Why the latest Bain story is a loser on all sides

posted at 5:01 pm on July 14, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

When the news first “broke” this week in Boston, raising the question of when Mitt Romney actually left Bain Capital, I immediately had something of a sinking feeling which I shared with friends. It seemed to me that this was going to be an ugly distraction which was going to leave a lot of people on both sides with egg on their faces, and all over nothing of much consequence. Now, a couple of days later, it shows no signs of abating as Obama doubles down on his claims even as Mitt offers a “spirited rebuttal” against the charges.

The oddest part of all this is that even the media – for once – seems to be defending Romney’s side of the story. And yet it doesn’t go away. The reason for this, as I surmised on the first day, is that the competing camps seeking to either pump up or deflate the story are each faced with one uncomfortable statement they must defend.

Those siding with the President must lay claim to the following:

  • A person who is working full time on another project, is on a leave of absence, and has turned over all day to day management of operations to a group of former associates is the personal architect of whatever strategies are put in place by that firm.

It’s the most common defense we’ve seen and there’s some logic in there which is pretty hard to argue with when you put it that way. But before you get too happy about it, I also noted that Mitt’s defenders were going to have to go out in the public square and defend this doozy:

  • The President, CEO and sole shareholder of record at a large corporation bears no responsibility for the actions of that company.

You’ll notice that there’s a key difference in wording between these two memes which you’ll now see all over the web on a daily basis.Republicans want to talk about the day to day reality of the events at Bain. Romney was gone and mostly likely had very little idea what was going on. He was very busy elsewhere, and as long as the firm appeared to continue to run well and make money, why would he care?

But Democrats want to focus on the word responsibility. If your name is on the record as being in charge, then the ultimate responsibility falls on your shoulders. If you’re the captain of the ship and it hits an iceberg, it’s your fault even if you are asleep in your cabin at the time. And like it or not, that’s a fairly easy message to sell in sixty second sound bites.

So, could Mitt have handled this any better? Or has he pretty much said all there is to say? Doug Mataconis seems to think he could be doing better.

The story that Romney told in last night’s television interviews was not essentially different from what the campaign has been saying for most of this week ever since these questions started being asked — that Mitt Romney ceased all involvement in the day-to-day affairs of Bain and its related entity in February 1999 when he left Boston to go run the Salt Lake City Olympics, a job he continued at for the next three years. As far as how and why his name continued to end up on SEC documents for these entities, Romney’s explanation seems to boil down to the fact that, even while he was in Utah, he remained the owner of, or a partner in, the various Bain entities. After Romney was finished with the Olympics, Romney and his partners wound down there relationship and went their separate ways.

That may all be true, and from everything I’ve been reading on the topic the suggestion that some on the left have made that there was something illegal going on here is largely baseless. The problem is that it is rather apparent that the Romney campaign isn’t doing a very good job of explaining all of this to the public. To the average person, and indeed to me, it doesn’t make sense that one would give up active control of a business and yet remain as the responsible party in SEC filings for the next three years, nor does it make sense that someone who isn’t actively working for a company anymore would receive a $100,000 per year salary nonetheless. There may very well be explanations for all of this, even if they are a bit difficult to explain easily, but so far the Romney campaign hasn’t done a good job at all of that, and neither did Romney in his interviews last night. As a result they’re keeping this story in the news cycle far longer than it ought to be, to Romney’s ultimate detriment.

I see what you’re saying, Doug, but let’s face it… that doesn’t make a very good bumper sticker.


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canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM

canopfor…I think I am going to start calling you “Linky” and I seriously mean that as a compliment! :o)

I think we all enjoy your quick links on items of interest. Thanks.

g2825m on July 14, 2012 at 5:57 PM

g2825m:Thank-you,as I’ve said before,I have the Breaking news site,
almost on 24/7,and I back-track to see what I might of missed!

Oh,correction,thats Reuters/AP Big Story sites up as well:)

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

gerrym51 on July 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Good point.

Bmore on July 14, 2012 at 6:31 PM

I think Drudge meant that as a slap at Obama.

Terrye on July 14, 2012 at 6:25 PM

oh, no doubt about it…I was just saying that it’s time for that story to go away and that won’t happen as long as it’s on Drudge as the main title…it’s getting really boring and there’s nothing to it really…

jimver on July 14, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Maybe Drudge is saying it is plain as black and white OR night and day who we should be voting for…

g2825m on July 14, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Never assume Drudge is a conservative. Drudge is about Drudge.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Key West Reader on July 14, 2012 at 5:35 PM

They forfeited their license to practice law not their degree’s.

chemman on July 14, 2012 at 6:34 PM

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Thanks for the links as always!..:)

PS..Good to see you!..Hope all is going well!..:)

PSS..Remember it is bath night over at the hotty totty site!!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:35 PM

…Hot Air and the links supplied have save me a ton of time looking for news …some one here gave me the news about the ACLU suing Highland Park for students who couldn’t read 2 days before it hit the Detroit News headline. HA and JWR are all the info sources I need!

KOOLAID2 on July 14, 2012 at 6:28 PM

KOOLAID2:Theres alot of news missed,like over 3 Dems,last week
on campaign corruption,12 City council members resigned
for questionable spending!:)

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:36 PM

g2825m on July 14, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Canopfor is the amazing link machine.

SparkPlug on July 14, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Democrats want to focus on the word responsibility. If your name is on the record as being in charge, then the ultimate responsibility falls on your shoulders. If you’re the captain of the ship and it hits an iceberg, it’s your fault even if you are asleep in your cabin at the time. And like it or not, that’s a fairly easy message to sell in sixty second sound bites.

So, could Mitt have handled this any better? Or has he pretty much said all there is to say?

LMAO!

Okay, is it just ME, or isn’t there something to this “responsibility” thing:

Obama Was the Chief Executive of the Department of Justice while the FAST AND FURIOUS GUNWALKING OPERATION TO TRANSFER THOUSANDS OF WEAPONS TO THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS.

So, by Obama’s own argument OBAMA BEARS RESPONSIBILITY FOR FAST AND FURIOUS.

So, yes, I think Gov. Romney absolutely could be dealing with this better. He’s trying to respond in a mild-mannered, reasonable tone, when Romney should just be mocking Obama and pointing out that Obama has some questions to answer himself, about FAST AND FURIOUS and since he is in charge of the DoJ, Obama is by his own arguments, RESPONSIBLE for the DAILY MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF THOSE WEAPONS TRANSFERS TO THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS.

And MAYBE THAT’S WHY OBAMA IS HIDING THE DOCUMENTS FROM CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT.

mountainaires on July 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Schad said you ran out of smiley faces. That’s why you weren’t posting.

I told everyone you went to the store to get more and would be back soon.

Here have some of mine. (:(:(:(:(:

The EPA will betray you.

SparkPlug on July 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM

SparkPlug on July 14, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Dave agrees..He is just not here to say it!!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:41 PM

SparkPlug on July 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM Thanks..I’m well stocked!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

SparkPlug on July 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM Thanks..I’m well stocked!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Sorry!..Let me try that again..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Thanks for the links as always!..:)

PS..Good to see you!..Hope all is going well!..:)

PSS..Remember it is bath night over at the hotty totty site!!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Dire Straits:Great to see ya as well,hope every thing family wise
is A-okay.Bath night,lol,yup:)

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Yep. I’d like to see someone look at the timelines and figure out if the tramp could have crossed paths with Malcolm X in about the right month.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Well, Malcolm Little died in February 1965 and Obama was born in August 1961. I can’t help but wonder about Obama’s CT social security card and how that came about. Someone much better at research than me might be able to connect some dots, but it would be interesting to know where he and Mama Stanley were in the latter part of 1960 to early 1961 (in case Obama was a premie).

Those Malcolm X/Obama YouTubes are amazing.

TXUS on July 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

So wait, you can be the CEO/President/Chairman of the Board for the company for 3 years and at the same time have absolutely positively no involvement with the company whatsoever in that interim period? Whatever happened to CEOs receiving high wages as a result of hard work?

Typhonsentra on July 14, 2012 at 6:06 PM

what the f…do you care, were you a Bain shareholder, it’s/was a private venture capital business, they pay their CEO as much as they please, when they please, it’s not like they are using your sorry money…when the govt takes the money out of our pocket, ‘invest’ them in Solyndra (ever wonder how much their CEOs were paid???) and fails big time, are you that outraged too??? so spare me this OWS silly rant…ha, and how many govt employees (you sound and write like one) sit on their wide azzes all day long and end up retiring in their 5o’ with 90% benefits…spare us…

jimver on July 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Family is good!..Hope your family is doing well!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Lecturer … not professor. VERY big difference.

fred5678 on July 14, 2012 at 5:33 PM

The ONE skill he has excelled at for 3.5 yrs.

hillsoftx on July 14, 2012 at 6:47 PM

The video was indeed shocking — the resemblance is amazing. But all I could think was what a dreadful psychological and emotional mess our president is: abandoned by his mother and two fathers, likely lying to the world about who his father is, the product of some kind of meaningless hook-up (or worse), “mentored” by a commie pedophile whom barack so much as said (in some college poetry) sexually abused him. You look into his eyes and they are just dead, the eyes of a permanently damaged and sick child, and the nation gets to be this sick man’s tragic playhouse. One does not survive a history like that intact. I have predicted all along that as soon as he leaves the White House, his wife will either file for divorce or they’ll live separate lives like the Clintons do. The marriage is such a sham – separate vacations, the daughters always looking so down and sad. Moochelle’s in it for the money. What a dreadful existence for those children, to be stuck there with this soulless, disturbed man whose life is just one enormous lie piled upon another, and a mother who played along so she could wear expensive shoes. Awful. I simply cannot wait until they are gone.

Rational Thought on July 14, 2012 at 6:27 PM

I hear you, but Moochelle, whose family is quite prominent in Chi Town, is in it for more than the money. Power is her real thing. As to the girls, it is sad, but honestly I’m far more concerned about what this disgusting couple is doing to our children and grandchildren.

TXUS on July 14, 2012 at 6:51 PM

this idiot “president” should be asked why he has outsourced shuttle jobs to russia. we had to hitch a ride on their rocket to get to the space station today. he has outsourced G.M. jobs to china, he has given MY money to companies all over the world in his green quest. the guy is a marxist and is trampling on the people, he is chavez!

tm11999 on July 14, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Pic of the Day: Child To Man-Child

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/07/pic-of-day-child-to-man-child.html

M2RB: Eurythmics live from Sydney, Australia

Resist We Much on July 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Here is a story that will make Obama’s Bain attacks look ridiculous…

Obama Outsourcing campaign contributions from communist Red China

conservativeBC on July 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Why the latest Bain story is a loser on all sides

Someone probably already said this, but it’s because the originator is a loser on all sides.

The Rogue Tomato on July 14, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Those Malcolm X/Obama YouTubes are amazing.

TXUS on July 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I am so sorry for being out all day and just now trying to catch up. Could someone please post the link?? Thanks in advance!

esr1951 on July 14, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I see what you’re saying, Doug, but let’s face it… that doesn’t make a very good bumper sticker.

That sounds good, Jazz, but remember that the left is not trying to get some uncomfortable truth about Romney to stick, they’re trying to saddle him with an uncomfortable lie. At some point Hollywood or SNL or Lord knows who will take up one of these Hail Marys from the MSM and 20 years from now we’ll still be wondering how voters can believe whatever it is.

Knott Buyinit on July 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM

The President, CEO and sole shareholder of record at a large corporation bears no responsibility for the actions of that company.

Um, no – Mitt’s defenders don’t have to defend this at all.

Look, I hate Romney – but Jazz, this is bullsh1t. No one – NO ONE – is suggesting that this is the case whatsoever..

You may have had something else in mind and simply typed up that crapola of a sentence instead, but that is one craptasticly inaccurate sentence in terms of what those who take issue with Obama’s comments believe. It doesn’t even resemble remotely what anyone is suggesting.

Holy cow, wtf are you smoking lately?

Midas on July 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Tomorrow the Mike Model NETT Team Motorcycle Club invades Canada. Hide your pets!

hawkdriver on July 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM

You would think that if there was any sort of a crime in all of this the SEC would have done something about it by now…

But then it is just another feel good organization with lots of things to do that, in theory, secure the business community and yet it could easily be swayed by a guy like Madoff. So if you want to say Romney did something wrong, you have to file a suit, get the evidence put together and go through the discovery process which open you up to same in the matter… sucks that, but if you really and for true there is a case to bring: bring it.

Roll those dice!

See if you can demonstrate a man trying to slowly disentangle himself from the top spot of a company, while on extended leave and having appointed others to do the day-to-day work, and only garnering dividends on past investments that he has no active part in, has actually done something wrong. Why, in 10 or 12 years you might even start to present evidence in court! Wouldn’t that be grand? Mind you, this is not going to be a dicey case, at best, and if it proves to be frivolous you open yourself to counter-suit and the discovery that goes with THAT.

Have fun pushing this meme anywhere.

Its got four flats, and is missing an engine and gas tank.

ajacksonian on July 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Here’s an analogy, although not perfect, that even the most hardened socialists/commies out there should be able to understand:

Romney still owned Bain. This is not complex. Lets say you live in a house you own in Florida but have to move to Texas for your job. Instead of selling your house in Florida (for whatever reason — market, no time, etc) you lease it. Because you will be out of state & unable to manage things for the property (such as repairs, collecting rent, etc) you hire a management company to take care of those day to day things. So, you don’t live in the house, you don’t manage the day to day affairs of the house vis-a-vis your tenants, but you still *own* the house, are still listed as the owner on the deed and all legal documents and you are still entitled to a profit from it from leasing it and from when you sell it (if you eventually decide to do so).

This is what happened when Romney left Bain to run the Olympics in Utah — he turned over the management of Bain to his partners, but he still owned his shares in Bain and was entitled to profit from that ownership. It wasn’t until a buy out/severance agreement could be reached that Romney’s ownership interest was sold; however, and in the interim he was, in fact, still the owner and was properly listed as such on SEC docs. The whole getting confused on “why was he still listed as CEO” on legal documents only exposes ignorance on how corporations operate in a privately held corporation where there is *one* sole shareholder — you don’t just take the title off the documents until you actually sell your interest in the company.

Maybe this analogy is better — say a man owns a business in Texas and he turns over management to his son-in-law, moves to Florida & retires *without* selling the business to the son-in-law. Who is the owner of that business — the man or the son-in-law? Who’s actually running the business — the man or the son-in-law? Do you think whatever titles may be listed on filing documents effect either of these things?

Dark Star on July 14, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Dark Star on July 14, 2012 at 7:32 PM

I think anyone smart enough to turn on a computer and get to HA knows this. The Obamabots and ABRs don’t care and just want something to beat up Governor Romney with.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Bath night indeed. “Last of the few”. Yes.

ahlaphus on July 14, 2012 at 7:49 PM

I think anyone smart enough to turn on a computer and get to HA knows this. The Obamabots and ABRs don’t care and just want something to beat up Governor Romney with.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Sadly true. I considered the fact that I was wasting bandwidth (and my time) but hold out a smidgen of hope that the house analogy might be able to cause some cracks in the so-called *thinking* of some of the idiots out there.

Dark Star on July 14, 2012 at 7:49 PM

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Tomorrow the Mike Model NETT Team Motorcycle Club invades Canada. Hide your pets!

hawkdriver on July 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM

hawkdriver:Excellent,hehe,I’ll let my Canadian Beavers roam free!:)

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 9:24 PM

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Family is good!..Hope your family is doing well!..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Dire Straits:Thank-you for asking,every thing is tickety-boo!:)

canopfor on July 14, 2012 at 9:29 PM

But Democrats want to focus on the word responsibility. If your name is on the record as being in charge, then the ultimate responsibility falls on your shoulders.

Well, there you go. Unless one thinks this assigning of responsibility does not apply to the public sector.

farsighted on July 14, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Democrats want to focus on the word responsibility. If your name is on the record as being in charge, then the ultimate responsibility falls on your shoulders. If you’re the captain of the ship and it hits an iceberg, it’s your fault even if you are asleep in your cabin at the time. And like it or not, that’s a fairly easy message to sell in sixty second sound bites.

I think that’s gotta be Romney’s comeback here. “Obama wants me to take responsibility for things that happened after I left day to day running of operations at Bain. Yet he’s been in office for four years, and he’s still insisting this is Bush’s economy. He can’t have it both ways.”

smellthecoffee on July 14, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Big deal, Romney had some sort of extended separation process from Bain.

Seems like Obama was still working with ACORN as President and still has close ties with ACORN folks of one sort or another. Unlike Bain, which was trying to turn sinking ships into success stories creating new wealth and prosperity for workers of all sorts, ACORN seems mostly about sucking more and more either directly or via regulations and left wing judicial activism from the government/taxpayer teat.

Also, as far as Romney’s overseas investments — the US government does something similar — it’s called foreign aid. Unlike whimsical politically driven foreign aid, which seems as likely to fund despots as something socially and economically positive, Romney’s foreign investments in the international private sector are used to promote more positive wealth creation in foreign private sector markets. It would probably be better for the world if there were even more of such private sector marketplace based activity than Foreign Aid, especially when the US is borrowing 40% or more from future generations to fund today’s foreign aid.

Furthermore, Romney’s foreign investments are not borrowed from anyone.

Additionally, it’s likely a fair portion of this investment cache has been earned from overseas activity, and wisely keep in international markets to promote more beneficial international economic activity. International prosperity lowers international strife and decreases international stresses and military issues. So get over it folks — having some international investments in one’s investment portfolio are a good thing.

drfredc on July 14, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Ok, let’s see, the Democrats said when Romney ran for governor that he couldn’t because he left Bain in 1999 and moved to Salt Lake City. Not a resident. Now he never left Bain for a leave of absence and lied to the SEC. Which is it or is this more a situational argument each time as is often used by Democrats. Do they forget that video and audio was not just invented or do they believe that the big lie technique is the proper way to campaign.

amr on July 14, 2012 at 11:38 PM

But Democrats want to focus on the word responsibility.

WTF?!?!?!?

Since when have Democrats EVER wanted to focus on responsibility? Architects of victimology, their narcissist in chief has been blaming others for his failings for the past 3+ years with nary a breath directed towards responsibility.

NTropy on July 15, 2012 at 3:03 AM

How many jobs are being outsourced to China, now that Obama gave them the blueprints to the Chevy Volt? I’d say it won’t be long until millions of people are building Volts’ in China.

shanimal on July 15, 2012 at 8:33 AM

. . .
So, by Obama’s own argument OBAMA BEARS RESPONSIBILITY FOR FAST AND FURIOUS.
. . . .
mountainaires on July 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Good point. And, I would add, not just “F&F” but every other hint of scandal within the Administration.

Also, while I understand your point, there are obviously a few very key differences from the Bain situation — ones that make Obama far more vulnerable on that score.

Obama, through his White House staff, did not and could not walk away from the day to day operation of the Department of Justice on a matter that deeply overlapped the “hot button” issue of illegal immigration, one as important as any that the Administration was facing when they took office. And obviously, neither could his appointee to head the DOJ, Eric Holder.

Nor, for that matter, could he walk away from the day to day operations of the “independent” General Services Administration, GSA, the operations of which impact building management and procurement for several key federal governmental departments and bureaucracies. Bear in mind that they were heavily involved as the “gateway” for much of the massive, across-the-board spending of the first few years of the Obama Administration.

Anyone who has ever served in government on any level knows that the front office is always kept in the loop on what is going on in key subordinate organizations, or heads will quickly roll.

I have no doubt that the Obama White House and Holder’s minions were deeply involved in the unfolding and operation of “Fast and Furious.” Hopefully, a way will be found to get some key proof of that out in public before November.

As for the GSA scandal, my gut feeling is that the White House knew less about the details of what was going on (which eventually came right back at ‘em) because their political inclination would have been to be a bit lax — as a kind of reward for the work of the GSA bureaucrats in quickly expediting the Obama Administration’s spending priorities — you might even call the process of TARP and Stimulus “fast and furious” spending. It would have inevitably been vulnerable to both judgmental and technical errors, and to out and out corruption.

So, your point is well taken, and my own sense would be that Obama, Holder and others (such as in GSA) are very vulnerable on their failures.

They can be hoisted on HIS own petard. No more Mr. Nice Guy!

Trochilus on July 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Never assume Drudge is a conservative. Drudge is about Drudge.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2012 at 6:33 PM

That’s an invalid characterization. Drudge is about truth, and letting the chips fall where they may. His personal politics can rarely be pegged based on what he puts up. This sort of behavior used to be called “journalism”. Drudge isn’t interested in who’s ox is being gored, he’s interested in getting the story out when people who have or want power are involved. That used to be a responsibility taken somewhat seriously by the respected members of the Fourth Estate, which for over forty years now have completely abdicated in favor of picking winners based on their philosophy, and doing what they can to ensure that the news provided to consumers fits those memes. Drudge does no such thing. How is it then “about Drudge”?

You are going to like some of what he posts, dislike some of what he posts, but you can bet the farm that what he posts is properly sourced, verified, and handled. And he rarely writes a story himself. All of that wraps up in a single word for me: Trustworthy.

Freelancer on July 15, 2012 at 4:07 PM

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