Given that George W. Bush, our country's first MBA President, has been an experience most of us would like to forget, is Mitt Romney's background, including co-founder of Bain Capital, something that voters should celebrate?
According to a piece in Portfolio, it isn't: "... does a successful business career equal a good presidency? No. Most presidents have been lawyers, generals, and professional officeholders. Only a few have had big business careers, and this cadre of executives does not exactly inspire confidence. By contrast, the most successful presidents never ran big businesses."
But, as Matthew Cooper points out, saying Romney and Bush are in the same category as MBA Presidents because they were in the same B-school class isn't fair: Romney has always been a hard worker, and Bush was a party-boy. Bush has an MBA, but business could hardly be called the defining element of his background. Nepotism? Perhaps. Romney's attention to detail, as evidenced by his work in private equity, contrasts nicely with Bush's tendency to rely on his own terrible instincts.
During the general election (if he gets the nomination), Romney is likely to find himself vulnerable to attacks from labor groups, just as he did when he challenged Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in the 1990s. If we end up seeing Romney run against Edwards, it could be the most divisive campaign in history, breaking down perfectly along class lines. Edwards is one of the only candidates to talk frequently about poverty, and is seen as very pro-union.
Romney is probably a great candidate for anyone yearning for a return to the time of Ronald Reagan, a man Romney talks about frequently. His pro-business policies and charisma come across on TV a lot better than, say, John McCain. But will his business background help him or hurt him in the general election, especially with all the controversy surrounding private equity?