We’re smack dab in the middle of the Republican National Convention. Needless to say, I don’t agree with much of anything that is being said on the stage. But what I’m learning from watching coverage is that people have a tendency to view things in very, very different ways. Even when Republicans and Democrats are looking at the same thing, they come away from it with totally different opinions. And while that’s fine there are some things that you just can’t dispute.
Rolling Stone published an account of Mitt Romney’s time as the titular head of Bain & Co., the consulting firm where he first began his career. Romney left Bain Capital, the private equity fund in late 1992 to run a turnaround operation at his previous employer. The company was in serious financial trouble, and if significant actions were not taken, it would have run out cash and ultimately been forced into liquidation. So, here’s a bit of background.
Bain Capital was spun off of Bain & Co. in the early 1980s when the leveraged buyout boom was going strong. By the early 1990s, the partners had sold their equity in the firm off, and saddled the company with tons of toxic debt. Business had started to decline due to the recession in 1991, and Bain & Co. found itself in a downward spiral. During his efforts to revive the company, Romney began restructuring the debt to make it more manageable for the firm to pay off. That effort soon failed, and Romney then demanded even more generous repayment terms from the creditors. The banks refused, and Romney then began pumping even more cash out of the firm in the form of bonuses to management. The banks, terrified that they were not going to see any of their money from a firm that Romney was intentionally stripping of assets, soon relented.
One of the banks Bain & Co. owed money to at the time was under the stewardship of the FDIC. Romney left the bank, and ultimately the FDIC, on the hook for $30.6 million dollars that he just walked away from. The FDIC paid out the amount to the bank. For those of you that are unaware of how the FDIC is funded, it receives its money from banks, which ultimately pass off the costs to you, the consumer.
We’re hearing a lot about self-reliance from these clowns in Tampa. That’s fine. It’s politics. The people watching the convention are voting for Romney anyways. But when President Obama gets up on the state and rebuts the outright falsehoods that are coming from the podium in Florida, the discrepancies are going to come to light, and the facts just don’t align in favor of the Republicans. The same thing is going to happen once the debates take place this coming fall. The fact of the matter is that the media has failed, utterly and totally, when it comes to holding Republicans accountable for their fabrications, lies and distortions of the truth.
To the bases of the respective parties, frankly, it doesn’t matter. You can say whatever you want and get away with it. But presidential elections are fought and won in the center of the political spectrum, and the center of American politics still cares about this thing called the truth.