I want to second Todd of Ricochet: “Mitt, don’t back down on this.”
The video clip (here) of Romney saying “I like firing people” may look bad when taken out of context—and for once the “taken out of context” cliché has merit. But if you listen to what Romney actually said–well, it’s just commonsense: people who aren’t doing their jobs should be fired.
One of the reasons our public schools are lousy is that it is so difficult to fire bad teachers. Federal workers are almost fireproof. So how is that working out? Do you think it is wrong to stop going to a doctor who is making you sicker? If you hire somebody to clean your house and they leave it looking like Occupy Wall Street, wouldn’t fire them?
It's unfortunate that Romney gave a soundbite that will enable the left unfairly to portray him as heartless.
But I think if Romney will trust the American people to listen he can make the case that firing people is a necessary evil. Being fired can be a personal tragedy or that jolt of reality that helps somebody change. But one thing is certain: if businesses are to succeed, their leaders must have the guts to fire people.
It is symptomatic of the power of the anti-success mentality promoted over the last few years that Romney will be attacked for having been a success. I guess we should have expected the left to go after Romney on this score.
But his fellow conservatives?
It is unfortunate that some of Romney’s supposedly conservative opponents are attacking him for his success with Bain Capital, the investment firm he co-founded. Alana Goodman of Commentary notes that one anti-Bain Capital video put out by a conservative group "echoes so many of the class warfare tropes that have been coming from the Obama administration and Occupy Wall Street recently.”
Of the same video, John Steele Gordon observes:
The video…will be terrific fodder for Obama’s negative ads this summer and fall. Indeed, assuming Mitt Romney? is the Republican nominee, the Obama campaign should just buy the rights to it. Had the technology been available a century ago, it could have been produced by such anti-capitalist muckrakers as Ida Tarbell or Gustavus Myers. It is deeply tendentious and intellectually dishonest (as were Tarbell and Myers, of course) and utterly ignorant (one assumes willfully) of how capitalism actually works.
You might expect the entire conservative movement to rise with one accord against this line of attack. But no. Avik Roy notes:
Various conservative commentators have expressed glee at these criticisms. We might even call it Romney derangement syndrome: conservatives disliking Romney so much that they delight in Republican attacks upon free enterprise.
The general election is going to be about the role of government versus the free market.
It is therefore particularly distressing that some conservatives are aiding and abetting the big government team.