years just to win an election.

    This is why Americans hate politics.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    By the way, some fortuitous timing helps. we’ll be hearing a lot about Bain, though it will be spelled, B-A-N-E.

  8. Derrick says:

    The point is to turn the word “Bain” unions into a dirty word.

    Yes by all means let’s demonize a representation of the organizations that fought for common sense ideas like overtime, a living wage, vacation time, worker safety and other now common parts of just about every worker in America’s benefit package.

    This is why Americans hate politics.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    No, Doug, Americans hate politics because they need a whipping boy and politicians are it. Life sucks? Blame politicians. No job? Blame politicians. Hate gay pride parades? Blame politicians.

    Politicians give a lazy, dishonest electorate exactly what they deserve: a diet of self-serving bullsh!t. And the electorate demands more and then hates the politicians for it. It’s a sick, downward spiral, the result of a country that requires a mission and a sense of specialness having lost both.

  10. An Interested Party says:

    I can understand why Republicans would be upset when one of their own is Swiftboated…not fun, eh? And as others have pointed out, has Doug been this outraged when this was done to John Kerry or unions or PPACA…

  11. mattb says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Americans hate politics because they need a whipping boy and politicians are it.

    And to that point, Americans “hate” politics in the same way that most folks “hate” reality TV. For all the bluster about how bad it is, the fact is that we sure consume a lot of something we ostensibly hate.

  12. I wasn’t blogging when John Kerry was running for President, and my articles on the PPACA speak for themselves

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @mattb:

    Americans “hate” politics in the same way that most folks “hate” reality TV.

    Hah!

  14. al-Ameda says:

    And yet, Romney seems uniquely positioned to both affirm and deny his role at Bain. Romney seemingly cannot decide if he can talk about Bain this year.

  15. Kit says:

    Romney is running on the idea that his success as a businessman will translate into success as the president of the United States. He could certainly talk about how outsourcing might make the perfect solution for certain companies, while discussing how the country as a whole might view it on a larger scale. He could but he won’t, and instead relies on water carriers to make whatever arguments they like to help sway a few votes here and there. What does Romney think? just tell him what you want to hear; the man wants to be your president.

  16. alkali says:

    I think this critique is fair, but at the same time the “positive” version of Romney’s argument for his candidacy — which I would paraphrase as “I know how to create American jobs as President because of my experience at Bain Capital” — is equally disingenuous insofar as it relies on a crude “rah-rah, business” rationale. If Romney is going to make the positive argument — and, realistically, he has to — then Obama has to make the opposing argument.

  17. Herb says:

    This is ridiculous. Talk about a defensive crouch….

    Look, if Romney wanted to remain the successful businessmen making his investments and all that money for the University endowments and Public Sector Union pension funds (oh, and himself too….) that would be one thing.

    But he’s running for president of the United States. It’s entirely appropriate for entrepreneurs and businessmen to be “citizens of the world” in search of profit-maximization. But that quality is not appropriate for the office he aspires to hold.

  18. Modulo Myself says:

    Actually, what’s disliked isn’t free trade, but the worship of free trade as a natural law, as in, “There was no other scientific choice but liquidate these workers, move the factory to China, and give ourselves raises of 20%.” The world is chaotic. The idea of the economy as some sort of deistic clock, operating like magic all on its own, with occasional interference from unions and the government, is a child’s fantasy. And thirty years of globalization have not gone over well with the people who were sold it. End of story.

    Does Obama have any sort of answers? No. But he’s at least proposing a system of government in which there’s a net, so that we aren’t relying on the magic of markets when you have a heart attack and need to negotiate a price before they treat you.

    As far as I can tell, the current GOP vision for America is a vast plantation of maquiladoras , with a propaganda network to explain the whole thing away as a necessity.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:
    Very well put.

  20. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis: To be clear, I wasn’t attempt to call you a hypocrite or call your position into question. Much the opposite, from what I’ve seen you have consistently objected to this style of politics.

    My issue is it’s one thing to object to it, but its entirely a different thing to pretend that it doesn’t have a profound effect on things. As much as we want to believe that people (including ourselves) are wholly rational actors, the fact is that there’s a lot of irrationality built into the system and expected if you are going to play the game.

  21. Console says:

    Free trade without free movement of labor = exploitation of living standards in lieu of real wage competition.

    It’s capitalism for the one percent. In that sense, I find the critiques of things like NAFTA salient. Although the people most likely to deride free trade aren’t necessarily on the side of open immigration. But either way the point is that free trade handicaps one side of the capitalist system and rewards the other side.

    As for the Bain thing. I dunno. If the critiques leveled at Bain push the population to analyze not just Romney, but the art of parasitic capitalism as a whole, then regardless of what Obama believes about free trade, the outcome is good and tilts the field in favor of progressive politics.

  22. PJ says:

    In the end, there’s no substantive difference between Toyota and BMW setting up shop in the American South and an American company moving some of its manufacturing overseas.

    There’s no substantive difference? Between creating jobs here or creating jobs there? Between losing jobs there and losing jobs here?
    No substantive difference?

  23. @PJ:

    Yes that’s right. No difference at all. BMW is offshoring production instead of building cars in Germany. Toyota is offshoring instead of building cares in Japan. There is no difference between that and when an American company does it. If you oppose one, you cannot logically favor the other.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Exactly. Companies like Toyota and Bain are indifferent to patriotism and that’s why we should elect Mitt Romney: because by golly when it comes to lining his pockets he knows better than to put America first.

    I think he should run on that. “I’m just like Toyota. Vote for me. Or possibly for the CEO of Toyota.”

  25. Michael,

    It’s better than pandering to the protectionists and xenophobes.

    (And, no, I am not endorsing Romney in any way)

  26. jan says:

    It’s like a comedy club here, how so many of you are seriously falling all over each other to bulk up the claims against Romney’s ownership of and ties to Bain. The problem though is that Romney is a presidential candidate, not the president. His track record with Bain is stellar, according to former President Clinton himself, having something like a 75% success rate of turning failing companies around, with scant evidence of outsourcing jobs. But, even if that happened, so what! Romney ran a business, not a country. Michael’s high tech idol, Steve Jobs out sourced jobs, as has Jeffry Imelt, and a host of other democratic CEOs.

    Now, Obama, OTOH, has been president for almost 4 years. And, while he is demonizing Romney’s job creation as a businessman, his own record of job investments, as a President, isn’t all that good. Noteworthy in job failures has been his foray into green energy, recalled in a Washington Free Beacon’s article Shovel ready in Europe.

    Then we have the more recent example of Ralph Lauren, the designer of the much maligned Olympic uniforms (scorned by Harry Reid), who out sourced them to China, and is an unscrutinized (of course) Obama donor.

    You can continue to malign and dig around the backwaters of Romney’s Bain resume. But, what you will mostly find are kudos for his integrity, his organizational skills of extracting the good from the bad in companies, his loyal relationships to staff and others in his life. BTW, where were all those one-on-one recollections from Obama’s past, either from professors who worked with him, his students, early childhood friends (except for the Choom Gang gatherings)? Obama came in with not only a professional blank slate but also a personal one. And, frankly the legacy and public approval he has constructed as POTUS has left him with fairly constant approval ratings under 50% for most of his time in office (they did start off in the 60’s)…no matter who he tries to focus the blame on.

  27. Michael Robinson says:

    Doug, care to comment?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/23/mitt-romney-obama-ad_n_1110884.html

    I think Romney makes a pretty strong argument for the Bain attacks, there.

  28. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Listening to the mass media discuss offshore outsourcing is akin to listening to a sheet metal worker discuss the Higgs boson.

    Regarding Team Obama, I don’t blame them. Politics is a rough business. Obama is the most vulnerable incumbent since H.W. Bush and perhaps even since Jimmy Carter. Shit, if it weren’t for the lock step votes of a few demographic groups we’d only be wondering whether or not Romney would clear 400 in the Electoral College. It would be a rout.

    Obama wants to win. Were I running Team Obama I’d be doing the same things. Plus as Reynolds alluded to above the public receives the sort of politics it deserves.

  29. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If you oppose one, you cannot logically favor the other

    Sure I can, one is good for me, the other isn’t.
    One act should be rewarded, the other shouldn’t.
    Pure and simple.
    While it is the same process, the outcomes are quite different for me.

  30. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “the protectionists and xenophobes.”

    Riiiiiiiiiiight…….because wanting the American president to look out for American interests makes you a protectionist and a xenophobe…….

  31. Herb says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    “Plus as Reynolds alluded to above the public receives the sort of politics it deserves. “

    Shouldn’t that be “Zombieland receives the sort of politics it deserves?”

  32. Modulo Myself says:

    @PJ:

    No, no…the proles have to be selfless. It’s only the selfishness and greed of certain people that are allowed. The proles get endless logical traps of death thrown in their faces. It’s no more than they deserve.

  33. MBunge says:

    Doug, Frum and MattY are all making the same stupid assumption that outsourcing and other economic issues are either 100% wonderful or 100% awful and the only choices are to either call for things to be made illegal or totally endorse them as the bestest things ever.

    Willfully obtuse arguments like that are why people hate politics.

    Mike

  34. An Interested Party says:

    …with scant evidence of outsourcing jobs. But, even if that happened, so what! Romney ran a business, not a country.

    Poor poor Jan just doesn’t get it, unlike Herb, who does…

    But he’s running for president of the United States. It’s entirely appropriate for entrepreneurs and businessmen to be “citizens of the world” in search of profit-maximization. But that quality is not appropriate for the office he aspires to hold.

    Listening to the mass media discuss offshore outsourcing is akin to listening to a sheet metal worker discuss the Higgs boson.

    Or Tsar Nicholas discussing a whole set of subjects, from race relations to tax rates…

  35. michael reynolds says:

    You just had the last food you get unless you get back to work.

    I love it when the other side unwittingly makes your point.

    Exactly, Jan. He was running a company and that skill set has nothing to do with running a country. Well done.

    And Romney’s other qualifications are:

    1) He sold sponsorships for the olympics.
    2) He created ObamaCare. Er, RomneyCare.

  36. jan says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Just keep talking to yourself. It’s like swirling wine around in a glass, it goes no where but around and around……Obama is running on a presidential record. Romney is running on a business record. Two very different measurements. While Romney’s record in business has been one of success, Obama’s has been a dismal performance of leadership and productivity. If Romney becomes POTUS he may do no better, or he may do a lot better. But, that still remains to be seen. As for Obama, I and others have already seen the past, and the future, with him in a 2nd term, will be the same, if not worse.

  37. rudderpedals says:

    If it were a phony issue Romney would be singing the praise of liquidation and owning the case for Bain and unrestrained business, race-to-the-bottom be damned. He’s not. It’s not a good issue, Doug.

    It’s not phony but it is stale. Veracity is on the table and electability is back on the table. Tampa is coming.

  38. I said that I didn’t like either party’s jobs plan in the big ol’ Bain thread.

    What’s unstated though is that they aren’t that far apart. Both parties want to make minor adjustments to the sails and keep on course. That is a recipe for petty squabbles between them, because there are no big policy differences.

    (I leave overturn of RomneyCare, I mean ObamaCare, out of that because (a) again we see they aren’t hugely separated by policy, (b) it is not a jobs issue anyway, and (c) it’s not going to happen.)

    To get serious about jobs in a deep recession there is only one way to actually DO something, and that is to spend money and create jobs. Neither candidate is ready to ask for that, and so lots of stage drama is all you get.

  39. Just a tidbit on Obama doing the center-right thing:

    The Obama administration announced today it has changed or eliminated five regulations, saving the economy an estimated $6 billion.

  40. Brett says:

    Some of the foreign car companies setting up plants here is because of labor costs (particularly the German car companies), but the original Japanese plants were set up here to get around Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) to trade. Back in the 1980s, when Japanese cars were hammering the US auto industry and said auto industry was doing what it’s done since then (complain to Congress), the US started putting down all manner of NTBs, particularly the “percentage parts made in the US” rule. Setting up plants here allowed the Japanese companies to get around those barriers.

    It’s the same reason why Coca Cola set up a plant in Mexico decades ago, long before NAFTA. In both cases, it was about getting around tariffs and NTBs to access a foreign market.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    As for Obama, I and others have already seen the past, and the future, with him in a 2nd term, will be the same, if not worse.

    You mean that in his second term Obama will clean up a second disastrous Republican mess that left us on the precipice of a great depression? And defeat Al Qaeda and kill Osama bin Laden again? And save the American auto industry a second time?

    Wow.

  42. ratufa says:

    Obama is following classic political strategy: define your opponent early and attack then on their strengths. When Romney complains about the attacks themselves, he just appears whiny and weak — things the public hates in Presidential candidates.

    As Tsar Nicholas pointed out, this is the way the game is played (cf. the attacks on Kerry when he ran for President). I wouldn’t throw a pity party for Romney, yet. He’s shown plenty of capacity to say absolutely anything in order to win.

  43. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Running a big company does have some skill sets that would be applicable to running a country which is plagued by deficits and monetary waste and mismanagement.

    As for continuing the mantra of comparing Romneycare with Obamacare — the former was 170 pages, while the latter was 2733 pages. There was a lot more debris in the ACA (approximately 2563 pages worth of stuff people didn’t read before passing it) than in the Romney bill. Also, Romney HC was a transaction that was mutually derived and agreed upon between him, the democratic legislature and the people, passing almost unanimously, while the ACA was a one-party bill, rejected by the R’s and the majority of the people in the country.

    A very disingenuous, but politically motivated comparison, Michael.

  44. Ratufa,

    I completely understand the political strategy involved here. It’s too bad that it’s an argument based on populist nonsense and bad economics.

  45. Mikey says:

    @PJ:

    While it is the same process, the outcomes are quite different for me.

    But in another way, they are very similar. In both instances, you will probably be able to purchase the products for less than you would have, were each produced in its “native” country.

    A lot of people miss that part of the equation. They want to “bring manufacturing back to America,” but they certainly would not want to pay what all the things would actually cost if produced here.

  46. Modulo Myself says:

    @jan:

    Jan, you’re operating at the cargo cult level with Romney now. It’s only July. Relax.

  47. @jan:

    As for continuing the mantra of comparing Romneycare with Obamacare — the former was 170 pages, while the latter was 2733 pages.

    But you don’t really care about the pages. You care about the mandate, which is central to both.

    (I’m sure the pages have to do with all the “connections” to the mammoth federal code of law in place. You’ve got to specify how it affects medicare, and existing medical tax deductions, and etc., etc.)

  48. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “You mean that in his second term Obama will clean up a second disastrous Republican mess that left us on the precipice of a great depression? And defeat Al Qaeda and kill Osama bin Laden again? And save the American auto industry a second time? “

    While I had a lot of issues with Bush, it really wasn’t until the Congress was run by the democrats in 2007 that everything really fell apart. In the meantime, Obama has been at the helm for almost 4 years and has made a bad situation hardly any better.

    As far as defeating Al Qaeda, if Obama’s vote against the ‘surge’ had prevailed, they would not have been defeated. The same goes for the informational gathering that was done during Bush’s term in office — OBL would still be living the life. However, because of plans and preparation (which is a major part of being successful at anything) done by the former administration, including the start-up of some of the viruses that have slowed down Iran’s nuclear program, Obama, wouldn’t be able to take so many victory laps, nor could he have done the unthinkable of outting the Seal 6 team in order to magnify his own glory.

  49. @Doug Mataconis:

    Ah, but both side do it so it’s OK!

  50. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “It’s too bad that it’s an argument based on populist nonsense and bad economics. ”

    Seriously?

    This is not the first time we’ve seen a presidential campaign based on “populist nonsense and bad economics.” Usually it’s just the GOP that’s running it.

  51. Modulo Myself says:

    @Mikey:

    You understand that the cost of what you pay for an item and what works pays are two radically different things in the lives of actual humans?

    I actually support free trade, and kind of agree with the idea that there are advantages to it. But you don’t have to be filled with naive sentimental populism to grasp the fact that life isn’t an equation.

  52. jan says:

    @john personna:

    But you don’t really care about the pages. You care about the mandate, which is central to both.

    The mandate was a key funding component, which is why it was illuminated in the way it was. However, it was utilized under different circumstances, being that it was implemented in a small and receptive state, versus being applied nationally to the entire country, most of whom didn’t want it. It’s like comparing a sale, where both have owner financing, but totally different terms, buyers, circumstances in the rest of the deal.

    Also, the second funding mechanism of obamacare was the armtwist in getting medicaid expansion blanketed on the states, whether they wanted it or not. Now that the SCOTUS disarmed the government, it will not be so easy to accomplish their goals. Force is never a good way to govern, IMO. And, that is how the obama administration has gets it’s policies through.

  53. ratufa says:

    @jan:

    While I had a lot of issues with Bush, it really wasn’t until the Congress was run by the democrats in 2007 that everything really fell apart.

    What do you think the causal connection is between those events?

  54. @jan:

    The mandate was a key funding component, which is why it was illuminated in the way it was. However, it was utilized under different circumstances, being that it was implemented in a small and receptive state, versus being applied nationally to the entire country, most of whom didn’t want it. It’s like comparing a sale, where both have owner financing, but totally different terms, buyers, circumstances in the rest of the deal.

    It’s hard to see any “there” there. As has been explained many times, a majority in the national polls wanted “no pre-existing conditions” and etc. The only way to provide that was with a mandate. And so it took a mandate to get what they wanted.

    This is really like the spending/tax thing. The majority want lots of spending, they just don’t want to be taxed for it. The Republicans say “see, no one wants to be taxed.” Well, either you want a system of insurance/benefit or tax/spending that works, or you are willing to back dysfunction.

    Also, the second funding mechanism of obamacare was the armtwist in getting medicaid expansion blanketed on the states, whether they wanted it or not. Now that the SCOTUS disarmed the government, it will not be so easy to accomplish their goals. Force is never a good way to govern, IMO. And, that is how the obama administration has gets it’s policies through.

    I’m not particularly bothered by that part of the ruling. I think though, that any state that turns down $90 because they have to spend $10 is being a little emotional.

    Jan … I’ll happily spend $10 for every $90 you are willing to give me!

  55. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    You understand that making the cost of what you pay for an item interchangeable with what works pays are two radically different things?

    I’m not really getting what you’re trying to say here.

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    While I had a lot of issues with Bush, it really wasn’t until the Congress was run by the democrats in 2007 that everything really fell apart.

    Right. Because they’re the ones who cut taxes and ballooned the deficit while starting an unnecessary war paid for entirely by borrowing. You live in an alternate universe.

    As far as defeating Al Qaeda, if Obama’s vote against the ‘surge’ had prevailed, they would not have been defeated.

    Excuse me, but Al Qaeda was NOT IN IRAQ until Mr. Bush invaded, promptly lost control, left the country in chaos, and of course failed to pay for any of it.

    In fact it was because Mr. Bush abandoned the war against al Qaeda in order to move men to Iraq that Al Qaeda continued to prosper. Mr. Bush allowed them to spread like a cancer. It’s Mr. Obama who killed off OBL, hit them in Yemen and in Pakistan, has racked up far more AQ kills than Mr. Bush ever did, and finalized our withdrawal from Iraq so that we had men enough to carry out Mr. Obama’s surge in Afghanistan, thus at least delaying the day when we bail out on that mismanaged fiasco of Mr. Bush’s.

    So your comment is just plan stupid.

  57. Modulo Myself says:

    @Mikey:

    Sorry. What I was trying for is that saying to someone who lost their job due to a factory being closed that they’ll make up for the lost income with cheaper goods is crazy. Jobs, though they pay money, and material things, though they cost money, are not the same.

  58. jan says:

    @ratufa:

    Causal connection? You tell me. I personally think people were tired of the war(s).

    In the meantime, here are some comparisons between then and now:

    When The Dems took over the House and the Senate beginning in January 2007.

    Unemployment rate-4.6%
    National debt-$8.67 trillion
    DOW-near 14,000

    Today: July 2012

    Unemployment rate – 8.2% (with underemployment, it’s much larger)
    National debt – $15.87 trillion
    DOW – near 12,777

  59. jan says:

    @john personna:

    I’m not particularly bothered by that part of the ruling. I think though, that any state that turns down $90 because they have to spend $10 is being a little emotional.

    Government predictions about what a program will cost, or what the ratio of expenditures will be, don’t pan out. Just look at what the CBO predicted would be the costs of SS in 1965. In reality it turned out to be 8 times that number.

    @michael reynolds:

    You may think my comment is stupid, but your’s is just plain wrong. For one thing the withdrawal agreement with Malaki was formulated by the Bush Administration, before Obama took office. The only thing Obama did was blab about the rigidity of the departure date, so the insurgents would be sure to mark their calendars. Also, Obama must have gotten a kick out of killing people because he took it upon himself to personally have that ‘kill list,’ which seems just as sadistic as what everyone got so torqued over dealing with the water boarding incidents of 3 terrorists under Bush. Yeah, you’re right it was under Obama’s command that OBL was killed, but with the intelligence gleaned under Bush. Does the horse really pull the cart?

  60. jan says:

    @jan:

    the costs of SS in 1965 correction: medicare, not SS.

  61. Me Me Me says:

    On Thursday this stopped being a story about off-shoring and became a story about Romney telling lie after lie to suit whatever situation he finds himself in.

  62. mattb says:

    Applying Jan’s logic of causality, if someone smokes for 50 years, quits for 5 and gets lung cancer, clearly the disease was caused by stopping smoking.

  63. stonetools says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Also too, if you are unemployed, you can’t pay for the cheaper thing.

  64. mattb says:

    Either that or Jan’s theory is simply that Democrats cause cancer and everything that is wrong with the United State… and the world.

  65. ratufa says:

    @jan:

    To make my question clearer: What do you think the causal connection was between Congress being run by the Democrats in 2007 and things falling apart economically?

  66. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    I’m not particularly bothered by that part of the ruling. I think though, that any state that turns down $90 because they have to spend $10 is being a little emotional.

    Jan … I’ll happily spend $10 for every $90 you are willing to give me!

    Many conservatives consider that the “price” to pay to remain ideologically prure and principled. Governors Perry and Jindal have been very public on this.

  67. stonetools says:

    Causal connection? You tell me. I personally think people were tired of the war(s).

    Shorter Jan: There is no causal connection, but hey, I saw this argument on a wingnut website and I’ll throw it in here anyway, because it sounds good and I don’t realize how stupid it makes me look.

  68. DRS says:

    Jan seems a little cranky the past couple of days. What’s the matter, Jan? With all the campaign activity lately, haven’t the Romney folks been getting your cheques to you on time? You certainly do your best to earn them.

    I have a growing suspicion that Jenos and Jan (hmm, rather similar names?) are actually a Romney son and daughter-in-law doing their best for Dad’s campaign.

  69. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    What I was trying for is that saying to someone who lost their job due to a factory being closed that they’ll make up for the lost income with cheaper goods is crazy. Jobs, though they pay money, and material things, though they cost money, are not the same.

    OK, now I understand. But I wasn’t trying to say that, either. My statement was meant to apply in the aggregate. For most people, the effect is a net gain, but for those whose jobs have been moved or eliminated, obviously it’s a tremendous hardship that can’t really be addressed by saying “Yeah, but now the product you used to build will be cheaper!”

  70. Me Me Me says:

    Jan, how did the Democrats taking control of the House in 2007 cause the subprime bubble to form, expand and burst in the years 2001-2006?

  71. al-Ameda says:

    @mattb:

    Either that or Jan’s theory is simply that Democrats cause cancer and everything that is wrong with the United State… and the world.

    You had me until that “… and the world.”
    Please, shouldn’t ‘world’ be in all CAPS and bolded – you know, for added emphasis?

  72. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    the withdrawal agreement with Malaki was formulated by the Bush Administration,

    And what do the people at Fox News think that means, Jan? Does that somehow rationalize your bizarre notion that Bush’s surge in a mismanaged war that invited Al Qaeda into Iraq in the first place is the real reason Osama Bin Laden was finally caught? In Pakistan? Where Republicans said we shouldn’t go in pursuit of OBL? Hello?

    Do you even get cause and effect?

    Yeah, you’re right it was under Obama’s command that OBL was killed, but with the intelligence gleaned under Bush.

    Really. Three year-old intel. So. . . why didn’t Bush do the job? I await your reality-bending answer.

    So, let’s see if I get this:

    1) It was Democrats who exploded the deficit in 2007 by time-traveling to create the Bush tax cuts.
    2) It was Obama who distorted the space-time continuum in such a way that he caused Mr. Bush to pull forces away from chasing Al Qaeda before he was even running for president.
    3) Mr. Obama helped our enemies by publicly agreeing with the withdrawal date Mr. Bush had brilliantly already stated publicly.
    4) Obama is a sadistic killer and he only killed the guy that nice Mr. Bush really killed except he didn’t and, um, anyway: Obama is evil.

    Now get to work on that whole Higgs-Boson thing. We need your razor-sharp intellect.

  73. Herb says:

    @jan:

    “When The Dems took over the House and the Senate beginning in January 2007.

    Unemployment rate-4.6%
    National debt-$8.67 trillion
    DOW-near 14,000

    Today: July 2012

    Unemployment rate – 8.2% (with underemployment, it’s much larger)
    National debt – $15.87 trillion
    DOW – near 12,777 “

    Someone needs to explain the whole correlation/causation thing to you again……

  74. stonetools says:

    You know , folks , like Frum, Yglesias, and Doug are Acela Corridor professionals whose jobs aren’t threatened by outsourcing like those people in “flyover country” , so they can view outsourcing with a benign and understanding eye and look down their noses at those who don’t immediately grasp the “obvious ” benefits of free trade. Doug, I think you ought to show some empathy to those people and those who seek to represent them.

    I think Matt is dead wrong that Romney and Obama have the same view on outsourcing.

    United States President Barack Obama served a noticed that he would end tax breaks to American firms that outsource jobs abroad. He mentioned that the step was to restore a sense of fairness and balance to the US tax code by ending the tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs overseas.

    Can you see Romney even trying to carry out such a policy? I can’t.

    Obama passed the PPACA, which would help workers displaced by outsourcing keep their health insurance. Romney and the Republicans want to repeal the PPACA and replace it with nothing.
    I can imagine Obama and the Democrats creating a generous program for helping workers displaced by outsourcing. I don’t see Romney or the Republicans doing any such thing in this universe or the next.
    If this election becomes a referendum on which party would be more likely to help the average American survive outsourcing, the Democrats win in a landslide

  75. stonetools says:

    Sorry for the block quote fail.

  76. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Remember, folks, what’s important here is not the dishonest attack, but how Romney responds to the dishonest attack. And we should be grateful to the Obama campaign for making the dishonest attack in the first place.

    Quick, someone, anyone — how much of Obama’s “green energy” initiative was offshored? At least with Romney, the money in question wasn’t ours.

  77. Modulo Myself says:

    @Mikey:

    I think it’s an open question whether or not the gains from cheap commercial goods offset what is basically the waning of the middle class. There’s something weird and depersonalized about saying that an actual real place composed of human beings will have whatever losses that occur from a factory’s closing offset by a subsequent reduction in the cost of living. I’m not saying that it’s untrue, but it’s a weird way of looking at things.

    And note that it’s easier to believe that it is true, at least in my experience, if you live in a place like I live right now, a gentrified neighborhood in Brooklyn, with a farmer’s market, bike lanes, farm to table restaurants, and every other stereotype. When people have money, they tend to build replicas of everything but our present.

  78. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Modulo Myself: There’s something weird and depersonalized about saying that an actual real place composed of human beings will have whatever losses that occur from a factory’s closing offset by a subsequent reduction in the cost of living. I’m not saying that it’s untrue, but it’s a weird way of looking at things.

    I know what you’re saying, but I think of it as a form of evolution. Survival of the fittest. Those best able to survive and prosper, do so; those that can’t adapt, don’t.

    It’s always struck me as a bit odd that the very same people who speak the loudest about how evolution is an established fact also fight the hardest to protect those who would be culled by the process, while those who argue the most against it as an established fact tend to support its application.

    As I understand it, Bain’s main role was to find companies that were in trouble (“failing to adapt”) and try to save them and turn them around. They succeeded in many cases, failed in others, but they tended to avoid companies that were doing just fine (or, at least, OK) that were the natural targets for the “predatory capitalists.” It’s my understanding that had Bain not intervened and said companies been left alone, they would have failed completely.

    It’s easy to support evolution when you’re at the top of the food chain. Things tend to change when you’re not so certain about your own ability to change and adapt and prosper — and are seriously worried that you might just get pushed aside and shoved off into extinction.

  79. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What kind of sad asshole gets upset about perceived dishonesty in a television ad and then a few minutes later, puts on the mask of wisdom, mangles evolutionary theory, and quotes the emasculated male’s guide to viciousness through self-help?

  80. anjin-san says:

    he took it upon himself to personally have that ‘kill list,’

    Very odd. Conservatives cared not a whit about tens of thousands of Muslim civilians who had nothing to do with terrorism dying in our elective war in Iraq, but they are furious and furiouser when Obama takes out Al-Qaeda leaders with surgical strikes…

  81. anjin-san says:

    @ Herb

    Someone needs to explain the whole correlation/causation thing to you again……

    If you have any luck with that I want you to come over and explain string theory to my fish.

  82. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    Unemployment rate-4.6%
    National debt-$8.67 trillion
    DOW-near 14,000

    Today: July 2012
    Unemployment rate – 8.2% (with underemployment, it’s much larger)
    National debt – $15.87 trillion
    DOW – near 12,777

    Wow. You forgot to mention the 2008 crash of the financial and housing markets that happened prior to Obama’s inauguration, and which, as you seem to be unaware of, has had a material effect on the economy since the collapse.

    By the way, in the 9 months leading up to Obama’s inauguration, unemployment trended up from 4.7% to over 8% – entirely due to the loss of $14 Trillion in wealth and income from our economy, and the subsequent decline in aggregate demand (Recession).

  83. anjin-san says:

    Running a big company does have some skill sets that would be applicable to running a country which is plagued by deficits and monetary waste and mismanagement.

    Well, the problem here is that you can’t simply lay off the poor, the sick, the elderly, the handicapped, the mentally ill, and so on. We either maintain an adequate safety net, or we turn into the kind of country where people adjust to stepping over dead bodies in the street.

    Of course, Romney and his friends will live in the kind of neighborhoods where there are no bodies in the street. At least until the poor are angry and desperate enough to start killing the rich, or the people that they believe to be rich – that might just be someone who is well dressed and driving a nice car – you know, like a lot of us right here on this thread.

    It really just boils down to what kind of country you want to live in.

  84. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Modulo Myself: hat kind of sad asshole gets upset about perceived dishonesty in a television ad and then a few minutes later, puts on the mask of wisdom, mangles evolutionary theory, and quotes the emasculated male’s guide to viciousness through self-help?

    You are cordially invited to kiss said ass. Tongue optional.

    It’s one of those odd little dichotomies that strikes me every now and then. Bain was, in a sense, a Darwinian agent of the business ecosystem. They worked to adapt those that were faced with extinction so they would survive and prosper.

    And, sometimes, they pulled the plug and sent into extinction those that couldn’t adapt.

    Nature is, indeed, “red in tooth and claw.” It’s an ugly truth, but a truth nonetheless.

  85. Ron Beasley says:

    As I see it Romney will be a return to the economic policies that got us into this mess to begin with but that’s not what worried me the most. It’s the neocon influence on foreign policy. The arm chair generals and bullies will be in charge again meaning more senseless waste of blood and treasure. And yes, that is an economic issue.

  86. @al-Ameda:

    Many conservatives consider that the “price” to pay to remain ideologically prure and principled. Governors Perry and Jindal have been very public on this.

    But as we know, this isn’t exactly self-sacrifice. The poorest would benefit from the increased Medicare spending. There isn’t really enough of a private, charitable, safety net in place for them. People who go without Medicare really do default on debts, suffer, and incur other costs on the state.

  87. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Nature is, indeed, “red in tooth and claw.” It’s an ugly truth, but a truth nonetheless.

    Oh, is it? Do me a favor. Count the number of lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) in the world. And now count the number of deer, rabbits and squirrels. Guess who wins? Just about every surviving predator species is endangered and yet: there’s a whole hell of a lot of rabbits.

    In fact, if you look at nature what you’ll see is that often co-operative species like ants and termites and humans are doing extraordinarily well. We humans thrive as a species because we are capable of co-operation. That’s how you get from vulnerable lone hunter to more survivable pack hunter to even more survivable agriculturalist. Co-operation. Maybe that’s why we have the big giant brains and no claws. Unlike the couple of dozen surviving tigers.

    Maybe this is why Jesus said “Blessed are the meek,” rather than, “Blessed are the predatory assh0les who fire people to line their own pockets.” Maybe he was a better anthropologist than you.

  88. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Wow. I’d have never known about the predator/prey ratios if you hadn’t schooled me there, mate. Thanks so much.

    And you’ve shown that there are other ways species become dominant. Among non-predators, when eating the other guys isn’t an option, out-consuming and out-reproducing others. You mentioned rabbits? Are you familiar with the rabbit situation in Australia?

    Look up “invasive species.” Even plants can choke out native plants. Kudzu, milfoil, dandelions…

    Sometimes we cause the conflicts, sometimes we try to stop them.

    Capitalism, like evolution, is “creative destruction.” The “destruction” is an essential part of both.

  89. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    But as we know, this isn’t exactly self-sacrifice. The poorest would benefit from the increased Medicare spending. There isn’t really enough of a private, charitable, safety net in place for them. People who go without Medicare really do default on debts, suffer, and incur other costs on the state.

    You’re exactly right, and I expect the grandstanding governors to do what’s right by the people of their states and move forward with implementation of ACA.

  90. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh, and cooperation? So far, it seems like a definite survival tactic. Especially when it’s cooperation against other species.

    I read years ago that thus far, “intelligence” hasn’t yet been proven to be a survival trait. When we mammals have been dominant more than a fraction as long as the dinosaurs, we can consider it.

  91. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself: Whether or not the middle class is waning, it still demands affordable consumer goods. Most inhabitants of the middle class will feel pity for those displaced when efficiencies are increased (and believe me, I know how it feels to lose my job for the sake of “efficiencies,” because it’s happened to me). But when it comes down to a choice between the standard of living cheap foreign labor enables, and those Americans whose jobs have been thereby eliminated, they’ll choose the standard of living every time.

    Is that unduly selfish? I suppose that depends on what your priorities are. There are plenty of differing views on how altruistic we should expect people to be.

  92. anjin-san says:

    Capitalism, like evolution, is “creative destruction.”

    Great. Another conservative who is too dense to understand that sometime destruction is creative, sometimes it is looting and pillaging by those with more power, and sometimes it is just destruction.

    Was it “creative destruction” when GM and the oil companies colluded to destroy the excellent public transportation systems in many US cities in the late 40’s? My dad grew up in Pasadena, he said that you could get pretty much anywhere you needed to go in the LA basin, for a reasonable cost back then. But that did not generate a lot of ducats for GM and the Seven Sisters, so they bought it up, and tore it down. Air pollution, gridlock, and an economy held hostage by oil are all part of the legacy of this exercise in “creative destruction.”

    No, that is to complicated. Let’s just worship “free” markets that are not, and never have been, free.

  93. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: So, Mitt Romney was behind the evil plot “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” I had no idea. I thought “Judge Doom” was Popeye.

    Romney and Obama have both dabbled in investing in companies, trying to pick winners and losers. Romney used private money and won far more than he lost; Obama is using our money, and is losing far more than he won.

  94. anjin-san says:

    Thanks Jenos, another entertaining episode of your long running serial “You think the last thing I said was stupid?? Check this out!”…

    Seriously dude, you should not try to be clever. Your average conservative is about as clever as bratwurst, and you would have to buy a much taller ladder just to reach average.

  95. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You know why I don’t take you seriously, anjin?

    Because you take yourself seriously enough for everyone else. And then some.

    For anyone else to take you seriously would be redundant.

  96. C. Clavin says:

    Actually I’ve been struck by the apologists that say Romney was off running the Olympics and was too busy to deal with the company his name was on. And I’m wondering if it’s true…is Romney capable of running an entire country…with several crisises at once? To listen to the apologists…no. So this issue is relevant on several levels.

  97. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Romney had enough faith and trust in his designated proxies/successors/partners at Bain to keep things together. He knew how to delegate and how to properly apportion his efforts for both entities (Bain and the Olympics) to survive and prosper.

    Which they did.

    Sounds like the kind of thing a president should be good at.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s main efforts? A “stimulus” that left the economy worse than the predictions if it hadn’t been passed and a “health care plan” that will, God willing, be dismantled before it can wreak its havoc.

    It’s already about to cripple the medical device industry, just to name one all-too-thoroughly-predicted “unintended and unforeseen consequence.”

  98. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Meanwhile, Obama’s main efforts? A “stimulus” that left the economy worse than the predictions if it hadn’t been passed and a “health care plan” that will, God willing, be dismantled before it can wreak its havoc.

    L O L !
    you’re doubling down on the alternative reality stuff

  99. anjin-san says:

    Romney had enough faith and trust in his designated proxies/successors/partners at Bain to keep things together. He knew how to delegate and how to properly apportion his efforts for both entities (Bain and the Olympics) to survive and prosper.

    Hmm. Yesterday Jenos said Bain “nearly collapsed” when Romney left. Should someone tell him that a near collapse is not a seamless transition?

  100. C. Clavin says:

    Oooh…touched a nerve with the apologists evidently.
    Very sensitive about their job out-sourcer in chief.

  101. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Lovely bit of irrelevant blather there, none of which supports your “red in tooth” thesis. But it’s an excellent example of the habit some monkeys have of throwing dust and scat in the air before finally settling down to eat a banana.

    The problem in attempting to equate capitalism and evolution is that there really isn’t any comparison. One is a series of conscious human endeavors that takes place over the course of months and years, the other is a non-conscious biological function that takes place over tens of thousands and millions of years.

    Neither has all that much to do with redness in either or tooth or claw. Business is an inherently co-operative endeavor, lots of people working together, and it relies on the existence of a civilization which is itself a result of a great deal more co-operation than red teeth.

    You have a very Easy Reader view of both history and evolution. Like someone showed you a picture of a T. Rex fighting a Triceratops once and you decided that was evolution in action.

  102. anjin-san says:

    I know, Jenos, I know. you’re not really a simpleton, you are just drawn that way…

  103. C. Clavin says:

    And the aborted fetus disposer in chief.

  104. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Pay attention, Crankypants.

    Romney left Bain.

    Bain struggled like hell to deal with — possibly even survive — with Romney’s sudden departure.

    Bain DID survive, and prospered, after that rocky period.

    Romney’s “calculated risk” that both Bain and the Olympics would prosper if he dropped everything at Bain and threw himself 100% into the Olympics paid off, and in spades. Both were shaky as hell for a while, but in the long run he was right.

    Note that the Olympics went off just fine, and Bain is still around and very successful.

  105. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Please, be kind to the offshorer-in-chief. He’s working really hard. Just ask him.

  106. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: One would think that a professional writer would be familiar with metaphors… and the seductive power of lurid imagery.

    But you keep glossing over the purpose of the cooperation: to prevail over others. People don’t unite in businesses to hold hands and sing kumbayah, they do so to win. To beat others who are stronger than they are individually. The “unite just for the common good” model is socialism, and the only place I’ve heard of it working are the kibbutzes in Israel.

    The don’t cooperate instead of competing, they cooperate to compete more successfully.

  107. C. Clavin says:

    And dressager in chief.
    I can’t wait…it’s my favorite Olympuc Sport.
    Cheney shoots other people in the face.
    Romney dances ballet with horses.
    Ever hear of Catherine the Great?
    I’m just asking…

  108. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I know, Jenos, I know. you’re not really a simpleton, you are just drawn that way…

    Touche’.

    Now go get DIPped.

  109. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: And Obama smoked pot, snorted coke, drove drunk, and ate dog. Oh, and he made up hefty chunks of his “autobiography.”

    You wanna keep playing this game?

  110. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    So. . . Was Bain red in tooth and claw while they were surviving Romney’s departure?

  111. C. Clavin says:

    “…The “unite just for the common good” model is socialism, and the only place I’ve heard of it working are the kibbutzes in Israel…”

    Quite possibly the dumbest thing he/she ever typed.

  112. Scott O says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Now get to work on that whole Higgs-Boson thing. We need your razor-sharp intellect.

    She’s actually working on the Hick-Bozo thing. It’s hoped that the extremely high velocity collisions between Mr. Romney’s former and current positions will release the elusive “GOP” particle.

  113. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: And dressager in chief.
    I can’t wait…it’s my favorite Olympuc Sport.

    And now you’re mocking Ann Romney’s prescribed therapy for her MS?

    Good lord, what a desperate, pathetic piece of shit you are.

  114. An Interested Party says:

    One suspects that the longer this goes on, the amount of work that the Romney apologists will have to do will explode exponentially…no rest for the weary, I guess…I wonder what kind of taste it will leave in the mouths of many conservatives to have to carry water for this awkward stiff…

  115. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    One would think that a professional writer would be familiar with metaphors… and the seductive power of lurid imagery.

    Yes, and the limitations of them. And their capacity to distort reality for feeble and suggestible minds.

    But you keep glossing over the purpose of the cooperation: to prevail over others.

    No. No that is not the purpose. Prevailing over others is not the point of evolution or capitalism. Survival is the point of evolution. If you survive you win. The rabbit doesn’t need to kill, he just needs to adapt to his environment and thereby survive. In fact, right now your gut is loaded with highly successful species who survive and prosper precisely because they haven’t prevailed over you, they’ve become harmless and even helpful to you.

    In business the point is profit. If you can make a big pile of money without knocking off any other business, that’s a win. Not ‘prevail over’ just ‘profit.’ Does that sometimes involve prevailing over? Yes. But is it the point of the exercise? No.

    Which is why we don’t want to get too carried away with metaphors, because they have the power to alter our perception of reality and lead us into error.

  116. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, they were certainly bloodied, but they did survive.

    Or are you now arguing that Bain collapsed in Romney’s absence? Then what’s this multi-national corporation with $66 billion in assets that’s using the name…

  117. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Let’s go back to something vaguely related to the topic here: why is it so bad for Bain to “offshore” private money, but no big deal for Obama do “offshore” our money?

  118. C. Clavin says:

    Dog is a fine meal. I like retrievers…on a spit over a low flame.
    And oh yeah….I smoked pot and snorted come and drove drunk…yesterday.
    You are such a child.
    Brush the Cheetos dust off your onesy and turn off your mothers basement lights…it’s late.

  119. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Or are you now arguing that Bain collapsed in Romney’s absence? Then what’s this multi-national corporation with $66 billion in assets that’s using the name…

    I believe on that point you are now arguing with yourself. You’re the one who has them both prospering and collapsing. It’s very quantum of you really. Very Romney-esque.

  120. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Now you’re pretending that owning a competition dressage horse is related to Ann Romney’s MS therapy.

    Good lord, what a desperate, pathetic piece of shit you are.

  121. michael reynolds says:

    Oh, I just got it. Can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

    Jenos Idanian = Indiana Jones.

    Good grief.

  122. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:

    Was Olympic dressage therapy covered under RomneyCare?

  123. C. Clavin says:

    Damn spell correct…I did not snort come…not that there is anything wrong with that.

  124. C. Clavin says:

    Indiana Jones???
    I had no idea Harrison Ford is such a fool.

  125. C. Clavin says:

    Actually I think there is a link between Ann Romney’s horse riding and MS therapy.
    Wives are off limits until they make themselves part of it all.

  126. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Yeah, but you’re a guy who snorts come, so why would I believe you?

    I meant no knock on Mrs. Romney. Just saying maybe the kind of expense it takes to work at the Olympic level isn’t entirely therapy.

  127. David M says:

    @C. Clavin: Except there’s no link between her therapeutic horse riding and owning a competition dressage horse that’s entered into the Olympics.

  128. C. Clavin says:

    I can’t stop picturing this idiot in a onesy and a fedora eating Cheetos and masturbating to pictures of Karen Allen.

  129. anjin-san says:

    Jenos Idanian = Indiana Jones.

    “Short Round” is more like it…

  130. anjin-san says:

    Yes, and the limitations of them. And their capacity to distort reality for feeble and suggestible minds.

    Well played 🙂

  131. C. Clavin says:

    Thanks Michael…
    I think the only thing Ann Romney did wrong was not get as good a contract as Katie Holmes did.

  132. C. Clavin says:

    Wait…what…they are different cults???
    Who knew?

  133. C. Clavin says:

    Romney’s cult is the one with magic panties…right???

  134. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Instead of the actual topic, it seems the majority here instead wants to engage in such essential discussions as mocking a candidate’s wife for her disease and treatment. I don’t see how the hell this could be worth continuing.

  135. Drew says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This is an insight almost always missed by critics. Somehow they think the money made is just for the principles of the PE firm. Conveniently ignored is the question of whom the limited partners are.

    They are teachers, public employees, firemen, policeman, private company pensioners, cancer researchers, university endowments and on it goes. That’s who the LPs are. That is who the main beneficiaries of this investment class are. Get a clue people.

    I want to repeat something from Doug’s previous thread. I tend not to just pull rank. But I’m a partner in one of these firms. It’s a first rate firm. This has not been a good couple days for the commentariat, or certain of the OTB staff. Profound ignorance has been exhibited. I want to thank Doug for taking the harpoons and holding his ground.

    But the vast majority of the commenters have been engaged in inane speculation about how the business really works and how the economic and governance issues are really parsed.

    Lastly, and again, Doug made the correct point “what does it matter?”. Compared to our current President, this is a no brainer.

  136. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Come on, Indy, don’t run off.

  137. al-Ameda says:

    @Drew:

    Lastly, and again, Doug made the correct point “what does it matter?”. Compared to our current President, this is a no brainer.

    Actually, how Romney has addressed (or not addressed) these Bain questions is the issue.

    This episode is typical of how he has campaigned for the past year or so. He simply does not give convincing answers, responses, and explanations for anything – this is nothing new.

  138. Modulo Myself says:

    @Drew:

    I want to repeat something from Doug’s previous thread. I tend not to just pull rank. But I’m a partner in one of these firms. It’s a first rate firm. This has not been a good couple days for the commentariat, or certain of the OTB staff. Profound ignorance has been exhibited. I want to thank Doug for taking the harpoons and holding his ground.

    I thought you were fake before, but now I know for a fact that you’re not lying to us. Keep up the good work, comrade.

  139. michael reynolds says:

    @Drew:

    I tend not to just pull rank. But I’m a partner in one of these firms.

    Actually, that’s pretty much all you do. You declare your importance, tell us “how it’s done” and disappear.

    Fortunately, your candidate is just as clueless. He ought to be up by a good five points. Instead he’s consistently down two or three because, like you, he’s completely out of touch with 99% of the population. The son of George Romney who released 12 years’ worth of tax returns refuses to release more than one, while he has accounts in the Caymans, while he pioneers off-shoring and while he spouts bullsh!t reformulations of “I was CEO and totally not responsible, I owned it all and made no decisions, so elect me!”

    That’s how it’s done. Excellent. Great campaign slogan. Silence, peasants, that’s how it’s done!

  140. Scott O says:

    @Drew:

    They are teachers, public employees, firemen, policeman, private company pensioners, cancer researchers, university endowments and on it goes. That’s who the LPs are.

    Keep telling yourself that buddy, it probably helps you get to sleep at night.

  141. wr says:

    @jan: “As far as defeating Al Qaeda, if Obama’s vote against the ‘surge’ had prevailed, they would not have been defeated. ”

    Um right. Sure. Dead on.

    Except of course that “the surge” was in Iraq, and that was just about the only Middle Eastern country Al Qaeda wasn’t operating in, thanks to Saddam’s hostility towards them.

    But good try, Jan. If we all had the memory of goldfish or the intellectual honesty of Jenos and, well, you, we might even have let this slide.

  142. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Nature is, indeed, “red in tooth and claw.” It’s an ugly truth, but a truth nonetheless”

    Absolutely true. That’s why mankind invented the idea of civilization — to offer us protection against the savagery of nature. So “Mom Nature” Romney is exactly the last person we need as president.

  143. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I read years ago that thus far, “intelligence” hasn’t yet been proven to be a survival trait”

    Well, that’s one way to justify your own staggering level of stupidity.

  144. An Interested Party says:

    I tend not to just pull rank.

    This should be reported to FactCheck.org immediately…

  145. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    are you now arguing that Bain collapsed in Romney’s absence?

    Today’s Jenos, meet Thursday’s Jenos:

    Romney left active involvement in Bain with almost no notice — see the above reference to how Bain nearly collapsed when he left.

    As Michael pointed out, “you are now arguing with yourself.”

    You are the living embodiment of Poe’s Law.

  146. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    No difference at all. BMW is offshoring production instead of building cars in Germany. … There is no difference between that and when an American company does it.

    You might have a point if Germany and the US were just like each other. Trouble is, they’re not. Some important differences were described here:

    Why aren’t more long-term stakeholders with a genuine interest in the company’s success — say, their employees — also represented on corporate boards, as they are required to be in Germany? German corporations are thriving, even though (or more likely, because) their CEOs are paid radically less than ours and their workers command a higher share of gross domestic product than ours.

    The German executive making an offshoring decision is in a fundamentally different situation than the American executive making that decision, because there are fundamental differences in how these two countries approach the problem of how to balance power between capital and labor. German workers are not getting screwed the way American workers are getting screwed.

  147. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that as this thread extended, the arguments got more reductionist and stupid? Even Reynolds fell into the trap. It’s really very sad.

  148. michael reynolds says:

    @Just nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    Oh yeah? Communist.

  149. C. Clavin says:

    “…Instead of the actual topic, it seems the majority here instead wants to engage in such essential discussions as mocking a candidate’s wife for her disease and treatment. I don’t see how the hell this could be worth continuing…”

    OK…how about this…
    Romney is the picture of the 1%’s arrogance and …the picture of the very epitome of financial sector’s arrogance and unwillingness to accept accountibility for their actions…actions which are in no small part responsible for the economic mess we currently find ourselves in. The 1% which has sold out the middle class while preserving and maximizing their profits…consequences and outcomes be damned. The 1% that believes it lives by a different set of rules…that you can put your name on a company and yet still be immune from it’s actions…that you can outsource and offshore jobs and then pretend that you didn’t…that you can hide your money in tax havens and because by the letter of the law it is legal that makes it morally acceptable.
    The 1% is running the country and they are doing a piss-poor job of it. Romney is the picture of the 1%. As the Obama ad says…he’s not the solution…he’s the problem.

  150. Moosebreath says:

    The new Obama ad on offshoring is raising quite a lot of discussion at Josh Marshall’s place. The technical details in the ad suggest that Obama’s campaign spent lots of time getting the ad to say exactly what they wanted to say.

    Expect to hear lots more on this topic over the next 4 months.

  151. C. Clavin says:
  152. anjin-san says:

    Another doc places Romney at Bain almost three years after his “retirement”

    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/Bain2002.pdf

  153. Drew says:

    Here you go guys and gals. Exactly as I described. I have traditionally made it a policy to not engage in debate in areas I have no expertise. So for example you will never see me taking a strident opinion on foreign policy. Not my expertise. Similarly, except for the godawful GM set aside of a first priority lien I don’t weigh in on legal matters. Again, not my field. But this is my business, and the commentary has been as ignorant and awful as I’ve ever seen at OTB. You folks are clueless.

    How Fortune got the offering docs is interesting. After all, it’s private equity. But they say exactly what I told you folks they would say. I stick to my field of expertise. It is not a shared value here. And it shows so many of you to be just partisan fools.

    “Bain Capital began circulating offering documents for its seventh private equity fund in June 2000. Those documents include several pages specifying fund management. The section begins:

    Set forth below is information regarding the background of the senior private equity investment professionals of Bain Capital. Also listed are certain investment professionals responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Brookside and Sankaty funds, which are affiliated funds of Fund VII.

    It then goes on to list 18 managers of the private equity fund. Mitt Romney is not among them. Same goes for an affiliated co-investment fund, whose private placement memorandum is dated September 2000.

    Then there is Bain Capital Venture Fund — the firm’s first dedicated venture capital effort — whose private placement memorandum is dated January 2001. Romney also isn’t listed among its “key investment professionals,” or as part of its day-to-day operations or investment committee.”

  154. Drew says:

    @Scott O:

    Sorry the truth hurts. You are now in the idiot column.

  155. jukeboxgrad says:

    drew:

    How Fortune got the offering docs is interesting

    That Fortune article is worthless. I explained why here.

    I know you’re not going to address what I said, because you’re also too cowardly to address what I said to you here.

  156. jukeboxgrad says:

    anjin-san:

    Another doc places Romney at Bain almost three years after his “retirement”

    No, it’s worse than that. That document you cited places Romney at Bain almost four years after his alleged “retirement.”

    This is the statement he made to the FEC, twice, in 2011 and 2012: “Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999.” The document you cited identifies Mitt as a Bain executive as of 12/9/02. That’s a period of 3 years, 9 months, 28 days.

    It should be noted that the document you cited identifies Mitt as one of the two “managing members” of the Bain LLC. What does that term mean? Here:

    When owners, called members, of an LLC decide to manage the company’s daily operations, they are referred to as “managing members”

    So the document you cited shows that Mitt was one of two people in charge of Bain’s daily operations as of 12/9/02.

    Someone needs to explain why that false statement to the FEC is not a felony.

  157. mattb says:

    @Drew: You never answered my question from the other thread… is it common in private equity firms for CEO’s to essentially have no day-to-day oversight of the firm (either in terms of investments or simply the organizational running of the firm)?

    Again this isn’t a snarky question. I’m just trying to understand the possible difference between CEO’s in other forms of industry and CEO’s in private equity.

    I know this is sort of the case in law firms, but I don’t think it’s particularly common to have a CEO in that structure (versus a senior partner).

  158. Scott O says:

    @Drew: I’ll have to confess that I do on occasion offer opinions on things that are totally outside my area of expertise. So even though I am not a psychiatrist your reaction indicates to me that my comment must have hit sensitive spot for you. Is this something you would like to talk about? Are feelings of guilt keeping you up at night? We’re all here for you Drew.

  159. DRF says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Bain will survive this attack. The whole point of this is that Romney wanted us to believe that he would be a good President because of his “business experience”, which is his Bain experience. That has always been absurd; running a private equity investment company has nothing in common with being President and isn’t useful experience.

    But to explain this is too complicated to hold the attention of most people. So the next best thing is to point out all of the negatives of Bain and its investment history under Romney, thereby undermining from a different direction Romney’s claim that his Bain background qualifies him to be President. Look, of course, Bain’s job was to maximize the profits of the companies it invested in, and from that perspective, there’s nothing wrong with steering those companies towards outsourcing. But, on the other hand, once we know this, we start to see that maximizing the profits of companies isn’t anything like “running” the United States.

    And, moreover, there’s nothing that the Obama campaign has said that’s not true. You may consider the claims irrelevant, but that’s a judgment call. And, given Romney’s outrageous track record of continually and knowingly making false statements about Obama and his record as President, you won’t get any sympathy from me.