Ron Paul is a medical doctor who has delivered over four thousand babies and routinely provides free care to the indigent. Mitt Romney made his reputation as a Principal at Bain Capital, a venture capital firm that bought, sold, and merged companies. Depending on one’s perspective, the backgrounds of either man are a positive or a negative. One thing is clear. The political forces that support or oppose Paul or Romney will attempt to exploit their professional histories.
As it stands in most of the polls today, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination in Iowa and New Hampshire are Congressman Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Among the factors that voters will consider are the professional backgrounds of both men.
The conservative blog, Red State is reporting this morning that President Obama’s political team is preparing to release a series of attack ads, should Romney win the Republican nomination, portraying him as a mercenary job killer rather than a job creator. If this unfolds as reported, it could be a devastating blow to Romney’s chances in a populist political environment. It is quite revealing that Red State, a political home for Conservatives, released this story today, before the Iowa Caucuses, and at a time that Romney appears to be gaining steam relative to other candidates. Erick Erickson, the blog manager, and a CNN contributor, has made it no secret that he does not support Mitt Romney because he believes Romney is not a Conservative.
In the same article, Red State is also reporting that the Obama team is prepared to claim that Bain Capital took federal bailout money, which if true would be another devastating blow to Romney because federal bailouts are anathema to conservative and Tea Party voters.
Politico already reported on this story in a July 14, 2011 article, The Bain of Mitt Romney’s campaign. In their article, the authors reference a 1994 Boston Globe report that indicated Bain saw several million dollars in loans forgiven by the FDIC, which had taken over Bain’s failed creditor, the Bank of New England. The FDIC rescue operation resulted in millions in profits for Romney and his counterparts at Bain.
While all of this was legal, and reflects business as usual in these high stakes financial sweepstakes, the optics may not play well for Mitt Romney. In an era that is best characterized by Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street sensibilities, Romney may have a difficult time convincing the American people that he is the person they want in the White House.
Conversely, Congressman Paul’s Revolution PAC released a web ad today that portrays Dr. Paul as a compassionate physician who will stand up for the powerless. In the moving advertisement (embedded), a young Dr. Paul comes to the rescue of a financially strapped mixed racial couple.
Congressman Paul, in a contrast with Romney, has never accepted federal money in his medical practice. He does not accept Medicare or Medicaid. He provides pro-bono services for indigent patients at local hospitals.
These portrayals of Paul and Romney provide Iowa and New Hampshire voters with a stark contrast. Will they select the establishment businessman Mitt Romney, or the anti-establishment country doctor, Ron Paul?
It appears the Obama campaign is champing at the bit to run against Romney. Congressman Paul has his own political liabilities as well. On this issue, Dr. Paul may have inoculated himself against the populist attacks that have already been successful against Mitt Romney.
Kevin Kervick is a social entrepreneur and freelance writer. He is the author of Discovering Possibility: A Common Sense Conservative Manifesto (For Classical Liberals Too).
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