- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Republicans enjoyed watching President Obama get shredded by fellow Democrats last week for his campaign’s attacks on capitalism. The criticism came as Mr. Obama’s allies distanced themselves from advertisements that bashed free enterprise and distorted the record of Bain Capital, the firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This has made Mr. Romney’s business record a central issue in this year’s election. It’s solid ground for the GOP.

“Government sees small business and big business as the enemy. We’re not the enemy,” Mr. Romney told supporters in Colorado on Tuesday. “An economy is nothing but the collection of all of our businesses together. I want our government to support small business, middle-size business, big business. I want jobs. I want government that’s an ally of business, not an enemy of business.”

The former Massachusetts governor is striking at Mr. Obama’s Achilles heel: his inability to understand that business success leads to more jobs. It’s something nearly every American gets, aside from those sleeping in “Occupy” tents. As a professional politician and former community organizer, Mr. Obama has little firsthand knowledge of how the marketplace actually works - and it shows.

The president’s attempt to stimulate the economy with taxpayer dollars was never going to create jobs. He has increased regulation and taxes on businesses, resulting in a slowed economy and an official unemployment rate stuck over 8 percent, which doesn’t count those who have given up looking.

Echoing this message, the GOP-affiliated super PAC Crossroads released a new ad on Tuesday called “Public Equity President,” which is a play on words from Mr. Obama’s attack on Mr. Romney’s private equity company. The video shows an image of the president in the midst of busy stock traders on Wall Street, then lists all the failed investments he has made with taxpayers’ money.

The ad says the automobile bailout resulted in closing dealerships and the loss of 100,000 American jobs. It points to the Obama administration’s loans to Solyndra, which cost taxpayers $500 million. It notes that this was just one of 11 so-called green energy companies that got billions in tax dollars before going bankrupt. “Failed investment strategies, jobs eliminated, billions lost,” the narrator intones at the end of the video. “Public equity President Obama playing Wall Street games with our money.”

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign keeps pushing the anti-capitalist message. Campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt derided Mr. Romney as a “corporate buyout specialist” who “profited off of bankrupting companies and outsourcing.” The press release Tuesday provides links to seven news articles under the headline: “Under Romney, Bain Capital was focused on generating wealth, not expanding employment.”

The Democrats’ attacks haven’t convinced the American public that business is evil. In a recent Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of likely voters said they trust Mr. Romney more than Mr. Obama when it comes to the economy. Only 39 percent trust the president more. With the economy in the miserable shape it’s in today, the Oval Office needs someone who understands that capitalism is the cornerstone of a free and prosperous society.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

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