After I raided my memory of the 2012 primary for that previous post about Bain, I consulted an expert. Rick Tyler was Newt Gingrich’s spokesman for years, quitting his inner circle only in the summer of 2011, when the candidate lost most of his staff. Some castoffs went on to the Rick Perry campaign. Tyler stayed loyal, becoming the force behind the Winning Our Future Super PAC. Sheldon Adelson funneled money into the organization; its most memorable campaign started with a movie about Romney and Bain.
“The movie was accurate,” Tyler wrote in an e-mail. “No one has credibly disputed any of its claims.”
The backfire came when it was claimed that our position was anti-capitalist and anti-free-enterprise. That claim was not true. You can dispute Romney’s claim as a job creator without being an anti-capitalist or even an anti-venture-capitalist.
There is much that is not widely understood about Romney at Bain. Winning our Future SuperPAC actually ran very few ads were about Bain Capital. The vast majority was earned media.
The conventional argument is still a binary of capitalist [vs.] anti-capitalist. That’s where Romney was successful during the primary and we were not. Romney hopes to keep the binary intact. However, fully understood, there is much that could be (and probably will be) exploited.
My point is that the Bain movie/issue did not “backfire” and I believe that it could still be toxic.