The Establishment’s Romney-Bain Double Standard

It doesn’t matter whether or not some of the non-Mitt GOP candidates are demagoguing the Romney/Bain Capital “ issue”.  They are. But as I noted before, it’s not as if they’re giving Team Obama ideas they hadn’t already thought about.  The White House has expected to run against Romney as an out-of-touch gazillionaire for months because it’s been clear for at least that long that the geniuses in the Republican Establishment were going to do what ever they could to grease the nominating process for another “moderate” in the tradition of Bob Dole and John McCain (because 1996 and 2008 worked out so well, presumably), and Mittens was and is their guy.

What’s really been confusing to me, though, is the hysteria this inevitable criticism of Romney’s record at Bain has generated by Mitt’s apologists in the so-called Republican intelligentsia (an oxymoron, I know). It’s not that they’re defending Romney that I find puzzling — I’d be shocked if they didn’t — but rather their hypocrisy.  Their basic objection, as far as I can tell, against those criticizing Romney’s tenure at Bain is that they’re using Democrat talking points to demagogue free-market capitalism and Schumpeterian theory or something.  And yet, with very few exceptions, these self-appointed, holier-than-thou guardians of conservative public debate were silent when Say Anything Mitt used Democrat talking points to demagogue his Republican competitors over Social Security last fall. What’s the difference?  Why is the former a sign of pandering and desperation while the latter is considered just fine and dandy? How does either advance the cause?

They’re both wrong, of course, and this is indicative of the complete intellectual and ideological bankruptcy which characterizes the current crop of Republican presidential candidates.   Can anyone imagine Governor Palin, for example, resorting to this kind of calumny? I know I can’t.

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