An open letter to Mitt Romney

First of all, sorry for such a tough night. Defeat is never fun. That said, there are lessons to be learned, and I hope you learn them.

There have been many people asking you to explain your role at Bain Capital; so far, that explanation hasn’t been satisfactory, but perhaps not quite for the reasons you have heard.

Most of us in the Republican Party are prepared to defend free enterprise, even if that includes various dislocations required to sort out economic efficiencies and move people from jobs where they are less productive to jobs where they are more productive, and we’ll gladly wear the bus tracks from those arguments as badges of honor.

There is only one problem with that: you still get hit by a bus – and South Carolina just ran over you.

So, FWIW – and keep in mind, this comes from a friendly and supportive voice – here’s what yours truly would rather hear from you on this point.

  • Bain Capital wasn’t in the business of destroying companies; it was in the business of rescuing them. Bain Capital was in business to help firms adjust to market changes and prosper, instead of capsizing to those changes and collapsing.
  • Not every rescue succeeded, of course; no one is perfect; but many of them did, and because of that, Bain saved companies and jobs across the board; some even added jobs (that last part you have down cold)
  • If Bain’s record was so awful, or cruel, why would the Olympics ask me to rescue them – a rescue that spectacularly succeeded? Somebody thought Bain knew what it was doing.

In short, you need to stop acting like Gordon Gecko – because you weren’t him. What’s more, you know you weren’t him.

The tax issue is even simpler: my 2011 returns will be filed and released in April. I’d rather just release them all then. Thank you.

I happened to see your South Carolina speech tonight. It was very well done, and an excellent start to your recovery; but it needs more. It needs the above, at least that’s how I see it.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

  • Riley

    On the day Romney announced his candidacy last year, he should have released tax returns for the previous couple of years, health records, school records, etc. By now anything in them would be old news instead of having to battle back on them now. That is just inept campaign work on the part of his staff.

    Romney’s biggest problem is that he never has been and still is not a subscriber to supply-side economic theory. He is an austerity Republican in the mold of John McCain, Bob Dole and Bush 41 (post ’90 budget deal). Some of us just don’t want to go down that path again because it always ends bad.

  • Repeat.. Romney is McCain 2012

  • John Jackson

    I’m sure Romney is reading with baited breath. Even though I’m a Gingrich supporter, it is because of the drastic changes needed. We need someone with the backbone. The problem with Newt is keeping him focused.

    Now, with the establishment (as JR likes to refer to them), is that they claim to have been in the trenches for all these years. Actually, they are admitting to contributing to today’s problems. Most of us, stayed out of politics because of the childish demeanor most political hacks conduct. We realize we cannot sit on the sideline any longer.

    Romney would make a horrible president because he admitely cators to the extreme liberals, guess that’s why the establishment likes him. It’s a shame that politics now infringes on all aspects of our lives.

    …and people like Mike Barrett and his public-private partnerships will be making the decisions. Had to get my MB dig in too!

    Ahhhh, feel better.

  • Whit

    Those in the GOP who back Mitt Romney and are expressing bitterness towards Newt and his supporters better be very careful. I’m reading some claims of anti-Mormon bias amongst e-Christians (even though Mitt did extremely well with that demographic in Iowa and got some of them in SC). There are a LOT of reasons Mitt is floundering and to brush it off with that kind of accusation is counterproductive. It will lead to disunity and make it harder for the eventual nominee to win.

    Many voters want the nominee to be clear and articulate about conservatism and take the fight to Obama and Mitt hasn’t shown that. He damages himself with snide remarks on talk radio (an important medium for conservatives) and his glibe “maybe” attitude toward his taxes (running for 5 years and wasn’t prepared for that? That’s a failure). Sometimes Romney gives me the vibe that he doesn’t want to be President as much as he simply wants to have been President. Themes, ideas and policies matter and he has been weak there.

    Many voters are tired of “coronations” and “next in line” policies amongst our professional and full time party members who are so deep in the GOP day to day machinations that they aren’t tapped into what are people are thinking and seeing.

  • Jamie Jacoby

    OP: spin room much?

  • Romney showcased in SC, the kind of general campaign he would run if he wins the nomination. Obama and his friends in the MSM will eat him alive. Newt will do better, in that he won’t allow himself to be a punching bag.

    That said they are both severely flawed candidates who will have a difficult time winning a general.

  • Old-geezer

    I saw the interview on Fox with Thomas Stemberg, founder and former CEO of Staples.

    In case you didn’t know, Mitt Romney served on the board of Staples for almost 15 years after Bain Capital invested in the fledgling office supply company in 1986, helping to take it from startup to major player in the retail office supply biz worldwide and earning Bain a tenfold return on its investment. No wonder Stemberg has been happy to stump for Romney for years .

    Have talked to a few people about Romney. EVERYONE likes the idea of someone who understands business being the next President. But they want someone who will fight like Gingrich.

    Bet I am the first person in Hampton who has a Romney yard sign. Fast service from Romney,Inc.

  • Romney has a path to victory, but he has let Gingrich dominate that path lately.

    If anyone watches when Gingrich surges, and what he’s doing when he does, they can see it.

    Hopefully, Romney’s people are, because the only reason Gingrich has a void is because Romney is letting him.

  • Jay

    The problem for Mitt isn’t Bain. It will be President Obama saying to Mitt in a debate: “Mitt, when you were a leader, a bishop, then a Stake President, of an organization you volunteered for … that same organization wouldn’t allow me to hold the same positions, solely because of my race. This wasn’t just in the 50s or 60s, but in the 1970s. This wasnt only when you were a child going to church with your parents, it was when you were an adult with your own morals. What are your real morals? Why did you belong to an organization that supported the discrimination against African Americans and women?”

  • Sara


    If so, Romney ought to answer: “Isn’t your best friend Harry Reid a mormon?”

  • Jay

    If that’s the best Mitt has, then Obama will be re-elected. He HAS to address this issue now, so if nothing else its old news in November. His church greatly discriminates agains the role of women in any leadership role. Mitt will have to address this; maybe not in republican primaries but I suspect it will be his achilles heal.

  • Sara

    I don’t buy the argument that Mitt won’t be elected due to his religion. Heck, the Southern Baptists long barred women from serving as pastors, citing Timothy 2:11.

    Romney’s achilles heel is his “softness”, his inability to articulate the conservative message in a passionate way that people feel is GENUINE.

  • Mikey

    Jay – it’s actually been chronicled that Romney’s father was a champion of civil rights within the Mormon Church and Mitt can easily hitch his wagon there. With women he sat down as a church leader with women members and helped expand their rights within the Mormon church as well. Even a new book just out from WaPo and Boston Globe journalists says all of this (forget the name, they were on NPR this week). So he’s more than covered there.

    Mitt’s best response? I’m, sorry, Barack, but yes, let’s talk about stances by leaders of churches we were members of…

  • Old-geezer

    The Romney t-shirt is nice, real light weight so will be great for tropical conditions.
    The yard sign is different. Thinking about buying one and sending to Bearing Drift. Some Virginia Republicans might want to look at this.

    Remember a few days when so many web sites were protesting by shutting down, that is interesting story.

    Anyway, how would feel if there was no Bearing Drift?? If you read this site and like what you see, then hit that PayPal button. If you’re interested in keeping the postal monopoly alive for a little while longer, you can mail a check (made out to Virginia Line Media) to:

    P.O. Box 16828
    Chesapeake, Virginia 23328

    Go to the PayPal link. Click on it. Fill in the required credit card information, including the dollar amount. Then hit submit.

    It’s that easy.

    Wish it was that easy to order a Bearing Drift hat like Romney’s for $30.

  • Jay

    It’s NOT his religion that will cause issues; it’s that Mitt was in many leadership roles, including as “Stake President” (similar to a diocese bishop) in Massachusetts at a time when these practices were going on (including in the 70s). What did Mitt do to prevent them? He spent 2 years working for the church in europe promoting the church and these were very clear policies known to every member. Was he outspoken against the racism or did he just go along? Better address it now instead of on the debate floor with Barack Obama.

  • Old-geezer – it is! On our homepage where it says “Get your BD gear” And thanks for supporting us and promoting the ongoing fundraising!

    Merchandising is tough to do beyond CafePress…but it is one of the myriad of things I have to consider as we continue to make changes.

  • Offer a Bearing Drift Radtke or Paul Hat and I’ll pay for a box.

  • LittleDavid

    Here is what I think are my very legitimate concerns about Romney with his tax returns. What is he hiding?

    What is there in the 2010 returns he does not want us to see which will not show up in the 2011 returns? He can completely change things this time around.

    My imagination is running wild, and he can reign in my imagination by releasing the 2010 returns. His failure to put this issue to rest by releasing the 2010 returns only feeds my belief that there is something in them he would rather not have us see, something that is not going to show up in the 2011 returns.

  • Tim J

    The only thing that will eventually come to matter in the campaign is which Republican candidate can survive the beat down coming from the far left zombie hordes including the printed and television media, the Republican establishment (depending on who wins the nomination), the Obama Campaign, the Democrat members of Congress and the vile spew that will project from the leftist blogosphere. Who in the current crop of candidates can survive the onslaught and counter attack with facts and clarity? Or are we seeing the possibility of a brokered convention that will bring in a surprise candidate who polls well across all demographics?

  • LittleDavid

    Surprise candidate? Ain’t that what you Republicans have been doing all along? You keep flirting with the next best thing other then Romney while Romney keeps plodding along. Every one of your alternates ends up being lacking in your own circles let alone the greater circle of all voters.

    Now you are flirting with Newt. You guys are getting desperate.

    Every last one of your candidates are lacking in one way or another. It is a sign of desperation that you Republicans might decide on Newt instead of Mitt.

    Go ahead, insist that the Republican candidate must be an extremist who appeals to you and who can’t win a majority. I am watching with enjoyment just how big a bunch of hypocrites you Republicans can be to cast your vote against Obama.

  • If Romney could make the adjustment he needs to make, he would have already. His inability to articulate a defense of his career in multiple debates has marked the fleshy underbits of a doomed campaign. If he fails in Florida as spectacularly as he did in South Carolina, he should do the honorable thing.

  • Whit

    Romney hasn’t been helped by apologists willing to discount RomneyCare simply as a function of the Mass. Legislature. He’s been convinced that he didn’t have to explain it or pivot away from it. I suppose in a way he can’t but then that’s the problem with the GOP’s never ending quest to have voters select whoever’s next in line. 4 years ago, RomneyCare wasn’t a liability. It is now and its regrettable that his supporters want us to ignore it.

  • Tim J

    LD, your hysteria about the open process under which the Republicans are selecting their candidate is understandable, where Democrats rely on the dark forces deep in the Democratic Chicago underground who make all your decisions for you. Why do you care who Republicans are “flirting” with since Democrats outsource their candidate decisions to your overseers who reassure and comfort you and can guarantee a sure thing?

  • Steve Vaughan

    D.J.’s answer to the Bain question is better than Romney’s has been so far, but still falls short. Because it’s not true. Bain was in the business of buying companies, loading them up with debt, which they siphoned off and then dumping them. It was “vulture capitalism.”

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