Terry Paulson

Mitt Romney, fresh from victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, continues to attack President Obama and focus on how he has the business background to..."get America working again." But he can thank the Wall Street Journal, an angry Newt Gingrich, and opposition research for testing the mettle of the man early! Voters are going to find out now whether Mitt Romney has what it takes to defend our messy but essential free enterprise system--a system that both destroys and creates, rewards innovation and allows failure, fires and hires.

Many worried Republicans are attracted to a "nice" business man like Mitt Romney. He helped put a Winter Olympics into the black, worked to fund successful companies like Staples, and has been a successful governor untainted by too much time in Washington. It's hoped this "safe, attractive" candidate can win over independents and send President Obama to a well-deserved retirement.

The desperate anti-capitalist attacks by Gingrich and Perry that criticized Romney's track record at Bain Capital and his out-of-context comments on loving "to be able to fire people" who are not providing good service may be a great gift to Romney. The unfair criticisms and anti-capitalist attacks have damaged the credibility and campaigns of both Gingrich and Perry. It has also given Romney a chance to deal early with an issue that could have derailed his chances late in the campaign.

In the most recent 2010 California governor and senate races, we saw two touted, "safe," well-funded business leaders rise and then fall in the polls. In the final weeks before the November elections, the Democratic candidates, well-funded PACS, and threatened unions did a great job of using Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina's wealth and business record to frighten voters and defeat what Republicans thought were "best bet" candidates.

One verse from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association’s attack ad aimed at undermining "Wall Street Whitman's" campaign for governor provides a good sample:

Since she moved in she’s been the head of eBay,

And in that short time a lot of job’s she’s sent away,

Two out of five eBay jobs are overseas,

Wonder if she’ll outsource all the state employees?“

Meg could've cut costs, lowered the state deficit, and run our state government like a business, but...remember...she's filthy rich, flip flops on issues, and shipped 40% of eBay jobs overseas as a CEO.

Another attractive, accomplished, and well-funded business candidate, Carly Fiorina, was chosen to take on an ineffectual but aggressive incumbent, Senator Barbara Boxer. Again, Senator Boxer took advantage

of Carly’s business successes to frighten California government employees and voters.

Romney can expect the same from Obama. But thankfully, we won't have to wait until the Fall to see if former Gov. Mitt Romney can articulate now why firing, outsourcing, business failures, department consolidations, cutbacks, innovation, strategic risk taking, and the need to update skills have always ignited America's vibrant economy. Governments don't create jobs without taking money from taxpayers. That tax money could be used in the private sector to invest in new businesses, buy needed equipment, hire employees or purchase services or products. It isn't safe. It's messy. But when companies and workers reinvent themselves, it means economic growth and jobs!

In no way is Mitt Romney the wealthy predatory Wall Street capitalist that critics have painted him out to be, but that won't stop the Obama Administration from attempting to do so in the pivotal final days of the election. President Obama's record is abysmal. Bain Capital has many successes to tout, but President Obama's investment company, the U.S. federal treasury, has wasted trillions on a floundering Fannie and Freddie, Solyndra, and other losers "too big to fail." The President's only chance of reelection is to destroy any candidate he faces. Instead of a last-minute defense, Mitt Romney will now have the time to make his case to Americans with facts and examples about how free enterprise works.

Mitt Romney gets criticism from the right, but he is also easy for liberals to hate. He's at the top of the 1% that the occupiers rail against, that politically correct Hollywood producers make hated antagonists, and that many Americans are ready to tax to the hilt so they don't have to pay for their own government benefits.

We will see whether Mitt Romney can find his voice and truly take a stand for freedom, capitalism, and the messy but inspiring American Dream? Will he distance himself from the outsourcing and layoffs he helped foster or explain why they are sometimes necessary where regulations, taxes and litigation make it too expensive to run some companies profitably? Thankfully, voters will find out now, and not in October.


Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

 
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