To the Undecided Voter: Part 2, The Case for Mitt Romney the Man

Mitt Romney’s record and life can be divided into three segments; Romney the businessman, Romney the philanthropist  and Romney the politician. Each segment bolsters the case for Romney the president.

Romney the businessman

Mitt Romney was born into wealth, his father was a wealthy self made businessman who served as CEO of American Motors Corporation and was governor of Michigan. Romney therefore had advantages growing up and went to expensive schools. Mitt certainly could have stayed in Michigan and traded off his fathers name, maybe gone into the automobile industry himself. Instead Mitt chose his own path and after achieving both a juris Doctor and MBA from Harvard went into management consulting for Bain & Company. Eventually Romney would serve as it’s CEO and help lead it out of the financial crisis. In 1984 Romney founded Bain Capital where he spent the bulk of his business career and made his fortune. Bain Capital is a private equity firm, private equity firms put capital to work by either helping start businesses or taking over failing businesses and trying to bring them back to profitability. Few can argue with Bain’s success funding new businesses such as Staples and Bright Horizons, Staples alone employs almost 90 thousand people directly. Many have found fault with the companies Bain took over; generally speaking a private equity takeover or leveraged buyout is a last resort prior to a company going bankrupt. Companies like Bain took great risk on failing companies for the promise of large rewards, but the companies themselves allowed those rewards because they needed the capital and expertise to survive. Some of the those companies did eventually go bankrupt anyway, about 22% while Romney led the firm. That means that almost 80% of companies on the edge of bankruptcy where able to recover with the help of Bain Capital. Bain Capital leant money and expertise to save failing businesses this is a vital part of capitalism. It is very easy for journalists and political operatives to analyze a record of achievement as large and diverse as Romney’s and find faults to magnify but the net results of Bain Capital are impossible to ignore. Bain Capital is one of the most successful and most respected private equity firm in the country with 65 billion in assets. It is interesting that in none of the attacks against Bain do you hear who some of the investors in Bain are. At least 11 states have retirement pension funds invested with Bain including blue states such as California and Illinois.

Romney the Philanthropist

Most of us think Mormons have some “wacky” beliefs, myself included- but it would be hard to find fault with their church on the measure of Philanthropy or character. The church has an immense infrastructure designed to feed and cloth anyone in the church who asks for help. This is exactly how charity should work, there is a measure of accountability and people will help take care of those in need. Romney has a long record of giving and service. While being a hard working businessman he was also a pastor of his church and there are countless stories of very private non glamorous acts of kindness. When one of Bain’s employees lost a daughter in New York City Romney mobilized and moved the whole office to help find her and eventually she was. When a young boy was dying Mitt visited him many times and helped him write a will, his family fully supported the boys family and they have come forward now to tell the story. The Romneys have given tens of millions of dollars to charity; a significant portion of their large incomes. Romney is a wealthy man but he could easily be a billionaire if he had stayed in private business given Bains record. When Romney was governor he worked for free, he also volunteered to right the Salt Lake City Olympics after massive corruption and incompetence almost sunk the games. Romney is a family man with 5 successful boys, in a climate when politicians are frequently caught with questionable moral backgrounds Romney stands tall under scrutiny.

Romney the Politician

Romney was Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. When he entered office the state had an immediate shortfall of 650 million and a projected deficit of 3 billion for the next year. Through a combination of cuts, fee increases and corporate tax loophole reform he managed to achieve a surplus of 600 million dollars. After examining the issue of health care Romney argued that because the poor received expensive healthcare anyway and the federal government was cutting medicaid funding the state needed its’ own program. Romney’s program; which received bi partisan approval in a heavily democratic state required everyone to purchase healthcare or face penalties and gave subsidies to those who couldn’t. Romney did veto certain measures of the bill he felt were unfair to business but the legislature overrode the vetoes. Romneycare as it became known does share some similarities with Obamacare but it was a state program and it was negotiated and passed by both Republicans and Democrats. This is fundamentally different than the federal government passing a healthcare law and forcing all states to comply. Furthermore Obamacare was unilaterally democrat. Romney also ordered county clerks to comply with the court decision to allow same sex marriages even though he opposed gay marriage but not equal rights domestic partnership.  The pattern is clear, Romney knew how to work within the confines of a heavily democratic state. He was able to bring about some important changes he believed in and keep his principles intact while reaching out to the other side. Romney also was able to continue Massachusetts’ strong record of academic achievement among its’ students while pushing reforms such as merit pay and tenure reform. Romney also successfully vetoed a bill that would have limited charter schools in the state which have since grown in numbers. Romney faced a real battle in his home state that is one of the strongest democratic states in the nation but he had some major success and proved he can lead and work with the other side.

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