A screenshot from the latest Obama campaign ad tying Mitt Romney to Bain Capital.

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Cory Booker’s not alone. A number of other Democrats are criticizing the Obama campaign’s decision to attack Mitt Romney for his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital. Here’s former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford

“Private equity is not a bad thing,” Ford said. “As a matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.”

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell called the attack on Bain “disappointing”:

“I think they’re very disappointing,” Rendell said of the ads attacking Bain. “I think Bain is fair game, because Romney has made it fair game. But I think how you examine it, the tone, what you say, is important as well.”

So what’s going on here? It seems to be a pretty straightforward case of Democrats not wanting to bite the hands that feed them. Josh Israel at Thinkprogress writes that Booker’s first mayoral campaign received large contributions from people who work for Bain and the financial services industry. Ford got Bain money, too—the firm is listed on Open Secrets as his sixth-largest contributor in 2006 cycle. Rendell also received sizeable contributions from the financial services industry. Overall, as my colleague Asawin Suebsaeng noted months ago, Bain Capital’s employees have given more to Democrats than Republicans. (Obama himself received a good chunk of change from Bain employees.) 

Demonizing entire professsions is part of politics in the United States. Just ask a trial lawyer, a community organizer, or a Harvard professor. No one is above criticism obviously, but there’s something bizarre about watching high-profile Democrats wring their hands over criticism of private equity, particularly given the beating teachers and other public workers have received over the past three years for their alleged “greed.” Despite the alarming level of sensitivity over the feelings of financial services executives, private equity isn’t going anywhere, particularly not when the industry can afford to have such ardent defenders in both parties. 

Adam Serwer is filling in while Kevin is on vacation.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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