All about ideas…

Former Colleague Questions Romney’s Authenticity

with 4 comments

Mitt Romney

There has been a lot of noise and digital ink spent in the media about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, a failing firm he and his partners bought with the help of a FDIC loan (that has never been repaid). When Romney bought Bain, his type of firm was labeled as a leveraged buyout (LBO) firm. It carried the same connotation as KKR when it bought RJR Nabisco of Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, fame in 1988.

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.


Written by Valerie Curl

January 17, 2012 at 9:52 AM

4 Responses

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  1. Interesting piece Valerie;

    You make a good point about Romney’s business experience as being a leveraged buyout expert. That’s not exactly what most people mean when they talk about business experience.

    To me, Romney is the epitome of arrogant elitism, and one of the worst political opportunists of all the candidates. I think his claim of business experience is just a bit disingenuous, but not for the same reasons we’ve been hearing from Gingrich & Santorum. Business to me implies the concept of added value. A manufacturing business, adds to the value of the raw materials they use. A service business adds value as well. I think Romney’s experience would be more accurately described as “Wall Street” experience, in that, as you said, what he ran was a leveraged buy-out operation. True, one could say that Bain Capital “added value” to the companies it saved, but in most cases it just bought companies, dismantled them and sold off the pieces. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong, immoral or illegal about doing that, but the experience itself is far different than the experience one gains by starting a business, manufacturing a product, or providing needed services, and struggling to grow that business to the point where it succeeds. When I hear the term “business experience” to me it refers to the act of building something. Leveraged buyouts don’t quite fit in with that concept.

    I also agree with your characterization of Nixon. You wrote:

    “I saw first-hand Nixon’s megalomania, lies and deceit, his lack of respect for other people, and lack of honor.”

    Based on that, you must be really disgusted by Obama. I don’t think he’s ever once spoken the truth since he burst on the scene.. well maybe once, when he said he was going to “fundamentally transform America” but he had an entirely different idea of what that meant than most Americans who heard those words.

    He lied when he blamed the recession on Bush. It was really caused by government intervention into the free market, specifically in this case their forcing banks to give mortgages to people who weren’t credit worthy.

    He’s been lying about terrorism, trying to make it look like Muslim extremists aren’t the cause of the problem.

    He’s been lying about the healthcare issue, first blaming it on doctors and then blaming it on insurance companies, when the enormous cost increases are due to medicare & medicaid fraud and lawyers like John Edwards milking the system out of billions of dollars.

    He’s lying about “Fast and Furious”. The truth is that it was an intentional scheme of his administration to try to create a false crisis to use as the basis for gun control laws.

    His entire class warfare strategy is a lie. When he says that the rich should pay their fair share, he’s falsely implying that squeezing more taxes out of the so called “rich” would solve our deficit problems. The so called rich are already paying far more than their fair share. For 2009, the top 1/10th of 1% paid 17.11% of gross tax revenues. The top 1% paid 36.7%. The top 5% paid 58.7%. Put in terms that even liberals should understand, the top 5% of tax payers paid MORE than the bottom 95% of tax payers. The top 5% of taxpayers paid an average of 37.72% of their income. That amounted to $274 billion. If their taxes were raised to 50% as progressives like Michael Moore want, that would raise an additional $159 billion in tax revenues. With an annual deficit of about $1.5 trillion, that’s clearly not a solution to the problem.

    In Obama’s very first act as president he committed the crime of perjury. When he swore under oath to “preserve protect and defend The Constitution of the United States” he lied when he said “I do”



    January 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

  2. You were doing so well on-topic…then, you went off the deep end, spouting a lot of Fox News style propaganda.

    Valerie Curl

    January 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    • You left that door opened saying that you were sickened by Nixon when Obama is doing exactly the same things and far more.

      But calling it Fox propaganda is a typical far left tactic. If you can’t debate it on its merits, ridicule it. Try refuting what I said with facts instead… I gave you 5 distinct Obama lies to refute if you can…

      1: Blaming the recession on Bush
      2: Lying about the true nature of terrorism
      3: Lying about healthcare
      4: Lying about Fast & Furious
      5: Lying about the deficit, in claiming that it wouldn’t be a problem if only the rich paid their “fair share”

      And yes, he lied when he said “I do” at his inauguration. No president in history has ever displayed such a complete and utter lack of respect for our constitution. He’s a Marxist, well trained in the Alinsky method and the Cloward Piven strategy. Have you read Alinsky? Or Cloward Piven? If you do, you’ll see that every single act of Obama is exactly according to those plans.

      Socialism has only failed every time it’s been tried Val. Refute that if you can.



      January 18, 2012 at 9:14 PM

  3. Reblogged this on Tri Fecta.


    January 26, 2012 at 8:13 AM

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