Who cares who ran Bain Capital?

Despite the fact that I work inside the beltway, I try to never forget that I live and work inside the Washington bubble. I also tend to watch the Sunday shows religiously, as I have for long, long time now. After this weekend, though, it’s hard for me to think that anybody outside the beltway should take any of us inside the beltway seriously.

The biggest story this weekend was Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. Second biggest was the “scandal” over US Olympic Team uniforms being made in China, and third was Penn State’s scandal.


As I noted last week, we’re in the middle of silly season. It was kind of funny at that point, watching the President push for an extension of the Bush tax cuts that anybody who has been paying even slight attention knows is going nowhere. Now I’m just getting annoyed.

We have unemployment numbers that just won’t move – and that means, in real life terms, millions of Americans with some of the toughest decisions a family can make in front of them. We are still trying to grapple with massive deficits and we have major policy issues in Washington – from sequestration of the Defense budget, 70 years worth of agriculture programs that are about to expire, and a wealth of other major issues – that are going unresolved because no one can sit down and negotiate like adults.

So why are we arguing about whether Romney ran Bain from 1999-2002, and why are we freaking out about the US Olympic team’s uniforms?

Yes, it’s summer. Yes, it’s been a relatively slow news week. Yes, nothing really gets done in DC at the end of summer. But we’re just a short few months away from a Presidential election and this kind of nonsense is what’s driving the debate?

I’m tired of it. This kind of tit for tat nonsense is just what the President wants and just what the American people don’t need. It lets the President’s campaign focus on Romney’s background and not on the President’s almost accomplishment free record. These are worthless side show issues that don’t matter in the overall scheme of things.

Did Romney run Bain for those extra 3 years?

Who cares? Why does it matter?

We’re really spending all this time and energy on trying to fact check one worthless part of the President’s campaign message? Even if Romney did run Bain and all that outsourcing happened and he was the one who made the decision, does it really matter?  Or is it more important that the President – who was elected to fix the economy – has overseen almost four years of job losses, a serious shrinking of the American workforce and unemployment rates above 8% for a record 42 months?

The same thing underlies the US Olympic Team uniforms issue. Anybody who has been following the history of the US textile industry knows it is a shadow of what it was just 20 years ago. Those jobs were outsourced before Barack Obama ever held elective office. Why we’re fighting about it now is a waste of time. It’s another non-issue that can generate some TV talk for a few hours in the middle of summer.

I’m really tired of all this nonsense. If we can’t focus on real issues during this campaign – when the country remains in the midst of an economic and confidence crisis – when can we?

Anybody just starting to pay attention to national politics has got to be frustrated and cynical right now. I know I am, and I’ve been living and breathing this stuff for over a decade.

I don’t care how much Romney paid in taxes, whether his company outsourced jobs, when he actually left, how many swiss bank accounts he has, or his dog. And I don’t care about the President’s birth certificate, where he went to college, or any of the other nonsense issues out there.  None of that has anything to do with the issues facing most American families today.  When are we going to stop making this campaign about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and start making it about them?

All I want to know is this: who will do the best job solving our economic issues, spurring job growth and fixing what’s broken in Washington?

If you aren’t talking about one of those three issues, you’re feeding into silly season.

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