Former Colleague Questions Romney’s Authenticity
But something more needs to be discussed about Romney: what are his values and beliefs? What kind of person is he beneath that well-groomed exterior? I have no doubt that he is a good father and wonderful husband, but is that enough? Does he respect people and business partners? Is he honest?
I lived through Richard Nixon’s presidency. I saw first-hand Nixon’s megalomania, lies and deceit, his lack of respect for other people, and lack of honor. I do not want another President of his psychological caliber ever occupying the White House again. As a nation, we deserve better.
I’m not saying that Romney ranks up there with Nixon in paranoia, but Romney’s many dismissals of the concerns of middle and working class Americans shows his obvious disregard and disrespect for anyone not of his elite status. Moreover, it appears he cannot be trusted to have any honor as well.
William H. Cohan, a business reporter and former Wall St. employee, wrote of his experience in dealing with Bain Capital while Romney ran the firm. The tone and meat of the op-ed provide yet another look at Romney that the media has ignored but is well worth noting before voting day.
The real Bain way may be nothing more than a clever tactic to eliminate competition from a heated auction in order to buy a business at an attractive price. After all, Bain Capital is seeking the highest returns for its investors. But Bain’s behavior also reveals something about the values it brings to bear in a process that requires honor and character to work properly. If a firm’s word is not worth the paper it is printed on, then its reputation for bad behavior will impair its ability to function in an honorable and productive way.
I don’t know if Bain Capital still uses the bait-and-switch technique when it competes in auctions these days (I’m told that it doesn’t). But that was the way the firm’s partners competed when Romney ran the place. This win-at-any-cost approach makes me wonder how a President Romney would negotiate with Congress, or with China, or with anyone else — and what a promise, pledge or endorsement from him would actually mean.
Would a President Romney, along with a Republican Congress, cut taxes for the wealthy even more than he has pledged to do? Would he not try to balance the federal budget, even though he has said he would? Would he protect defense spending, as he has indicated he would?
I have no idea how Romney might behave in office. I do believe, however, that when he was running Bain Capital, his word was not his bond.
William D. Cohan, a columnist for Bloomberg View, is the author of “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World” and “House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street.” He has worked at Lazard Freres, Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan Chase.