It's the Resume, Stupid

05.21.12

Obama's Bain Remarks in Chicago: "What This Job Is About"

At his NATO press conference, Potus was asked a question about Cory Booker and the whole Bain business. His answer: I'd give it a B. As is so often the case with him, he expressed the right ideas, but he didn't express them forcefully enough. He got into gear with: "If your main argument for how to grow in the economy is, ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors’, then you are missing what this job is about.”

But the money quote for me was this one: “When you are president as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers who get laid off and how are we paying for their retraining.”

This is pretty good, but I think it's going to have to get a lot more forceful. Obama has this habit, which you learn as a writer over time is really unconvincing. He very often makes an assertion without illustrating it, without saying why. It leaves listeners confused because he hasn't really put meat behind the assertion.

But he is on the right track here. I don't think this is such a difficult needle to thread. In fact he could get a lot more emotional mileage out of this sort of thing. Like how? Like so:

"The people who lost their jobs because of Mitt Romney's creative destruction, those are precisely the people the president has to think about most. Those are the people who write the letters that I read every night before I go to bed. Those are the people who need my help the most of all. Mitt Romney and his fellow investors will mostly be just fine. I think about the other people. Governor Romney says, explicitly, has said many times, of lost jobs, that's capitalism, that's just the way it goes. Do you want a president who watches an American factory shut down and says, 'Well, that's capitalism?'"

This is basically what I've said, folks: Being a p-e guy is fine, if that's what you want to be. But it's not what I want my president to have been. I'll gladly take a community organizer. And I think most Americans would agree.