Pick Your Poison: Bain Capital, Freddie Mac or a certain “Stimulus Package”

Wow. What an exciting year we have ahead of us! Election years in the US are tense, unpredictable and… excruciating. I already can’t wait for it to be over.

How funny is it that, even though we all grow weary of mudslinging and attack ads, the biggest impact on poll data comes in the form of those damaging little 30 second slots? And how sad is it that, even though each election cycle we clamor for a more genteel campaign, the candidates who attempt to abide by this wish are the first to be dragged down and waste little time in joining the rest of the predators in going for the jugular?

I have been following the rise and fall of each of the Republican candidates for the office of President over the last year with interest, and, although I do not particularly favor any one candidate over another, I’m tired of watching each of the front runners be torn apart in the media and by other candidates. It’s easy to see that the field is being narrowed down by the perceived negatives of the candidates without much regard for the relevance of these issues, or the positives attached to each candidate, but to what end? Is it impossible for voters in America to make a decision about politicians that doesn’t hinge upon past mistakes, indiscretions or evolving their position on an issue?  It’s sure starting to seem that way.

I understand the importance of examining a politician’s history, experience and record. I even understand the hard questioning of candidates’ past decisions, retractions, and changed opinions, but politicians are the only people I know of who are demonized for evolving their position on subjects based upon new evidence or even the mood of the country. A candidate is supposed to represent the will of the people in office, but if his or her position changes on a subject over a period of 10 years, they are labeled a “flip flopper” that can’t be trusted because they have changed their mind on occasion. Am I the only one who thinks flexibility is a good quality for a politician to have? I want my public officials to be strong, but I also want them to respond to the will of the people as it evolves.

One of the major failures of President Obama is his unapologetic adherence to his idealism even though the country has moved away from the campaign promises and back to reality. Now that the hopey-changey rose colored glasses have fallen away, there’s a pretty colorful shiner forming where the country has been repeatedly punched in the face by frivolous and foolhardy pet projects which has taken our national debt from about $6 Trillion in August of 2002 to $15 Trillion now. Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has signed into law legislation which has increased the national debt at a rate of $4.2 Billion dollars… a DAY. The single most important thing for our country in the 2012 election is reversing this ridiculous and reckless course of action and restoring fiscal sanity. All other issues MUST take a backseat to this.

Since this is the case, I find it exceedingly depressing that the Republican field has degenerated into teenage girls, pulling hair and throwing bitch slaps at each other even before the left gets a chance to jump in. No one really knows where the outpouring of information about Herman Cain’s past indiscretions started from, or if any of it is even true, but many of the top tier candidates gloated as Cain announced the suspension of his campaign at the end of November. Now, I know that marital fidelity and the possession of a “moral compass” are important factors for many voters. Indeed, some of the tawdry details we hear of politicians exploits are enough to turn the stomach. However, in general, I don’t believe that these exploits prevent a person from being able to make sound business and political decisions and ought to be disregarded. I don’t care that Newt has been married three times, nor do I care whether Herman Cain hit on women that worked for him. The only thing that is important is whether they can do the job that is stopping the Titanic course we are on. I think both of these men could have.

Even more tragically, two frontrunners are being dragged through the wringer on the charges of being successful in business. How is it even fathomable that the party which calls itself conservative is actually chiding two of its members for making lots of money? Isn’t it enough that Occupy Wall Street demonizes successful people for making money when they have none? There’s a part of me that identifies with the people of the Occupy movement. Many of them are recent graduates struggling to find jobs in this tough economic climate, as I am. My views on corporations and “rich people” diverge from theirs pretty sharply however. I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s ok to penalize someone for their success, which is also why I can’t fault either Newt or Mitt for their business decisions.

As far as those matters go, I would have to say that Newt is definitely the more culpable of the pair, considering the payments his firm received came from a company which was not solvent and ultimately bailed out by the taxpayers. However, he says that his consulting company advised Freddie Mac against the current path they were taking and that he did not lobby during his time advising them. I don’t think we’ll ever know the whole truth of it, but I have to take Mr. Gingrich at his word, since it is what we have right now. On the other hand, Mr. Romney led a company called Bain Capital which made him a rich(er) man while creating and sometimes destroying jobs. Bain & Co. is a world renowned consulting firm, known for problem solving and out of the box thinking. It stands to reason that Bain Capital is the financial arm of the company which invests in companies that come to it for help.  To my knowledge, in a free market, companies that provide a service or product that is useful, convenient and affordable generally do well and can get even bigger with an extra influx of cash or creative thinking… a la Staples. Companies whose product or service is not useful, convenient or affordable and cannot find a way to make it so, generally disappear, along with the jobs that were resting in them even if cash is fed into them at a monumental rate… a la Solyndra.

To say that Mitt Romney indiscriminately destroys jobs is a flat out lie. The company that he headed exists to determine where good investments are and pursue them. Sometimes the indicators are not very obvious at the off and only after a company is acquired does it become apparent there is no way to save it. That’s when companies are shut down and jobs are lost. It’s not personal, it’s business… really. Sometimes jobs can be retained by incorporating elements of those companies into other companies in the portfolio, sometimes not. It’s not personal… it’s business. Mr. Romney’s company was extremely successful at identifying the good investments and making them profitable. What floors me is that ANY “conservative” candidate could possibly fault someone for being excellent at their job and making their company profitable. Disgusting really. If neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want American companies and American people to be successful, who ARE they rooting for? A case could be made for socialism in the matter of the former, in the latter, I think it’s really just that the right is afraid to celebrate individual success in this political climate. Ironic, isn’t it? We tell our children they are individuals, capable of achieving anything and that in this country you can make your own fortune. Then when one does haul off and make a fortune, we tell them not to be too happy with themselves and keep it hush hush in case other people are jealous and upset that they didn’t do it themselves. Talk about mixed messages.

In any case, I find these faults that the media and the candidates keep bringing up about each other to be a lot of hot air that takes away time from them talking about something with substance. Are there things about these candidates that I don’t support? Absolutely. I don’t like that Newt decided it was a good idea to be a turncoat and make a commercial with Nancy Pelosi about global warming. I don’t like that Ron Paul thinks it would be ok for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. I don’t like that Mitt STILL won’t admit that Romneycare was a mistake, even for a state. I don’t like that I can’t look at Jon Huntsman without  thinking of Billy Bob Thornton in Love Actually… yes, the point where he creepily hits on a Natalie that is dressed up to look like a Monica Lewinsky wannabe. However, if they can take care of business, they’d have my vote for this go around…ok, maybe not Jon Huntsman (shiver).

Now, voters, prepare for this because this news flash may be earth shattering; there is NO perfect candidate. Stop whining or swearing that you’ll never vote for such and such and deal with it. These are not perfect candidates, but they are the candidates we have. Instead of tearing them down one by one or falling into the trap of judging a person by what the media says about them, think for yourselves. Choose the one quality that is most important in our next president. For me it is someone who will put our financial house in order. All other things are secondary. They are considerations, of course, but if our country collapses because of financial instability, no number of social programs or amount of money spent on foreign policy is going to save us.

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~ by aptessmann on January 15, 2012.

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