So here are my thoughts on Bain and Romney.
I am willing to accept as fact SKFM's assessment of how modern PEs are run. I am willing to grant that PEs, and corporations in general, are eldritch and Byzantine operations. I can accept that words like "ownership" and "CEO" and "manager of operations", as used by laypeople, bear no resemblance to the concepts that exist in the crazy, non-Euclidean space of corporate America. Regardless of what such an organization perhaps should
look like, I will concede that this is what it actually is
, even if this reality has no place in a sane world. Because as has been revealed over the past several years, Corporate America is not a sane place. It is a terrifying Wonderland that would make the Queen of Fucking Hearts swallow the barrel of a gun in the wake of its complete lunacy. Fine. Whatever.
And in this deranged wasteland, I can even reconcile the various flavors of quantum ownership surrounding Romney's relationship with Bain. He was owner and CEO and operations manager and his name was the bottom line and he left in 1999 and he left in 2002 and he signed everything and he signed nothing and the SEC documents are perfectly consistent with the FEC documents, even though they say completely opposite things. Sure, Mitt. In your reality, I guess this makes sense.
Bain did some pretty heinous stuff in between 1999 and 2002. The fact that Romney is trying so hard to distance himself from their shenanigans means that even he has formed a stable position on how they were behaving. In his own special way, Mitt has collapsed the waveform on that particular bit of quantum madness. And while he may not be culpable for their actions in a legal sense or a corporate sense, he is absolutely culpable in an ethical sense. In much the way that you can hold someone responsible for the actions of a charity to which they continually donate funds, you can hold Romney responsible for the actions of a company that he signed for, owned, and profited from. Even if Romney didn't personally fire a bunch of steel workers after raping and pillaging their company with his diamond-encrusted cock, he still lent his name to the organization that did so.
Did he make those decisions? No. Did he know about them? Probably, but for the sake of argument, whatever - we'll go with no. But he still has a moral obligation to ensure that he is not lending assistance to shitty people who do shitty things.
And you know what? Even if, by signing his name to Bain's paperwork, he somehow abolished his corporate right to have a say in the company's business, then fuck him for participating in a system that has, as a necessary condition for engagement, the abrogation of every last moral dignity. If the system requires you to be a soulless monster as its price of admission, you don't get to mourn the death of your soul while fanning yourself with the millions in large bills you've "earned".
In even the most favorable interpretations of the facts here, even giving Romney every benefit of every doubt he has requested, he is still a giant fucking asshole. And I hope that by the time this campaign is done, we have accepted that Romney is not a uniquely ferocious human being. That he is not an especially unethical businessman co-opting the system for personal gain. I hope that what we collectively realize is that he is the status quo