The Washington Post

Joe Biden: America is not a corporation

I thought Joe Biden’s speech got off to a slow start. During the sections where Biden attested to the character he saw present in Barack Obama’s decision-making from his vantage point inside the White House, he said too little about what, specifically, that decision-making produced for the American people.

However, he did make a good case on behalf of Obama’s character during his discussion of the auto-bailout, and in the process, he took direct aim at Mitt Romney’s whole rational for running for president:

When I look back on the president's decision, I think of another son of an automobile man — Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit....his dad ran an entire automobile company, American Motors. In spite of that, he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt. I don’t think he's a bad guy. I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I don’t think he understood that saving the automobile worker — saving the industry — what it meant to all of America.

I think he saw it the Bain way. I think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write-offs. Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits. But it’s not the way to lead our country from the highest office.

When things hung in the balance, the president understood this was about a lot more than the automobile industry. This was about restoring America’s pride. He understood in his gut what it would mean to leave a million people without hope or work if he didn’t act.

The Obama campaign has obviously been attacking Romney’s Bain tenure for months, focusing on layoffs and offshoring. But one case that hasn’t been spelled out as clearly as it might have been is that running a corporation doesn’t necessarily have all that much in common with running a country. The Romney campaign's “Mad Men” are apparently reading a huge ad offensive designed to tout his experience and readiness for the presidency, and judging from polls that show Romney either tied with Obama or leading him on the economy, Americans are prepared to accept the premise that his business experience has left him with the skill set necessary to turn around the fortunes of a country. The Obama campaign will need a good rebuttal — one focused on undermining the very premise of Romney’s whole argument, that his corporate experience has prepared him for the presidency.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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