Political Animal


January 07, 2012 10:05 AM Romney haunted by his victims, cont’d

By Steve Benen

We talked yesterday about Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital and the millions it made while crushing a Missouri steel company called GS Technologies. Reuters called the fiasco the “steel skeleton in the Bain closet.”

MoveOn.org has a new video highlighting some of Romney’s victims. One is Donny Box, whom we met on Thursday, and the other is Glen Patrick Wells, who spent a generation at the Kansas City steel mill Romney helped shut down.

“I spent 34 years in this steel mill,” Wells tells viewers. “They walked out of here with millions. They left us with nothing.”

What’s especially noteworthy about Wells is his political background. Greg Sargent talked to him yesterday and found that Wells is a self-identified conservative who voted for Bush and McCain. He’s so disgusted with Romney, though, that he’s willing to work with MoveOn.org.

Greg raised a related point that’s worth watching in the coming months.

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.

Quite right. It’s one thing to hear in the abstract about the mass layoffs Romney is responsible for, it’s something else to see these individuals, hear their stories, and consider their personal consequences after the Republican “job creator” entered their lives.

It’s not just two or three people, either. There’s a long list of Romney victims who will likely be eager to tell voters that if Romney does for America what he did for GS Technologies and companies like it, we’re all in a lot of trouble.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Neder on January 07, 2012 10:21 AM:

    This is good. But I think it would be more relevant yet to show what an ineffectual and unliked governor he was.

  • majun on January 07, 2012 10:28 AM:

    The problem is, for most Americans, including many blue collar workers today, labor is a commodity that is bought and sold on the open market. It is not people with stories to tell. This is what the systematic dismantling of organized labor and the steady drumbeat of right wing media over the past thirty years or so has led us to. Maybe showing the stories of the people that have been brutalized by that system will resonate, but I am not certain. Too many people will shrug and say that the system didn't owe them anything beyond a paycheck when they worked. We, as a nation, have become convinced that that is the way it ought to be.

  • BetweenTheLines on January 07, 2012 10:30 AM:

    The problem is there are tens of millions of Glen Patrick Wells's out here in America, but until they are personally affected by a Republican (and affected hard), they pull that R every time anyway.

  • Trish Ramey on January 07, 2012 10:36 AM:

    Meanwhile, back in Massachusetts, Romney's home state, Elizabeth Warren is running for US Senator. I recommend this video to you, to explain why she has come in and is now leading against Republican incumbent Scott Brown.


    Harvard professor that she is, she also provides an incredible history lesson, explaining how we got into the financial mess we're in now.

  • SteveT on January 07, 2012 10:45 AM:

    There's a long list of Romney victims who will likely be eager to tell voters that if Romney does for America what he did for GS Technologies and companies like it, we're all in a lot of trouble.

    I hope the Democrats are smart enough to use this issue to define not just Mitt Romney, but the entire Republican agenda and world view.

    Democrats should be trying to get as many Republicans as they can on video defending Romney and Bain Capital's "rodent capitalism".

  • dalloway on January 07, 2012 11:06 AM:

    There's evidently a 30 minute film (Gingrich is trying to get it to a wider audience) detailing how Mitt and his vulture capitalist cronies sucked hundreds of millions out of four companies, forcing them into bankruptcy, and destroyed thousands of jobs. The film compares Bain Capital's tactics to mob-style "bust-outs" as seen on The Sopranos. I don't think Mitt will be able to flip-flop his way out of those hard, cold facts -- or convince the middle class he has their best interests at heart. Bush got elected because he fooled voters into believing he was a "compassionate" conservative in the absence of any track record to the contrary. Mitt's got one and it's up to Democrats to pound him with it from now until November.

  • berttheclock on January 07, 2012 11:23 AM:

    The right has tried for several years to paint Box, Wells and others who have spoken out about that Bain takeover as being Communists.

    But, I really wish, Steve, you would put up a thread about the hypocrisy going on in Wichita where the Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Koch Brothers, Pompeo, and even Governor Brownback are pleading for the Federal Government to step in and stop Boeing from closing the plants in Wichita. Of course, right wing posters to the KC Star are still trying to blame the unions for the Boeing pullout and, of course, "Obama is wrecking our security with his defense cuts".

  • Jimo on January 07, 2012 12:20 PM:

    With a tip of the hat to Newt Gingrich, who has shown us the importance of using "correct" terminology in politics, I would suggest that these individuals always be referred to as "Romney Victim(s)".

    As in "Romney Victim Randy Johnson revealed new details of how Presidential nominee Mitt Romney cheated workers out of their pensions."

    Dems need to get a clue on how to play to win. If the Average Joe isn't saying spontaneously "Romney Victim" every time this issue comes up, Obama won't win.

  • j on January 07, 2012 12:42 PM:

    This Romney creature is a nasty piece of work, I read that all the people who are endorsing him first received money from his super pac. (The one he has no control over)

  • Bj smith on January 07, 2012 4:01 PM:

    When reading this "must read" blog each & every day it is so plain to think, how can Obama not win in a breeze? When watching or listening to anything else it makes you realize just how difficult it might be. The republicans are non stop everywhere you turn. It will take everything that has been suggested. Thanks be Obama will have a treasure trove to counterattack all the lies that are spewing, he'll need it all.

  • Iowan on January 07, 2012 5:48 PM:

    Here's a link to an article from the Daily Beast about the video dalloway refers to above:


    From the short clips, it looks devastating for Romney. I'm not sure getting it out early will inoculate him during the general election either. It's just hard to get past the testimonies from all of the folks that had their lives destroyed by Romney and Bain Capitol.

  • MJ on January 07, 2012 6:29 PM:

    Romney reminds me of Gordon Gekko from the movie "Wall Street".

  • Texas Aggie on January 07, 2012 6:59 PM:

    Romney will defend himself by saying that these companies would have failed anyway. That is the way the market works.

    The response to that should be that there is a good chance they would have been successful if he hadn't forced them to pay Bain millions in "management fees" and instead spent the money on the company itself.

  • Jack Hammer on January 08, 2012 10:09 AM:

    Romney is the quintessential predatory capitalist vulture always looking for a wounded animal to feast on. Who could possibly better represent today's GOP?

  • mishanti2 on January 08, 2012 8:22 PM:

    Sorry but the title is wrong...Romney is not haunted by what he and his company did to these companies. He never and still could care less about them. He was in it for the big bucks and to hell with those who toil for a living.