Mitt Romney’s supposed essential selling point to the American electorate is that his experience in the private sector uniquely qualify him to replace Barack Obama in the White House next January. Romney and his supporters have repeatedly said that Romney’s business acumen stand in stark contrast to Obama’s lack of experience in anything outside of community organizing or academia. In response to Obama’s attack on Romney’s time at Bain Capital, the Romney’s campaign has zeroed in on the money lost on the green energy firm called Solyndra and other federal investments: “Republicans’ use of Solyndra to counter Democratic claims that Bain Capital was a predatory shop that killed jobs dates back months. But the Bain-Solyndra tussle burst into wide view on Tuesday. Romney’s campaign released a Web video that went after Solyndra and financial woes of other federally backed companies.”

No one would argue that losing $500 plus million at Solyndra is mere chump change or something to be casually dismissed. However, as is often the case, government investment in new technologies is fraught with risk from start and that is to some degree unavoidable. Others would make the argument that the government shouldn’t be involved in investing in industry and commerce or those activities related thereto, but those people are fundamentally making an argument that is ahistorical and contrary to the economic history of the American Republic.

But when it comes to Romney’s business sense, I for one, find it interesting that he seems, conveniently, to have overlooked or is unaware of the fact that $60 Billion in American taxpayer dollars has gone missing as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To wit:”As much as $60 billion in U.S. funds has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates. In its final report to Congress, the Commission on Wartime Contracting said the figure could grow as U.S. support for reconstruction projects and programs wanes, leaving both countries to bear the long-term costs of sustaining the schools, medical clinics, barracks, roads and power plants already built with American tax dollars. Much of the waste and fraud could have been avoided with better planning and more aggressive oversight, the commission said. To avoid repeating the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, government agencies should overhaul the way they award and manage contracts in war zones, the commission recommended.”

Okay so the aforementioned begs the question: “If Romney is such a sharp business mind how is it he has focused so precisely on the Solyndra loss while at the same time failing to address or even acknowledge the loss of a far greater sum of taxpayer money that is estimated to be in the billions? I’m a lowly blogger yet I’m aware of this missing sixty billion some odd dollars so how can a guy who’s running for president on the basis of his business experience, fiscal prowess and situational awareness of economic issues failed to have accounted for this much lost taxpayer money? In reviewing the public ledger how could a seasoned business professional, who would have had to take at least a few courses in accounting, fail to account for a mere $60 billion dollars in missing funds? I suspect that politics has something to do with it as the bulk of the missing war funds most likely disappeared under the Republican administration of George Bush, someone who today’s G.O.P. has conveniently sought to air brush off of the political stage. But if Romney is to be the guy who is supposed to bring us all together after the allegedly divisive age of Obama wouldn’t he too want to address these missing billions along with the millions that the Obama administration is charged with squandering? After all wouldn’t that be the hallmark of a competent business professional turned public servant? Like Mitt Romney’s now famously forgetting his stint as a school yard bully it may very well be that he has he suffered another lapse of memory in recalling this story of missing / purloined war funding that broke a mere nine ten months ago.

As a voter who is being asked to assess the qualifications of two men vying for the American presidency and who is being proffered a sales pitch that Mitt Romney’s time in private business is supposed to make him stand up head and shoulders above Barack Obama, I remain thus far unimpressed. Needless to say when it comes to Romney’s qualification to be president I am more than a little skeptical. To date, evaluating Romney’s campaign message as evidenced by what he chooses to focus on in addressing our economic problems amounts to old conservative wine in new bottles that may not address the root causes of the current economic crisis. His unwillingness to grant interviews as to his time and track record at Bain, his unwillingness to appear on political talk shows other than Fox News, his running to resurrect Solyndra while ignoring misused war funding and his recent failure to distance himself from Donald Trump and the long discredited issue of Obama’s birth certificate, all to my mind, reveal a man who is far from being forthcoming about himself. Are we dealing with someone who may not believe all that he’s telling the rest of us and who is just hoping that we’ll pick him as a bland alternative to the sitting president in much the same way that he offered himself as a bland alternative to his more radical opponents in the Republican primaries?

Steven J. Gulitti

6/2/12

Sources:

Bain, Solyndra now center stage in Romney, Obama economic fight; http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/230031-obama-campaign-white-house-counterpunch-on-solyndra-bain-comparison

Military Spending Waste: Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/30/military-spending-waste_n_942723.html

US Wasting Billions While Tripling No-Bid Contracts After Decade of Afghan, Iraq Wars; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l35Dscn5OEg