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Bringing up Romney’s Bain problem is not “socialist”

Bringing up Romney’s Bain problem is not “socialist”

Charles Krauthammer said Newt Gingrich was speaking like a “socialist” because Newt, responding to Mitt Romney’s demand that Newt give back the consulting money he earned from Freddie Mac, said that he’d consider it if Romney gave back the money he earned from bankrupting companies and laying off workers.

George Will calls it a “capital crime,” and an attack on capitalism.  Wrong.

While Gingrich’s comments were ill-advised on a number of levels, it was not an attack on capitalism or socialist to criticize certain types of predatory takeover practices which were epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s.

What we saw then, in a number of cases, were not true turn-around situations, but  stripping companies of assets both explicitly and through extraordinary management fees, leaving a shell of a company and unemployed workers. It may not have been illegal, but it certainly was not something to praise.

I don’t know if Bain under Mitt Romney’s tutelage engaged in such practices.  Certainly many people have made the case that it did, and it was used to great effect against Romney in his loss to Ted Kennedy.

A Boston Glove article in 2007, reprinted here, made the case regarding the takeover of Ampad:

In 1992, Bain Capital acquired American Pad & Paper, or Ampad, from Mead Corp., embarking on a ”roll-up strategy” in which a firm buys up similar companies in the same industry in order to expand revenues and cut costs.

Through Ampad, Bain bought several other office supply makers, borrowing heavily each time. By 1999, Ampad’s debt reached nearly $400 million, up from $11 million in 1993, according to government filings.

Sales grew, too – for a while. But by the late 1990s, foreign competition and increased buying power by superstores like Bain-funded Staples sliced Ampad’s revenues.

The result: Ampad couldn’t pay its debts and plunged into bankruptcy. Workers lost jobs and stockholders were left with worthless shares.

Bain Capital, however, made money – and lots of it. The firm put just $5 million into the deal, but realized big returns in short order. In 1995, several months after shuttering a plant in Indiana and firing roughly 200 workers, Bain Capital borrowed more money to have Ampad buy yet another company, and pay Bain and its investors more than $60 million – in addition to fees for arranging the deal.

Bain Capital took millions more out of Ampad by charging it $2 million a year in management fees, plus additional fees for each Ampad acquisition. In 1995 alone, Ampad paid Bain at least $7 million. The next year, when Ampad began selling shares on public stock exchanges, Bain Capital grabbed another $2 million fee for arranging the initial public offering – on top of the $45 million to $50 million Bain reaped by selling some of its shares.

Bain Capital didn’t escape Ampad’s eventual bankruptcy unscathed. It held about one-third of Ampad’s shares, which became worthless. But while as many as 185 workers near Buffalo lost jobs in a 1999 plant closing, Bain Capital and its investors ultimately made more than $100 million on the deal.

Again, nothing illegal, but certainly fair game in evaluating Romney’s claim to business acumen and ability to turn around the economy and create jobs.  And bringing it up was no worse than Romney demanding that Gingrich return money he lawfully earned for consulting Freddie.

Don’t think shutting Republican candidates up about it is going to make the problem go away.  You can be sure that Obama researchers have spent months if not years digging into old Bain deals and digging up similar instances:

Romney’s opponents in both parties have already begun preparing files on his Bain years, raising the prospect that a drip-drip of opposition research could  sap Romney over the course of a long campaign.

“The Romney people are going  to have to say he helped the economy and Bain Capital invested in startups and  created jobs. He’s going to want to talk about Staples,” said former Mike  Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman. “His opponents are going to want to  talk about the ones where he came in and bought everything and sold everything.”

Romney is going to have to deal with his Bain history.  Criticizing any predatory practices — if they took place — is not talking like a socialist.

How bad the Bain problem will be if Romney is the nominee against Obama remains to be seen.  It is another of Romney’s “known unknowns.”  Better we find out now.

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Comments

Newt’s remark was a comeback, and not an unsolicited attack. Romney more than deserved it, he invited it. Charles Krauthammer’s failure to acknowledge this context is disappointing.

You point out that Ted Kennedy and the Boston Globe leveled the same line of attack against Romney, but isn’t that the problem here? Newt pretty clearly endorsed the Kennedy-Globe caricature of Mitt as a mustache-twirling robber baron out to get rich on the backs of helpless workers. For a guy (Newt) who supposedly isn’t running a negative campaign, that’s rather a large bone to toss to the democrats.

Oh no, you shouldn’t be making sense of a comment – it goes against the “Newts bad” narrative the Establishment is pushing

Oh, and Conrad, did you miss the part where Huc’s man said “Romney’s opponents in both parties have already begun preparing files on his Bain years

This isn’t a solely Left issue; and it especially isn’t a Left issue solely because Kennedy brought it up…

    It may not be a “Left issue” per se, but I think Newt was feeding into the essentially leftist perception that capitalists are the enemy of the little guy. Perhaps I could understand if Newt had sought to distinguish between what Romney did at Bain and what bankers and venture capitalists do every day. Instead, Newt seemingly disparaged the entire industry on the basis that some people lost their jobs as a result of Bain’s corporate salvage operations.

    By way of analogy, suppose we had a candidate who had been an executive with a gun manufacturer, and another GOP candidate said, “Perhaps my opponent should consider giving back some of the salary he earned by making guns that killed people across America.” Now, you could defend the candidate who said that by pointing out that Obama and the Dems would have made the exact same point, but it doesn’t make the attack any less demagogic.

The term used at the time for what Romney did at Bain was “corporate raider”, wherein corporation(s) would be bought out, reorganized, payroll and other liabilities trimmed, and resold on prospective at a profit.

I make no judgment as to the morality of the practice, but it is legal and reflective of the necessarily Darwinian aspects of the free market and capitalism.

The era of “corporate raiders” consolidated a lot of good companies into monoliths. A company that accumulated too many assets was ripe for hostile takeover, and a resulting strip down of assets. Some even attempted to insert “poison pills” to defend against these raiders (like Romney?). Movies are made about small companies fighting against companies like Bain, and they make Romney the villain.

Another “non-capitalist” aspect of the corporate raiders … when one large company buys out the competition … you have less free trade. Consolidation can bring efficiency, but can also reduce “free market capitalism” and give us “corporate capitalism”.

Indeed the research “Team Obama” has done, should be done by “Team Conservative”. It doesn’t seem the “Republican Establishment” will be doing that unbiased research on Romney.

I don’t think either comment is out of line, but I also think both are unproductive at best. There is a big difference between making a buttload of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are quasi-governmental agencies, taxpayer funded, responsible for aiding in the near collapse of the entire financial system, and buying distressed companies and profiting from their closing. Just saying… I like Newt, but these are apples and oranges. As to being “socialist,” it’s not really… but it did seem like a dig a Mitt for being a capitalist class-war profiteer pig, and the Boston “Glove” ( 🙂 sorry prof, gotta point it out!) will see it as such.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to ntamulis. | December 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I don’t know about Bain’s specific deals, but often these deals were driven by tax considerations, which means the taxpayer was paying.

      I am confused with this comment. Is taking advantage of tax policy not capitalist? If most of these deals were for taking advantage of tax shields was a great wrong committed? It might show him as a shallow business talent and weak leader. Who and how are we going to make those judgments with regards to Romney’s career? What if the tax shields boost the profit, but the deal was primarily for technology or strategic reasons? When is a deal a good one or bad one for the taxpayers?

      Um, professor, you’re digging a deeper hole. Every business is run with am eye on tax considerations, as is every business transaction — mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, etc.

      A major factor in EVERY merger, acquisition or other transaction is who has to pay what taxes. Swaps of shares and/or cash payments and/or assumptions of debt or issuance of new debt are structured to achieve the most favorable tax consequences.

      This is a fundamental issue for free market conservatism, which strives for an ideal of the minimum necessary taxes through the simplest system.

      Anyway, you’re just speculating about Bain deals. Why do that when you have no idea? Kind of unfair innuendo, is it not?

      And let’s be absolutely clear: “the taxpayer is paying” is what liberals say about businesses minimizing their taxes. They routinely use the “tax expenditure” line to describe the absense of a higher tax they want to impose on business or “rich people.” Conservatives see “tax expenditures” as allowing people to keep their own money.

    dorsaighost in reply to ntamulis. | December 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Fannie and Freddie were not tax-payer funded until 2008-2009 timeframe …. when Newt did business with them they were private …

      Fannie and Freddie can never have been considered private. While other companies did get bailed out, they never had the implicit guarantee that these two had. They are called GSE’s for a reason.

No one is asking how many American jobs Romney created at Bain, and how many jobs were low-paying third world jobs. Several years ago he said he created about 10,000 jobs. At least 1700 of them were third world jobs. No one is also asking how many American jobs were lost because of the take-over policies.

SJR
The Pink Flamingo

The LA Times has an interesting piece on Bain Capital at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/03/nation/la-na-romney-bain-20111204. The 1990 photo of Romney looks like MAD MEN’s Don Draper. I appreciate that Prof. Jacobson calls Newt’s retort on Romney “ill-advised on a number of levels” but this blog’s recent headlining sure looks like a Gingrich apologist operation. That being said, it is striking that a former aide, Tony Blankley, has a supportive piece on Newt’s speakership years at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/12/newts-past-and-future-leadership/. Jonah Goldberg and Eeyore VDH capture my Newt angst quite well at http://tinyurl.com/newtzil and http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/285663/gingrich-gamble-victor-davis-hanson. My concern is that Clinton and his allies in the press outmaneuvered Newt in the 90’s — will he bring better skills and greater discipline to a general election and to the White House?

Corporate raiding is a form of non-productive investing that in the 80s put a number of viable on-going companies out of business, and hundreds of thousands of people out of work. Targeted companies were not necessarily failing or even being non-competitive in their industries. In some cases, all that was needed was for a cash-rich group to locate a company whose stock was trading for less than the current book value of long-held assets (such as real estate), and rip the company apart in order to sell off and profit from those assets. Not infrequently, the profits reaped by the raiding individuals did not go back into productive investments, but resulted only in the amassing of personal fortunes that were re-invested elsewhere, and not necessarily in the United States.

    janitor in reply to janitor. | December 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Just noticed I misstated this earlier. I meant “fair market value” of long-held assets being carried at a low book value. Sorry.

Earth to Jacobson: Bain is a poster child for how businesses operate in a free enterprise economy.

You have either been working exclusively in academe too long, professor, or you have lost all sense of what matters most as you do contortions to promote Gingrich.

Joining Teddy in bashing Bain for throwing people out of work may not be “socialism” but it sure does reflect some level of animus toward the system of marshalling private capital to pursue opportunities that carry risks.

If you were to examine closely the records of private equity investment firms — like Kolbert Kravis — who were excoriated as “corporate raiders” in the 80s and 90s by the media and the Democrats you love to blast (not to mention Oliver Stone), you would find a long trail, not of bankrupcies but of revitalized or new companies adding wealth and jobs to a growing economy.

However, Bain has never been the sort of investor that focuses exclusively on “turnarounds” of “troubled companies” which created so much fodder for the ant-business press. Bain invests in a wide variety of firms, marshalling both equity capital and credit to grow their businesses, increase profitability and generate a return for Bain and the investors it entices to put their money on the line. It also has a venture capital business that injects capital into a wide variety of start-ups in a half dozen or more industries — all investments that on their face are high risk, ensuring that some will fail.

Like Teddy and the liberal crusaders at the Boston Globe, you seem to find it unseemly that Bain charges companies in which it invests fees. This, professor, is called pay for work performed which is distinguishable from profits distributed to or capital gains made by investor-owners. The latter flow to all passive investors in every business enterprise. The former — pay through fees — flows to a private equity firm like Bain because Bain people spend long hours every day working at running the companies in their portfolios, arranging financial transactions for them (mergers, acquisitions, new credit lines, IPOs), etc. This is their job — and whether or not the companies in their portfolios ever earn them a nickel in profit or gains, they deserve payment as much as managers on a company payroll or consultants hired by General Motors.

Not every company succeeds buf Bain’s overall record both when Romney was there and since is one of the best in the world, making Bain one of America’s leading private investment firms. It’s not just Staples but some 250 companies, plus dozens of new startups, that owe their success to Bain.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to JEBurke. | December 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Sorry to see that you have gone off the deep end in reacting to what is and will be a legitimate question. Just as Romney is harping on Newt’s perfectly legal consulting on the ground that it was legal but not proper, so too there are fair questions as to whether the Bain deals were legal but not proper. These are value judgments Romney is asking people to make of Newt, but apparently, not value judgments you are willing to be asked of Romney. This is exactly what I have meant when I have pointed out for weeks that Romney is not being fully vetted. And it is even worse in Romney’s case because while Newt never claimed his Freddie consulting as a key aspect of his qualification, Romney relies on his Bain days as the centerpiece of his argument why we should select him. If bringing up Bain, which is the sum and substance of Romney’s business experience, is not done in the primaries, it certainly will be done in the general election. I hope Romney has good answers as relates to Bain deals, but I’m not going to stick my head in the sand along with you.

      Who is off what deep end when you can claim to be a free market conservative, yet write this in your post to try to insinuate something “improper” (your word) about Bain and give credence to Teddy Kennedy’s campaign malarky:

      “While Gingrich’s comments were ill-advised on a number of levels, it was not an attack on capitalism or socialist to criticize certain types of predatory takeover practices which were epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s.”

      Predatory takeover practices, says who? Oliver Stone? Time Magazine? The NYT? Liberal Democrat politicians?

      Who characterized leveraged buyouts by non-insider activist shareholders as predatory and called it “corporate raiding?” Established corporate managements and their media pals along with those who regarded it as an outrageous display of capitalist greed by Boone Pickens, Carl Icahn, Ronald Perelman and many others, that’s who.

      What made it “corporate raiding?” And what was involved? You can see what in the biggest deal of the era, the hostile takeover of RJRNabisco by investors engineered by the private equity firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKK). RJR was a huge conglomerate whose shareholders were convinced that the stock price was deeply undervalued due to sluggish performance. The company’s management tried to engineer a management buyout with backing from various investors and creditors, bidding to purchase shares from existing holders, KKK put together its own investment and creditor group and made shareholders an alternative offer — a “hostile” bid by a “raider” solely because it came from someone not invited by management to bid. That is the definition.

      Ultimately, shareholders decided to accept KKK’s bid even though it offered LESS per share than the management group because KKK was deemed to be more reliable and capable.

      KKK people spent most of their time and effort for years after winning this contest on reorganizing and strengthening RJR, selling some divisions and brands, buying others. Eventually, they exited ownership and left behind a strong, prosperous company.

      For their trouble, Henry Kravis and others became targets of years of nasty attacks in the liberal media, although by the late 90s, there had been a noteworthy culture shift and many of the former “predatory raiders” like Icahn began to get positive treatment.

      Underlying the “raider” phenomenon of the 80s and early 90s was a possibly unique set of circumstances — the maturing of a number of big mostly industrial companies, lush with assets often acquired in competitive acquisition sprees, which had become stultified and simply were not delivering reasonable returns on equity for their shareholders, combined with a surfeit of capital in need of investment opportunities. Buyout firms were just what the free market ordered — so it is not surprising that they popped up ready to do the job. In a few high-profile cases, buyout specialists engaged in shady practices, but most were on the up and up — “proper” as well as legal.

      In any case, to the best of my knowledge, Bain did not specialize in hostile takeovers. Most private equity firms work with managements, not to oust them, even in turnaround situations.

    dorsaighost in reply to JEBurke. | December 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Oh please. Bain is and was a niche financial services corporation. Their business parctices can hardly be applied to any business in a free market economy.

Newt’s Bain remarks were a defensive reflex against questions about his hefty fee for “consulting” work for Freddie Mac as a “historian”, which, until it is thoroughly explained, sounds like pure steer compost. It was legitimate for Romney to continue down the path of wondering aloud if Gingrich was part of the Fannie/Freddie problem or the solution, and a retort that sounds so much like Obamaian “Hate the rich guy!” rhetoric is unbecoming of Newt — that is, unless he’s willing to accept the consequences of slapping Mitt from the left because his Freddie work looks more and more improper the closer you examine it.

    dorsaighost in reply to L.N. Smithee. | December 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    So Romney was “just asking questions” ? Ok then he should be prepared for folks to “just ask him questions” about Bain …

      L.N. Smithee in reply to dorsaighost. | December 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      Romney’s going to get the questions about Bain one way or the other. But there is no parallel of Romney’s part at Bain with Gingrich getting paid handsomely for what is (until contradictory evidence is provided) make-do work for an ineffective, poorly-managed corporation.

Krauthammer is way off base here and is making a mountain out of a molehill. Gingrich was not criticizing capitalism nor was he criticizing the way Romney earned money. He was saying that he EARNED the money he got from Freddie Mac just as much as Romney earned the money he made for Bain. Suggesting Gingrich give back what he earned makes no more sense than suggesting Romney give back the money he earned.

Gingrich’s comments may have been ill-advised and were not crystal clear, but people are going out of their way to misinterpret them when the meaning is not that difficult to discern.

    Conrad in reply to JayDick. | December 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I thought I read today (George Will?) that Gingrich “earned” $30,000 an hour working for Fannie Mae. That seems like a lot of money for a historian. Given what we know about Fannie Mae, it looks to me like they were paying him all that money as part of an effort to have a prominent republican or two on the payroll to provide a bit of cover for all the democrats they were in the continual process of making rich.

    In any case, if Newt simply wanted to make the point that the money he earned from FNMA was 100% legit, then he didn’t have to impugn Romney’s work at Bain. He could have simply said, “If I’m expected to give back the money I earned from Fannie Mae, then Mitt should give back the money he earned from Bain Capital.” Instead, somehow Newt’s defense of his Fannie Mae income required pointing out the Bain supposedly made its money by killing American jobs. Of course, whatever Bain was up to has nothing to do with Fannie Mae, so the attack looks evasive at best. At worst, it sounds like Newt was arguing two wrongs make a right.

As Prof J’ pointed out, Mitt’s private sector bona fides are the center piece of his candidacy. So did he really create thousands of jobs, or did he forcefully interject his consulting fees into businesses that were job creators in their own right?

I don’t know … but his time of buying companies and turning a profit was from 1984 to 1999, coincidentally the greatest bull market in history. Anyone investing in the market in that period made money. I’m not sure how much leverage or debt Mitt used, but the irrational exuberance of the bubble markets suggests more that Mitt’s timing was right, not that he was exceptionally competent. Playing with margin is brilliant in an up market … then you get bankrupted when the music stops.

Compare it to the housing market … anyone buying and flipping and leveraging homes made a killing .. and now we are paying the price for that bubble economy.

    Bain is and was a private equity investment firm. Its principal business consists of gathering together partners with money to invest and directing that equity capital to companies that typically need it but have difficulty attracting it. By taking a major, usually controlling share in such a company, Bain is able to lend its own expertise to strenghtening the company so as to generate an attractive return on equity to investors, including Bain.

    Private equity firms can do this successfully in times of growth or recession and irrespective of what may or may not be happening in equity markets generally (bubbles or whatever). The reason is that they focus on investing in and improving individual companies’ performance over time, not on buying and selling stocks.

      Midwest Rhino in reply to JEBurke. | December 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Private equity firms can do this successfully in times of growth or recession and irrespective of what may or may not be happening in equity markets generally (bubbles or whatever).”

      I suppose, and one would have to look at the actual transactions. The article someone linked indicates he had mixed success.

      Certainly it is easier to succeed in a takeover/makeover in a strong economy with a bullish stock market, where money is flowing freely and interest rates are held artificially low. There’s a reason the environment was ripe for hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts.

      Maybe I’m missing something, but they forced a lot of charges for their services on companies, even as some went bankrupt. Romney claimed in the article, that he regretted that. The easy money of the era is how we got in trouble, and Greenspan kept the punch bowl at full.

      I don’t see why you think a “private equity firm” is separate from economic conditions. Jobs were created then, largely because of deficit spending and increasing debt … which is why jobs are NOT being created much now. Or is their some “private equity firm” that is booming in these more recessionary times?

        Of course there are private equity firms doing well in today’s recessionary times, including as far as I know, Bain. Some specialize in turnarounds; some tout expertise in a particular industry; some focus on startup ventures.

        At the level of the individual firm or company — a microeconomy — there are always those pursuing opportunities, regardless of macroeconomic conditions. After all, how does a recession bottom out and a rebound start? By the accumulation of individual decisions to invest — a process in which private equity firms are always eager to participate.

        To be sure, in boom times, there are more opportunities for such firms because investors and creditors are easier to attract and assemble. But that hardly means they close up in a downturn or necessarily succeed in a boom. Their success is largely a matter of reputation — investors and lenders will partner with Bain because they are confident of Bain’s ability to pick good prospects and produce returns.

          Midwest Rhino in reply to JEBurke. | December 14, 2011 at 11:44 pm

          To be sure, in boom times, there are more opportunities for such firms because investors and creditors are easier to attract and assemble.

          well yeah, that is what I mean. Not only was it easier to borrow and succeed, but there was a lot of money thrown at them to invest. And I’d bet they are not creating many jobs these days … a lot of corporate profits involve cutting back, as I understand it. But of course Bain would make big money in fees, for saying “cut cut cut”.

      Midwest Rhino in reply to JEBurke. | December 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      I guess I should clarify … increasing debt and deficit spending is continuing at a faster pace …. a trillion a year. It has progressed so far that we are in the danger zone … as Obama said of Bush’s deficits … irresponsible and unpatriotic. For a couple decades the easy money juiced the markets … no more.

Speaking of name-calling, this is the same Krauthammer who instructed Sarah Palin to leave the room when he began his lecture and discussion with the big boys to talk about the real health care issues. Calling Newt a socialist is just another part of CK’s imperious urge to wield his royal scepter. Thanks, Professor Jacobson for showing the temerity to challenge these pronouncements.

Romney is going to have to defend his career at Bain Capital. At least he can make the case he was a capitalist, ruthless or otherwise.

How is Newt going to defend his FDR fetish?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgdzZJePL04

I’m sorry, this was a total loser for Newt any way you slice it. Even if we suppose that Bain was predatory in nature, it still can’t compare to the Freddie/Fannie fiasco.

Moving beyond the substance, Newt’s answer did sound like something from a OWSer.

This is why Newt won’t win the primary – there will be plenty more of these “mouth moments” to come.

I don’t see anything wrong with the comment. If you are saying you know how to create jobs, but your job was to fire masses of employees and strip the companies of its capital in the name of capitalism, that is a fair criticism. It may be that after the 1990s Ted Kennedy loss, Romney modified Bain’s practices to insulate himself from further attack on this level, as he is wont to do.

How is Newt going to defend his FDR fetish?

I think by looking at his comments as coming from the academic historian’s perspective, rather than from personal values or political beliefs. Consider Santorum’s comments at the last debate, in which he credited Gingrich as his mentor for political conservatism.

It would be difficult to dispute that FDR was a masterful politician, that he successfully moved his agendas, that he established an enduring legacy, that he considered the U.S. to be a great country, and that he changed the direction of the federal government. Recognizing these personal and political abilities and achievements does not, I think, mean an endorsement of his policies in the retrospection of 20-20 hindsight. One could also call Mao Zedong the greatest 20th century leader of China, while still detesting communism and the misery wrought by many of his policies.

    I understand what you’re saying. But Newt talks long and often. There are tons of such clips. Here’s one in which Newt talks about FDR and Wilson:

    http://youtu.be/T76lD4zV1bo

    In it Newt says: “The Four Freedoms [of FDR] still work.”

    FDR’s Four Freedoms include the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. These freedoms are the foundation of the American welfare state.

    My point is Newt has a lot of ‘splaining to do to conservative voters. How long will it be before Newt’s explanations of his apparent infidelities begin to sound as improbable as Herman Cain’s?

      The Four Freedoms are:

      1.Freedom of speech and expression
      2.Freedom of worship
      3.Freedom from want
      4.Freedom from fear

      I understand that you might disagree strongly, as might I, with liberals about how to achieve these goals and what would best accomplish them (not big brother government). But would you say that “freedom from want” (“want” meaning the misery of hunger, poverty and the like — not “desire”) is a bad thing? It is what best would be provided, e.g. by a booming economy and opportunity. It does not have to mean that we also buy the means that we get there with a welfare state.

      Similarly, a strong military, representative government, and the rule of law gives us freedom from tyranny as well as worry that any day, regime change means the government can take our property — or our lives (examples of real fears faced by those in other countries and very much on people’s minds in WWII regarding Europe).

        Well, I like your interpretation. However, freedom from want is almost universally understood as the responsibility of government, and freedom from fear as world disarmament.

        FDR’s actions in office and his general philosophy of government give credence to such an understanding. Why try to paper over the obvious?

Newt needs to explain it all .. and give us a “contract with conservatives” on what he will stand for as president.

Put specifics in writing Newt … be as wordy as you need to be … web pages are cheap. (Same for you Mitt)

In that he’s approaching the 50% benchmark in the polls, I’d say Gingrich doesn’t have to his FDR remarks. Most of his GOP opposition is entrenched, will refuse any explanation, and simply move on to some other complaint about Gingrich. This is pure Politics 101 – keep your opponent always on the defensive. It’s the same gambit used against outsiders Palin and Cain.

“…doesn’t have to EXPLAIN his FDR remarks.”

*sigh*

[…] Interesting…. is it Ampad or Armpit???  It smells the same. […]

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