Of course, when you are talking about competency, you are talking about competency in a given field. I may be a competent health care policy reviewer, but be a rather incompetent fool when talking about immigration policy (not that any of the big blogging heads will admit to this). I may be a competent writer but a completely inept singer. The relevant competency in our discussion is the competency to govern - the competency to be President of the United States, the leader of the free world.
Mr. Romney has been competent in certain things. He was a competent corporate vulture. So competent, in fact, that he delivered millions for his investors, and could call the shots where no one without at least $1 million to invest even needed to bother with his firm. That competency, though, came through a painful set of realities. Not painful for Mr. Romney, mind you. Painful for the laid-off workers in the companies he and his firm loaded up with debt and bankrupted, painful for the federal treasury that had to come and bail out pension guarantees at some of those firms, and painful for entire towns and communities devastated When Bain Came to Town.
But Mitt Romney was competent in delivering all the profits to himself and his investors as he and his firm got paid with the debt he racked up on these firms. Ruthless? Sure. But you see, you have to be ruthless if your sole goal is not to invest in businesses based on their merits but based on their ability to pad your bottom line (either through expansion or through bankruptcy - you still make out like a bandit). No one doubts that Mr. Romney was a ruthless, soulless competent corporate vulture. Mitt's problem is that it's that sort of competence that has the American people asking questions, and when they find the truth, being horrified at Mitt Romney's "competence."
Mr. Romney, one may safely assume, is also a competent tax evader. He has Swedish bank accounts, money stashed in the Cayman's, and in the one year of tax returns he has released, paid a whopping 13.9% on an income of over $20 million. Certainly, the real culprit at fault is the US tax code, which brazenly favors the super rich by giving preferential treatment to money made from money rather than that made from work, but still, Romney is competent enough to take advantage of it. At least, he's competent enough to hire the right tax attorneys and accountants to do that for him.
Another big area of "competence" for Mitt Romney has been highlighted by his own wife at the Republican National Convention: his "success" in running the Salt Lake City Olympics a decade ago. That "success" came at the tip of a US taxpayer bailout to the tune of $1.3 billion, which Mitt Romney "competently" extracted from our pockets. And then he competently shredded documentation for the Olympic's budgeting. Meet Mitt Romney, the competent bailout lover.
Speaking of shredding documents and being an opaque executive, one may also remember Romney's "competent" wiping out of his records in Massachusetts. But all sarcasm aside, his tenure in Massachusetts provides the only actual evidence of his governing competence - or any competence at all - that has benefited ordinary people. It is also something he and his campaign dare not speak of. It's Romneycare, which has provided near universal coverage in Massachusetts, and became a groundwork model for (though not an exact replica of) health care reform at the national level, the Affordable Care Act. But now that President Obama has adopted the principles of expanded coverage, subsidies and an individual responsibility provision, Mitt Romney has been reduced to grandiose claims to repeal his own idea. I am certain that we are to find this flip evidence of Mitt's "competence" in deserting his own principles.
As Mitt Romney stakes his claim to competency, let's see a rather small subset of things he plans to accomplish, competently I'm certain, if he gets elected President:
- Ending Medicare and replacing it with a voucher program that will leave seniors in a $6,400 hole.
- Using the money stolen from Medicare and other social safety net programs to give the uber rich the lion's share of a $5 trillion tax cut, in addition to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
- Repealing health care reform, creating tens of millions of more uninsured, and returning us to the days when insurance companies got to drop you when you became sick, and deny you treatments your doctor thought required.
- Repealing Wall Street reform, letting the banks run wild and free once more. Oh, didn't that just work out dandy for us the last time we tried it.
- Rolling back student loan reform (which was part of the ACA), and once again subsidize banks to do... essentially nothing but be the middle men. After all, students can just borrow money from their parents.
- "Getting rid of" Planned Parenthood, and along with it, support for family planning services.
- Handing over women's reproductive health care decisions to their employers as far as deciding whether they can access contraception as preventive care.
- Ending federal support for wind and other renewable forms of energy. Hear that, Iowa?
- Return a Bush era foreign policy of petulance that emboldened our adversaries and alienated our allies.