Reuters published a blockbuster story today on GS Technologies, a steel mill in Kansas City that was acquired by Bain Capital, leading to the layoffs of some 750 workers. In this case, the workers lost promised severance pay and health insurance; their pension benefits were slashed. and a federal government insurance agency had to bail out the company’s pension plan — even as Bain raked in millions and millions of dollars in profits.
Now a man who says he worked at the plant for 34 years — a self-described conservative — is speaking out about Romney.
Glen Patrick Wells, who lives in Peculiar, Missouri, agreed to appear in a new MoveOn.org video in order to speak out about what the layoffs did to the surrounding community. He excoriated Romney for his role in the deal. Wells appears in the new video with his friend, Donny Box, who appeared in an earlier MoveOn ad, and Wells is the one in the green cap:
“I spent 34 years in this steel mill,” Wells says in the video. “They walked out of here with millions. They left us with nothing.”
I reached Wells today, and unlike Box, he tells me he’s a conservative, who has switched back and forth from Republican to independent, and says he voted for George W. Bush for president in 2000 and 2004 and John McCain in 2008. (He has also supported Claire McCaskill for Senate.) Yet despite his leanings, he was willing to conspire with MoveOn to produce this video, which is a pretty good preview of the sort of thing you’ll be seeing in ads in struggling Rust Belt communities against Romney, should he become the GOP nominee.
Indeed, Wells says he’s so furious with Romney that he says he’s open to appearing in TV spots against him in order to make the case he makes in the above video — even if it would mean helping Obama.
“Right now, if Romney gets in, I am so disgusted that I will probably vote for Obama and I detest him,” Wells says. “Anyone who is willing to put a predatory capitalist in office deserves to get Obama.”
As I’ve been saying, the battle to define Romney’s Bain years will be epic, as central to the general election as the war over the meaning of John Kerry’s war service was in 2004. And it’s already looking like there will be a cast of the layoff victims themselves who will be willing tell the story.
Indeed, if Dems have their way, these layoff victims will be this year’s version of the Swift Boat Vets — without the mendacity, that is — materializing out of Romney’s past to set the record straight about this central and defining episode in Romney’s life and career.