Wayne Root: ‘A Lesson in Capitalism for Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry’

In his column today at LP.org blog, 2008 Libertarian Party VP candidate Wayne Root takes Republican presidential contenders Gingrich and Perry to task for their attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. Excerpt:

Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry need a lesson in capitalism from my father. Their attacks on Mitt Romney this week are not just disgusting and insulting, they are ignorant. They’ve ruined their Presidential ambitions and damaged their credibility as conservatives.

I’d expect that kind of talk from a socialist like President Obama and his Democratic friends in Congress. Democrat politicians hate businessmen. They’ve never run a business or created a job, so business is like a foreign language to them. Most of them are jealous of anyone who knows how to make money, because they don’t know how. And because successful businessmen rarely support Democrats with contributions, politicians like Obama see them as the political enemy- a target to be demonized, punished and bled dry, so their money can be redistributed to buy more Democratic voters.

So we expect this kind of anti-business rhetoric and class warfare out of Democrats. But Newt and Rick? Now Republicans are turning on capitalism too? The answer here is obvious- big government politicians don’t have a clue about how business, the private sector, or capitalism works. It doesn’t matter which party they are from. Newt and Rick have been in government their entire lives. Their world view because of that turns out to be very similar to Obama.

Towards the end of the article, Root explains that while he is defending Romney from attacks on his private sector record by Gingich and Perry, that does not mean he is supporting Romney’s campaign:

As a Libertarian-conservative, I’m not a big fan or supporter of Mitt Romney. I find him to be a big government wishy-washy, liberal Northeastern Republican. Not my type. But as a capitalist evangelist, and passionate fan of free markets, I certainly defend Romney’s business career. We need a President who will take a business-like approach to government. We need someone who understands how to cut a budget, downsize under-performing assets, kill off entire departments, and fire unnecessary employees.

Also still posted at LP blog is last week’s Monday Message from LPHQ Executive Director Carla Howell, Mitt Romney = Big Government, previously posted at IPR here.

28 thoughts on “Wayne Root: ‘A Lesson in Capitalism for Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry’


    While Romney”understands” how to cut budgets and downsize, what evidence is there that he will do it to the federal government? How does his “career” stack up next to Gary Johnson’s in this regard? I understand why Root’s position doesn’t allow him to take sides yet in the LP nomination process, but he should have tossed a bone to Johnson in this column.

  2. AnthonyD.

    “And because successful businessmen rarely support Democrats with contributions…”

    Sometimes, WAR is very, very dumb.

  3. Robert Capozzi

    wr: We need a President who will take a business-like approach to government.

    me: This doesn’t work on a lot of levels. First, businesses are not all about slashing costs. Sometimes, cost cutting is necessary, but businesses grow by INCREASING costs. Serving customers well involves expenses. Second, government is not a fee-for-service enterprise. Taxpayers are not “customers.” We are citizens at best and theft victims at worst.

    It is true that unwinding government involves sober and creative problem-solving skills.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Democrat politicians hate businessmen. They’ve never run a business or created a job, so business is like a foreign language to them.”

    US Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) was “Managing Director for the Anschutz Investment Company where he had direct responsibility for the investment of over $500 million. He led the reorganizations of four distressed companies, including Forcenergy (which later merged with Denver-based Forest Oil), Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theaters, which together required the restructuring of over $3 billion in debt. Bennet also managed, on behalf of Anschutz, the consolidation of the three theater chains into Regal Entertainment Group, the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world.”

    US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) “was the first salesman at successful Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) and was its chairman and CEO.”

    US Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) “worked as an investor in real estate and the stock market, eventually spinning off his own company, Kohl Investments, to manage these assets. He and his brother became heir to a family-owned chain that included 50 grocery stores and several department stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores. In 1970, Kohl was named President of Kohl’s and he helped to oversee the merger of his corporation with BATUS Inc. in 1972. Kohl stayed on as an executive until 1979.”

    And so on, and so forth.

    [All quotes from Wikipedia]

  5. George Phillies

    One of the party’s more radical wings will note that the sort of piracy practiced by Bain financial would be legally impossible in a Libertarian society for reasons that should be self-evident.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    6 gp, it may be self-evident to you, but not to me. Care to give us at least a hint?

  7. Thomas L. Knapp


    My guess is that GP is referring to a couple of cases where Bain swooped in to assume control of companies just as those companies were set to receive payouts from FDIC (for bank failures) or PBGC (for pension fund failures).

    Romney himself described those incidents as the equivalent of the auto industry bailouts.

    Others disagree.

    But they were at least instances of buying balance sheets that weren’t actually as bad as they looked due to pending government interventions, then taking credit for the “turnarounds” which immediately followed acquisition.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    8 tk, thanks. Yes, we can speculate about how one would do business in a world with little-to-no govt. I’m sure all the deals Bain did involved govt roads and most probably included flights facilitated by govt provided ATC.

    Not sure how that all advances liberty, but it’s all good….

  9. George Phillies

    Hint: Ask how you could do this if there were no corporations, and when the Bain brothers bought, they had to buy all the company including all the debt, which because their personal debt.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    10 gp, thanks. Yes, we can add that thought experiment to the list: no corporate form.

    I’d say “no corporate form” is slightly less speculative than “no public roads” and slightly more speculative than “privatize FAA.”

  11. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 11 Robert Capozzi writes: I’d say “no corporate form” is slightly less speculative than “no public roads” and slightly more speculative than “privatize FAA.”

    Privatizing the FAA should be a priority. Here’s an example as how to do it.

    “NAV CANADA, the country’s civil air navigation services provider, is a private sector, non-share capital corporation financed through publicly-traded debt. With operations coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.”


  12. langa


    For once, I’m in complete agreement with that. The notion that government should (or could) be run like a business is typically made by those who suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of either business, government, or both.

  13. Thomas L. Knapp

    One problem is that the other Republican candidates aren’t really in any position to criticize Romney, as they themselves have spent most or all of their adult lives either on, or trying to get on, the taxpayer teat.

  14. langa


    Why does that matter? They’re not criticizing Romney for things that he did while on “the taxpayer teat”, but rather for business decisions that he made as part of the private sector (which, while not equivalent to a true free market, is still substantially different than the public sector).

  15. D. Lou Shenoll

    Romney needs NO kudos from any L. @1 I and anyone can truly say Johnson was a much more successful Gov. than Romney. If GJ and MR both get their nominations this is one year the Ls can boldly and truthfully proclaim their candidate is truly a proven better choice than the Rs and Ds. Naturally it will be hard to get the message out, but the truth will be there to try and get to the masses.

    The Romney Con -http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4vS9SF3vc-A

    MittvMitt.com: The story of two men trapped in one body – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9njHHyRI7g&feature=player_embedded

  16. Darryl W. Perry

    WAR “as a capitalist evangelist, and passionate fan of free markets”

    me: which is is Wayne; do you support “capitalism” or “free markets”?

    Marx, who is often credited with popularizing the term “capitalist” wrote the capitalist mode of production is characterized as a system of primarily private ownership of the means of production in a mainly market economy, with a legal framework on commerce and a physical infrastructure provided by the state.

    So, Wayne; do you support private ownership of capital with an infrastructure provided by the state OR do you support a free market?

  17. langa


    Ah, I hadn’t heard that particular complaint. I just keep hearing that Romney fired people, and that makes him an evil man.

    Of course, I agree that Romney is an evil man, just for entirely different reasons.

  18. Andy

    “But Newt and Rick? Now Republicans are turning on capitalism too?”

    Wayne Root acts suprised about this? The Republican Party has never really been in favor of free market capitalism.

    “But as a capitalist evangelist, and passionate fan of free markets, I certainly defend Romney’s business career. ”

    It sounds to me like Mitt Romney’s business career was not completely free market. I’ve heard that he made money off of companies receiving tax payer bailouts and where the government had to bailout the pensions of the employees who would have been stiffed out of their pensions otherwise.

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