Seth Mandel highlights a Bloomberg story about Romney’s time as a turnaround artist at Bain Capital. Mandel makes a really smart point that Romney’s career as a businessman has hidden political dangers. Romney made a lot of money by taking over, managing, and then selling off companies. He also supervised a lot of job cuts. I remember the 1994 Massachusetts Senate race where Ted Kennedy used those layoffs to portray Romney as a slick, rich, greedy, job killer. Kennedy made devastating use of comments from laid off workers. Then there was Huckabee’s 2008 jibe that people want a President that reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off. One can already picture an Obama line of attack against Romney in which Romney personifies all those corporations with lots of profits that aren’t hiring workers and Romney himself becomes the symbol of every HR bureaucrat who told someone that they were laid off or that the company wasn’t hiring. Even worse, Romney can be portrayed as that bureaucrat’s boss.
I can imagine a Romney counter-narrative of bringing productivity reforms to government that save money and improve services, but it won’t be easy. Romney had no pithy and convincing comeback to Kennedy back in 1994. He has had a long time to think of one.