UPDATE: The fisking and fact-checking of the following video has been so thorough and convincing that I have no choice but to withdraw my recommendation that anyone watch it, except perhaps as an example of how not to make a political documntary. Far from being merely inaccurate in some details, it appears that the producers, representing a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, deliberately set out to misrepresent the facts and mislead viewers. The exposure of their mendacity is no doubt providing great comfort to those who think Romney’s brand of Darwinian finance capitalism is wonderful, regardless of the human cost. But that’s no reason not to admit that this particular piece of propaganda is beyond the pale. For a more truthful examination of Mitt Romney’s years at Bain, I recommend the following stories in these publications: The New York Post, The New York Times, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe
In a recent post, Morning’s Minion referred to GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney as a “corporate ghoul.” Mirriam-Webster defines a ghoul as “a being that robs graves and feeds on corpses.” Considering Romney’s role as a corporate raider who filled the bottomless belly of his bank balance with the muscle and sinew of American companies, it was an apt metaphor, as the following video demonstrates. Titled “King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” the thirty-minute documentary was released three days ago by a PAC supporting Newt Gingrich for president. I know, I know. I’ll have a word about the source in a moment. But first, some thoughts on the video itself.
“When Mitt Romney Came to Town” examines the effects of Bain Capital’s takover of four heartland American companies, as told first-hand by former workers at those now-defunct firms. Through them we see the real effects of the “creative destruction” wrought by finance capitalism à la Romney: the loss of jobs, homes, hope, and dignity; the often insurmountable stress inflicted on families; and the sundering of community ties, all for the sake of rates of return that in context can only be described as indecent. The video also demonstrates the clinical detachment of Romney, corporate ghoul, as he explains that, yes, people get hurt, but that it’s a necessary, even a good thing.
As a piece of political agitprop, “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” is devastating, and some Adorers of the Precious Market (Discalced) are in high dudgeon at Gingrich and his allies for even releasing the film. They suggest it could ultimately help President Obama’s re-election campaign, and they may be right. There is no doubt that “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” is a cynical ploy by Gingrich to grasp the mantle of “friend of the working man,” and there is not a shred of evidence that a Gingrich Administration would do anything but enable and extend the practices that made Mitt Romney and his foreign investors wealthy. But even liars are capable of telling the truth when it suits them, and in “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” Newt Gingrich and company have told a truth about Bain and Romney.
As you watch this, think about the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching: the life and dignity of the human person; the call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities; the option for the poor and vulnerable; the dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and the care of God’s creation. Ask yourself, does anything about “the Bain Way” align with the way marked out by the Church? Reflect on the words of Benedict XVI – “Man must be at the center of the economy, and the economy cannot be measured only by maximization of profit but rather according to the common good” – and wonder how it is that any Catholic can in good conscience vote for Mitt Romney, corporate ghoul.