The first commercial from Stephen Colbert‘s Super PAC debuted today. Titled Mitt the Ripper (voice narration by John Lithgow), it portrays the GOP front runner as a serial killer of companies targeted by his former private equity firm, Bain Capital.
From a black and white cartoon of a Jack the Ripper character holding a fistfull of dollars; to a ‘downsized’ body being dragged down a corridor of office cubicles; to a scene in which Willard’s infamous “Corporations are people, my friend” declaration is slowed down and repeated in a creepy voice modulation reminiscent of the sci-fi movie Predator (where the antagonist, a buff, dreadlocked, state of the art weaponry wielding alien hunter, processes and mimics human speech prior to ripping out their skulls and spinal columns and holding them up as trophies); to another allusion to the corps are people meme where, instead of cute little babies in a hospital nursery, three corporate logos are nestled comfortably in their cribs; to the concluding scene that has Willard feeding more corporate logos into one end of a wood chipper with dollar bills flying out other (shades of the movie Fargo), the ad concludes by asking viewers to vote for The Non-Romney.
Hats off to Colbert and the creative staff at Comedy Central for doing more than anyone to highlight the dangerous absurdity of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United that made Super PACS possible.
Meanwhile, Mitt the Candidate finds himself in something of a pickle, having to decide between running on his record as a one term governor of Massachusetts, or on his record as CEO of Bain Capital (the corporate raider arm of the more traditional venture capital operations of Bain and Company).
As governor, Mittens’ two most prominent ‘achievements’ were his institution of the country’s first mandated health insurance regime, anathema to the Teabaggers who comprise the most active constiuency of the GOP; and for his record of job creation, a pitiful 47th when compared to his fellow governors. No wonder that he has decided to stress his record as Bain Capital’s CEO instead.
But a closer inspection of his main claim to fame, that during his leadership the company had created 100,000 jobs, has proved suspect. This has forced his campaign to reduce that number to tens of thousands, and even more recently, to mere thousands.*** As has been pointed out by one of his former partners, Bain Capital isn’t in the business of job creation but rather wealth creation for its small cadre of investors. If more money can be extracted by slashing a company’s work force and reducing the benefits and wages of those who remain, that’s just that much more booty for the investors.
Then there is the additional wealth extracted by leveraging a company’s assets and replacing it with debt, a big chunk of which is used to pay off the investors at a tidy profit while the remainder is used to expand the business. Sometimes that works to the long term benefit of a company, other times it forces it into bankruptcy, long after Romney’s Raiders have pocketed their millions and moved on to fresher game.
They don’t call it vulture capitalism for nuttin’.
UPDATE: (12/15/12) Stephen was interviewed, in character, this morning on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopolus. Full clip here.
*UPDATE2: (12/16/12) Via TalkingPointsMemo.com, a video mash-up of the devolution of Romney’s job creation claims.