In a weird ideological twist, the stretch run of the New Hampshire Republican primary has been dominated by searing attacks on capitalism that would seem right at home in a contemporary Occupy encampment or, perhaps, in the long-ago Socialist presidential campaigns of Eugene V. Debs.
Desperate to knock frontrunner Mitt Romney from his high horse, GOP opponents have gone after his former career as chief executive of corporate raider Bain Capital, focusing on mass layoffs at some of the companies the investment firm purchased, stripped and flipped or reorganized over the years.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was demolished in Iowa by attack ads from a pro-Romney independent “super PAC,” has led the charge. He portrays Romney as an economic grim reaper who destroyed communities and lives.
“If somebody’s going to crumble, they better crumble before the nomination,” said Gingrich, who accused Romney of “looting” firms.“Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money?” Gingrich added.
Other rivals have joined in to one degree or another. To say the least it was strange thread of discussion for the GOP, which has historically celebrated the accumulation of wealth – and the jobs and prosperity capitalism has spread across U.S. society.
Some leading Republicans, even those who don’t particularly like Romney for one or another reason, have urged the candidates to tone it down. It’s not helpful, they say, to echo what President Obama’s reelection team has already signaled will be a main attack line. Class warfare is the Democrats’ game!
Still, a Gingrich-supporting super PAC called Winning Our Future, is out with a 28-minute documentary When Mitt Romney Came to Town about Bain-caused devastation. The PAC, legal separate from the former speaker’s campaign, says it plans to spend $3.4 million airing parts of it (and other attacks) in South Carolina, site of the next primary. (Is there even $3.4 million worth of air time still available in the Palmetto State over the next week?)
Here is the trailer for Winning Our Future’s Mitt-centric horror flick: