Matt Lewis

Gordon Gekko image to replace the Republican elephant?

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Republicans better like the picture of Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital buddies with cash falling out of their pockets — because they’re going to see a lot of it.

If Romney wins the nomination, that photo becomes the brand image for Republicans. The “rich” Republican stereotype is here to stay.

Personally, my guess is Bain Capital did some sketchy things — nothing illegal! — but that their net impact on the economy was largely positive.

I don’t know about the 100,00 jobs figure — but I’m willing to bet they created a lot more jobs than they destroyed. And of course, destruction isn’t always bad. Things change. Innovation destroys inefficient or antiquated products and companies all the time. This is entirely healthy. (Worrying about the horse and buggy makers put out of business by Henry Ford would be ridiculous.)

Free market economics aside, the fact that Bain’s business practices were both legal and productive doesn’t mean they weren’t distasteful and politically toxic.

To many Americans — even many conservatives — that’s the perception.

It will also be easy to demagogue.

Let’s be honest, Obama will attack whoever wins the nomination. But if Romney becomes the nominee, you can expect Obama’s campaign to trot out every employee who ever lost a job due to Bain Capital. They will hold press conferences with “victims” of Wall Street’s corporate raiders.

They will create TV ads that make this look like child’s play.

The demagoguery will be epic. Never mind Gordon Gekko — they’re going to turn him into Mitt “Chainsaw” Romney.

With a still-struggling economy and the “Occupy” movement hanging on, a Romney nomination plays right into Obama’s campaign plan — which is to make the election about class warfare.

In this regard, Romney is almost the perfect foil.

Of course, attacking Romney — ostensibly from the left — is fraught with danger in a Republican primary. It’s essentially the last resort … the nuclear (or is it Newtlear?) option.

But I think there was a method to the madness. Hitting Romney for his days at Bain wasn’t meant to turn conservatives against capitalism, but rather, to puncture the rationale that Romney is the most electable.

This is, I think, why the Gingrich Super PAC — and others — have gone after Romney on this issue.

Let’s see if it works.