Once again today Rush Limbaugh avoided anything that sounded like an endorsement of Newt Gingrich, preferring to categorize the South Carolina results as a message to everyone rather than an endorsement of Newt. And he made a point of repeating his concerns that Newt engages in “anti-capitalist” rhetoric.
Here’s an observation and prediction: Just like the recent article by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, which repeated nothing but generalities and platitudes in contending absurdly that Bain Capital “saved America,” the regular tactic of the anti-Newtonians has been to distort Newt’s words and imply that his allegations go far beyond, and are much different from, what Newt actually said. (See the sidebar to this website for a clear statement of Newt’s argument).
Just as Rush (and Drudge) continued to repeat the incorrect report that Newt was backing down from the Bain charges, even after it should have been clear that the original sources were misreporting Newt’s words, what we have here is a failure to communicate. A large part of the problem is that Rush has been focusing on what the Establishment has said ABOUT what Newt said, instead of Newt’s own very focused comments.
To this day Rush has yet to articulate the the full and legitimate criticism: that private equity in many cases does NOT act as venture capitalists or turnaround specialists, but in fact engages in a conscious business plan of immense borrowing, immediate capital withdrawal, and little or no re-investment, followed shortly by bankruptcy or sale of the hobbled shell of a company that is left behind. And the fact that Rush has NOT articulated Newt’s argument is very telling.
So here’s the prediction: Rush has for many years been a stalwart defender on conservative values, but he has rarely devoted much time to studying the details of how some of the arcane dealmaking on Wall Street really works. The time will soon come when SOMEONE will get to Rush and explain to him in full detail what the allegations against Private Equity are all about, and at that point a light will go off in the half his brain not tied behind his back, and Rush will say to himself “So THAT’s what Newt was talking about!”
Newt has the allegiance of some of the best economic minds in the country, not the least of which is Arthur Laffer. It’s long past time someone gave Rush the details he needs to put this story in perspective. We have one too many Ann Coulters already.