What the 2012 presidential race needs to be about

Mitt Romney is expected to clinch the Republican nomination tonight and he will no longer be known as his party’s “presumptive” nominee. By tomorrow it will likely be official — the 2012 presidential race will be a contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The 2012 presidential election should be fought over the future.

To me, the whole argument that has been taking place over Bain Capital is absurd.

Notwithstanding criticism from fellow Democrats like Newark Mayor Corey Booker, the Obama campaign is proceeding with its effort to paint Mitt Romney as a job-destroying corporate predator during his years at Bain Capital, who was concerned solely on making huge profits for the firm and his colleagues, even if companies they had acquired failed and blue-collar workers lost jobs.

The Obama campaign has increasingly sought to make Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital a focal point of the campaign is using its recently launched website Romneyeconomics.com to portray “Romney’s private sector record” as being marred by “communities abandoned,” “profiting from debt,” “bankruptcy and bailouts,” and “profit at any cost.” The site features web videos that allege that Bain’s record includes hundreds of lost jobs — including at a Kansas City steel company called GST, an Indiana paper products company called Ampad, and a clothing store chain called Stage Stores.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign and its surrogates have responded by arguing that the failing companies listed above would have failed even faster, had it not been for Bain.

The debate over Bain Capital and how many jobs it protected vs. created is absurd. Indeed, it makes no earthly sense, and it misses the larger and more important point that private equity plays an integral role in our capitalist economic system.

Not only is private equity part of capitalism, it is key to sustaining businesses in order to protect jobs – much less create them.

The last thing our country needs right now is a presidential election that is fought over Bain Capital.

The questions that we should be asking are: Which candidate is going to create jobs in the future? Which candidate has a tangible and comprehensive plan to stimulate the economy? Which candidate is going to balance the budget? Which candidate will restore American competitiveness?

To have the candidates debating the past endlessly and seeking to foist blame and point fingers, rather than debate solutions for the future speaks to why we are a nation on the decline.

Why is it that we as a nation cannot have a dialogue that is worthy of distinction?