With his 37% win in New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be facing President Obama this November. But with Newt Gingrich’s vindictive kamikaze tactics coupled with the presumptive nominee’s own words, a narrative has taken hold of Mitt Romney as a predatory capitalist hell-bent on making money off the plight of average Americans. And with public attention on the widening gap between rich and poor, it could not have happened at a worse time. Today, a series of devastating TV ads by a pro-Gingrich PAC will start running in South Carolina – featuring working-class people who lost their jobs when Romney ran Bain Capital. In fact, many of us wish that Democrats had the chutzpah to be this scathing and direct. But now, Republicans will be stuck with a candidate who said he “loves firing people,” casually wagered $10,000 to an opponent, and proclaimed that “corporations are people too.” Obama may have just found his lucky break.
In another low turnout election that suggests an “enthusiasm gap” for Republican voters, Mitt Romney has won both Iowa and New Hampshire – the first Republican candidate to do so since 1976 – which suggests his nomination is unstoppable. As I wrote after
the Iowa caucus, Republicans always go with whose “turn” it is to be the Party’s presidential nominee. And just like Bob Dole and John McCain, none of the Establishment choices were particularly liked by the Party’s rank-and-file activists.
But Mitt Romney seems particularly hated by segments of Republican voters – as the front-runner couldn’t reach 25% of the vote in Iowa, or 40% in New Hampshire. Perhaps because he’s a Mormon (which I wouldn’t discount as his main problem with evangelical voters), or because he’s been a serial flip-flopper, or that he’s stiff, robotic and inauthentic. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have seen the hilarious “anyone-but-Romney” reality show of right-wing candidates who each crashed and burned.
Now, however, as Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have had nothing to lose and have turned their fire on Romney – a larger narrative has taken hold. As the founder and C.E.O. of a private equity firm, Mitt Romney epitomizes the kind of casino capitalist who brought our economy down to its knees – as executives took huge profits and working people got sold out. As the New York Times
reported this week, a series of ads
by a pro-Gingrich PAC will soon air in South Carolina – interviewing everyday people who worked for one of the companies Bain Capital took over, and then found themselves out of work.
Which of the GOP candidates best embodies the 1%? Mitt Romney, of course.