Business Is Doing All Right

At a rally this morning at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Mitt Romney deployed an unusual line in his stump speech. “I feel under attack” by Obama’s policies, said Romney, referencing the administration's policies on business.

When you consider that Romney has already defined himself as a callous Wall Street mogul, I’m not sure that it’s wise for him to identify with business, as he does in the quote. What’s more, Romney’s overall contention—that Obama has been terrible for business—just isn't true. As Time’s Michael Sivy notes, money has been rolling in for business during the president’s term:

In fact, corporate profits are now at a peak in dollar terms and close to an all-time high as a percentage of GDP. Overall, profits have more than doubled since 2000, while stock prices are actually lower than they were 12 years ago. What that means is that lots of great stocks are now cheap by historical standards.

As long as this doesn’t penetrate the broader consciousness, Romney can attack Obama as bad for business for as long as he likes. But if the administration responds with an account of how business has flourished during the administration’s term, and it takes hold, then he’s closed an avenue of attack for the former Massachusetts governor. Indeed, this gets to the major weakness of Romney’s campaign: It depends on a weak economy. If the economy shows modest improvement between now and the election, then Romney’s rationale for this candidacy—I will fix the economy—dissipates entirely.