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5 Reasons Why Obama's Attack on Bain Is Good For America

Even if the Obama campaign's anti-Bain offensive is nothing more than a bid to ensure a win for its candidate, in the long run, the campaign is doing America a service.

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Now, why would Booker, an African American and self-described Obama campaign "surrogate" do such a thing? Turns out, he has good reason:  ThinkProgress reports that Booker's first mayoral campaign collected $565,000 from the financial sector, including donations from employees of Bain Capital: 

In all — just in his first Mayoral run — Booker’s committees received more than $565,000 from the people he was defending. At least $36,000 of that came from folks at Romney’s old firm.

Booker isn't the only Democrat to publicly complain about the Obama campaigns attack on Bain: former "car czar" Steve Rattner and former Rep. Harold Ford have both voiced their disapproval.

Obama himself is hardly immune to the pressures of campaign cash from fat cats, leading some to cry hypocrisy at his campaign's attack on Romney's tenure at Bain. Just last week, Obama attended a campaign fundraiser hosted by Hamilton James, president of the Blackstone Group, the nation's largest "private equity" firm. Nonetheless, you've got to give him points for moxie as he simultaneously kicks a former CEO of a leveraged buyout firm for doing what CEOs of leveraged buyout firms do.

3. It shines a light on the false equivalency claim that "both sides are equally evil." When Booker declared the Obama campaign's anti-Bain ad to be as "nauseating" as the race-baiting ad proposed to a Romney-allied superPAC (he also called both ads "crap"), his claim rightly raised the hackles of progressives such as The Nation's Ilyse Hogue, and yours truly. Because the uproar was so high-profile, progressives finally had an opportunity to be heard on the sort of false equivalencies we face every day in the mainstream media. But the guys at HuffPost Hill (Eliot Nelson, Ryan Grim & Arthur Delaney) may have said it best: 

We're wondering how this whole false-equivalency thing would've played out during Gandhi's campaign against the Crown: "It's just nauseating how these two sides are behaving, just shooting randomly into crowds, or refusing to eat. It's a bunch o' crap."

4. It calls into question the definition of "free enterprise" as an American value. For decades, Americans have been sold a bill of goods in the form of an ideology that deems anything good for big business as being good for the little guy. When, as you watch the Obama campaign videos, you hear the stories of displaced steel workers, or office-supplies factory workers fired from their profit-making company after Bain snapped up their employers for the sum of the parts, it becomes harder to make that case. Indeed, those videos are case studies in one particular business trend -- the leveraged buyout -- that exacerbated the income gap between rich and not-rich that we see today. It's a case progressives have been making for decades, but now elevated to the level of a presidential campaign.

5. It makes the case, perhaps inadvertently, for public financing of campaigns. The values by which Romney ran Bain are not simply his values, or Republican values: they're the values of the American financial sector, which also happens to underwrite a major portion of U.S. election campaigns. They have the dough, and their bread will be buttered.

Had the Occupy movement never happened, chances are that the Obama campaign would not have had the gumption to go after Bain in this way. It was Occupy that shifted the dialog on the economy from debt and deficit to income inequality, and the American people responded favorably to the message, if not the movement. 

Progressives would be wise not to simply turn up their noses at what are obviously the machinations of electoral politics, and instead target the campaign-funding infrastructure the Democrats intramural Bain episode reveals. 

 
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