All of which presents a tremendous and ongoing political problem and political/policy opportunity for Mitt Romney, who made hundreds of millions as a venture capitalist and private equity investor. “Romney’s biggest problem is that, for most Americans, he appears to be a banker,” said Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer on Twitter recently. “If I’m advising Obama, that’s my A game. My B game, too.”
And bankers, never the most popular folks, are particularly disliked right now. In addition, the Obama campaign has attacked Romney as wanting to restore the economic policies of George W. Bush, which it says caused the financial crisis in the first place. The winning electoral equation, as they see it: A Romney presidency = George W. Bush’s third term = a return to economic catastrophe.
But if Romney presented an aggressive, free-market, anti-crony capitalist, financial reform agenda — something beyond the fuzzy “Repeal Dodd-Frank and replace with streamlined, modern regulatory framework” pledge on his website — he could demonstrate he’s neither a creature of Big Money nor a Bush clone. Oh, and he would be putting forward some smart policy ideas, too.