The whole problem with Mitt Romney, it turns out, is that he dared to participate in the American free market before going into politics. At least, that is according to Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and their increasingly wacky, desperate and dwindling band of supporters.
On the eve of this week's New Hampshire primary, Mr. Perry called Mr. Romney a "vulture" for spending years working at a very successful private-equity firm. A company where, Mr. Perry said, Mr. Romney waited for a company "to get sick," and then "looted" it. The Texan said this from South Carolina because he is so dumb there are only about four states left where he is allowed to campaign anymore.
Of course, what a private-equity firm actually does is take over — or find investors to take over — mismanaged or foundering companies and make them profitable again. Yes, this means unprofitable parts of those companies are eliminated, but the ultimate aim is a healthier company, many jobs saved and often many new jobs ultimately created.
You see, Newt and Rick, this is how the private sector works.
But professional politicians of every stripe get a little queasy any time the free market is actually running freely. They would prefer that the government sort all this out, which is how we wind up with members of both parties supporting bailouts and such.
Joining Mr. Perry in the muck of ignorance and dishonesty, Mr. Gingrich demanded that Mr. Romney explain how his company could have profited off the demise of unprofitable companies. His political henchmen are releasing an ad for the benefit of South Carolina voters calling Mr. Romney "more ruthless than Wall Street."
Their contempt and stupidity about America's free market is matched only by the current occupant of the White House, who has never created a single job without public money and never made a cent doing anything other than run his mouth.
Why, in the middle of a Republican primary, as the good people of New Hampshire were heading to the polls, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry would decide to join the rat-infested "Occupy" movement to vilify American free enterprise and those who create the most jobs is truly a mystery to behold.
There is so much to ridicule and distrust about Mitt Romney, but his success as a businessman is far from being one of them. In fact, there are few greater acts of patriotism than to be successful in business, provide valuable services and give people good jobs. And, yes, get paid handsomely for it and pay enormous amounts of taxes.
You see, Newt and Rick, without those taxes, you would have been unemployed for most of your adult life. You might consider showing a touch of respect for the hand that fed you.
Mr. Romney's campaign graciously observed that "having spent nearly half a century in government between them, Speaker Gingrich and Gov. Perry have resorted to desperate attacks on a subject they don't understand. We expect attacks on free enterprise from President Obama and his allies on the left — not from so-called 'fiscal conservatives.' "
Mr. Romney has many failings, but if the only way his Republican challengers can challenge him is to run as anti-business left-wing loonies, then they should just hang it up.
• Charles Hurt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.