Most people who walk this earth know the difference between a truth and a lie. We know when we are being truthful and when we are "fudging", or walking outside the lines. There is usually some self-justification involved - trying to get out of a speeding ticket, trying to spare someone's feelings... Politicians seem to push the envelope when it comes to parsing the truth to make it seem like something else. Sales people are event worse (used car salesmen have a reputation for good reason). So what happens when you combine the two?
Mitt Romney has spent his entire business career in business, and a lot of it in upper management, usually as CEO. Most of us are "regular workers" who do our jobs and being accurate and factual is a plus. In business, the CEO is essentially the head salesman. He is tasked with ensuring the "product" is right for the potential customer base, and that the salespeople know what and how to sell the company. When company revenues flag, it is often the CEO that is blamed. When they grow, the CEO is often rewarded financially. Therefore, revenue and profitability are paramount to the CEO.
This was Romney's role at Bain in the 90s: CEO. The wrinkle here is that Bain made money from other
companies, so as the other companies' profits rose, so too did Bain's. So it was in Romney's best interest to ensure the other companies made profits.
It's a common story: Company lays off workers (or ships jobs overseas), profits rise, CEO rewarded with bonus. For Bain-funded companies, that means Bain makes more money, which means Romney made more money. This is at the heart of the latest potential scandal for Romney.
According to a Boston Globe investigative report, Romney was reported to still be the CEO, President, and sole stockholder of the company between 1999 and 2002, AND continued to draw a salary > $100,000/yr, based on filings to the SEC. He has told the American people he left the company in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics. This presents a lose-lose
scenario for him:
If he remained as head of the company, then he is lying to his supporters and the rest of America about his role in outsourcing jobs.
If he did not, then he is lying to the SEC.
In Romney's Reality, though, it appears he has managed to find a middle ground. He says he took a "leave of absence" (later on amended to "retired"). There is a problem with this stance too. For most of us, if we take a leave of absence, we are still technically employed by the company, but we aren't paid a salary. We aren't financially rewarded based on how well the company does. In Romney's Reality, drawing a salary while not doing any work is okay (as long as you're the CEO).
There's also the matter of how Bain was represented to potential and existing clients. Was Romney still purported to be running the show, and would his absence have mattered to clients? Was Romney involved in greenlighting any projects? These questions remain unanswered. In Romney's Reality, these are moot questions - he was running the Olympics, and regardless of his level of involvement at Bain, the Olympics were his "main" focus. He believes it, and so should you. So sayeth the CEO politician.
The problem, of course, is that this fits a pattern with Romney, where policy positions are simply sales points on a Powerpoint slide. He's been both for and against a large number of primary voter issues
. In Romney's Reality it doesn't matter what he personally believes, because he is selling a product, and as CEO of Romney For President, he has to craft the product to meet the market demand.
Corporations are people, my friend, and sometimes those people are in China, because that's what's good for the corporation. The number one concern for a corporation is money, and jobs are liabilities, so those jobs need to be done as cheaply as possible. More money for the company is more money for the CEO, and CEOs are people, my friend. This is Romney's Reality.
The big problem for the rest of us is when Romney's Reality bumps up against the reality of being President of the United States. You can't outsource the EPA to China to balance the Budget. You can't downsize the federal government employee base without negatively affecting the economy. Nixon and Clinton fudged their way into hot water. Bush fudged his way into an expensive war in Iraq. Fudging does not help the U.S.
Romney's Reality made him a successful business person while apparently allowing him to live with himself, despite the consequences. In the rest of our realities, though, those are consequences the country cannot afford.