I’m wondering if Mitt has been set up over Bain to make the story not about jobs, but about honesty.
Mitt ran twice in Massachusetts, with the story of how he’d caused workers to lose their jobs and benefits used against him both times. Ted Kennedy used it effectively to defeat Mitt and keep his Senate seat. But it didn’t work as well for Shannon O’Brien, who lost to Mitt for governor.
So the sad stories about the folks whom Mitt callously fired weren’t a sure thing for the presidential race. Might work, might not. Voters understand about the “creative destruction” part of capitalism, that jobs and industries come and go. Mitt might have been especially ruthless about not giving folks notice and severance pay, but Americans realize that very few of us work at the buggy whip factory anymore.
But the Massachusetts history also offered another way to attack Mitt on Bain — Mitt’s insistence that he had left the company in February 1999 to run the Olympics and wasn’t involved in or responsible for anything that occurred after that date. At the time it was called a part-time leave of absence, consistent with two prior leaves he’d taken — one to fix Bain Capital’s parent company when it was near bankruptcy and another to run for Senate. It was assumed he’d return, as he had both other times. Would he really cut off any involvement with this company he owned and was still head of and let it possibly be run into the ground?
So going into the 2012 race, Mitt was stuck with his unequivocal claims about when he’d left Bain, dating back both to his Massachusetts run for governor and his 2008 run for president. But those claims are inconsistent with all kinds of documentary evidence, from SEC filings to candidate disclosures to contemporaneous newspaper articles.
I’m wondering if someone saw that the real way to catch Mitt was not to focus on his trail of lost jobs, but rather on his trail of lies. I’m wondering which political party that someone belongs to.