No, Mitt Romney, We’re Not Attacking Capitalism

We Want an Economy That Works for Everyone, Not Just the Privileged Few

The klieg lights have been burning hot on Mitt Romney’s record as a rapacious corporate raider who amassed a quarter-billion fortune by bankrupting companies and laying off thousands of Americans. Here’s how Center for American Progress Chairman John Podesta summed it up:

You know, I don’t think they’re putting capitalism on trial or the free market on trial or even private equity on trial. Private equity can build companies, and it may make appropriate investments.

The critique against Romney, really, is the way, under his leadership, Bain Capital operated, in the fact that so many companies went bankrupt under his tenure. I think 22 percent of the investments went bankrupt. They put a lot of people out of work, shipped a lot of jobs overseas, took a lot of federal money and then – and then saw those companies go belly-up.

So I think that’s – that’s a fair – it’s at least fair to kind of review his record, and I think that Romney hasn’t handled it very well by suggesting that a review of how he personally operated at Bain Capital or how Bain Capital operated under his leadership, you know, is an attack on the whole free enterprise system. I don’t think it is.

Romney and his campaign accused critics of Wall Street excesses and his record at Bain Capital of merely being guilty of “envy,” but most of his responses have focused on accusing critics of being anti-capitalist, anti-American, sacrilegious, and even socialist:

RomneyYou know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent — and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.

Romney: We’ve understood for a long time that the Obama people would come after free enterprise.

RomneyPresident Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our Party and for our nation.  This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision.  I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique — We are One Nation, Under God.

Make no mistake, in this campaign, I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom a clear and unapologetic defense.

Top Romney surrogate John Sununu: I think the socialist attacks you’re getting against Mitt Romney by opponents will come back to hurt them.

Instead of an economy that only works for the privileged few, progressive want to bring back an economy that works for everyone — the kind of economy with a strong middle class that made America great. President Obama eloquently described the progressive vision for America in his landmark speech in Kansas:

But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what’s at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

I am here to say they are wrong. (Applause.) I’m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we’re greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules. (Applause.) These aren’t Democratic values or Republican values. These aren’t 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They’re American values. And we have to reclaim them. (Applause.)

IN ONE SENTENCE: Wanting an economy that works for everyone — not just the privileged few — isn’t called socialism; it’s called America.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

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The New York Times public editor asks readers whether or not the paper should report lies.

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Rick Perry remembered three federal agencies he wants to abolish. He just remembered the wrong ones.

A group of attorneys general is looking to start their own investigation into foreclosure fraud.

A transphobic legislator in Tennessee wants to fine transgender people $50 for using a public restroom or dressing room.

Unsurprisingly, audiences appreciate television programming that is timely and politically sensitive.

The religious conservative Liberty Counsel claims that individuals who abstain from sex until marriage earn nearly $400,000 more over their lifetimes, though there’s no data to support their claim.

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Advocacy Team