Obama supporters are seething and the RNC is dancing with delight in the aftermath of Newark Mayor Cory Booker's nonsensical comparison of ads exposing Mitt Romney's real record on job creation with racially tinged attacks on Barack Obama's former pastor.
The RNC thinks that it caught the Dems with their pants down, inadvertently admitting that Romney's work at Bain Capital should be off limits. But the indisputable fact is that Romney's experience at Bain is completely fair game -- Romney himself made that choice when he decided to present it as his chief qualification for the presidency. In fact, it's beyond fair game: if this election is truly about jobs and the economy, then Bain is one of the only games in town.
Romney, attempting to shed his record as Massachusetts governor as fast as he can, has chosen to run almost exclusively on his record as a "job creator" at Bain. Pay no attention to the governor behind the curtain, whose state ranked 47th of 50 states in job creation during his term! In the process, he's mixed up some of his "job creation" numbers and cherry-picked the facts he's chosen to tell the American people. Romney keeps telling us his side of the Bain story. But are we to completely ignore the very real stories of factories shut down and American jobs lost? Let's hear all sides of the story. Isn't that what elections are all about?
And let's also have an honest conversation about whether or not Romney's success in making money for investors through his position at Bain qualifies him to be president. Venture capital and private equity have a role to play in our economy. But making money for investors doesn't mean that you know how to make the economy work for all Americans. As President Obama pointed out yesterday, the goal of a private equity firm is to create wealth, not jobs -- most often, to make as much money as possible for a few investors. The goal of a president needs to be an economy that works for everybody. That's a critical difference.
Both candidates agree that this election is about the fundamental direction that our country will take for the next four years. We should embrace this. How about this simple concept: Let's have that full debate about all aspects of the relevant experience of both candidates and let the voters decide.