Bill Murchison

Bain Capital makes a fetching target, from the perspective of the Democratic left, because one of its core activities is that of trying to make a profit from the woes of struggling companies. In other words, Bain, besides putting up venture capital, scouts for opportunities to buy companies founded by other people, sometimes making them more profitable, sometimes not.

The "sometimes not" is the unattractive face of profit seeking. The closure of an Indiana steel company that Bain failed, against high odds, to turn around is the theme of recent Obama ads decrying lost jobs and heartlessness. The quest for profit, in other words, can hurt. No voter, as a long line of liberal politicians sees it, deserves to be hurt. All deserve rewards and high old times.

Your government, of course, knows this! It won't stand for failure or "unfairness," the latter term meaning larger gains for a few (the likes of Mitt Romney) than for the great majority (the likes of you and me and Aunt Betty).

The messiness of the generally free marketplace -- its inability to thicken every voter's wallet to the same degree, planting violets in all our backyards -- is the basis of the liberal rap against capitalism. If Romney's offense against humanity were other than investing in the reorganization of laggard companies, he'd still catch it in the neck from the profit skeptics. It would be said he fought unions, underpaid secretaries, cut pensions, all for filthy lucre's sake. Profit's indispensable role in the creation of jobs and wealth for others -- we likely shouldn't count on learning much about that this year -- certainly not from presidential orations. The president has another line of inquiry to pursue: the recklessness and cruelty of moneymaking. "This is what this campaign is going to be about," he promises.

Gee, you reckon?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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