Financially, the Republican establishment is afraid to lose its fundraising edge over the Democrats—especially when it sees Democrats following Scher’s advice and getting cozier with large corporations. Yet the Republicans’ presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is not a member of the GOP establishment. Can he wage a battle against crony capitalism? At first glance, he might seem like the last person for the job: he is a multimillionaire who made his fortune with the private-equity firm Bain Capital. Yet on closer analysis, Romney might be precisely the right person to lead the effort.
First, only someone very confident of his pro-market credentials can take the risk involved in challenging the power of big business. As it took a Richard Nixon to go to China, it might take a Mitt Romney to rein in excessive corporate political power. Second, Romney’s experience at Bain Capital makes him potentially more attuned to the market’s needs than to the interests of large corporations. His work involved investing in start-ups and established companies to help them grow. So he should know first-hand the obstacles that ordinary businesspeople face in their daily work, and he should understand that many of these obstacles stem from large companies’ political power. Third, his wealth puts him beyond the need to cater to big corporations for a future job or donations to his presidential library.