The winter of our discontent is over. Everything, it seems, is getting better. Mostly beautiful Boston spring days have worked wonders on everyone’s mood. When you pass people on the street in the morning, they actually smile.
The Sox have opened pretty well. The Celtics made the playoffs. Responsible and admirable juries found Tsarnaev and Hernandez guilty on all counts.
Most significant, however: the Boston Globe reports that Bain Capital, the very embodiment of the dark and horrible side of the American Dream has transformed itself into a team of beyond-reproach capitalists by the simple act of hiring former Governor Deval Patrick.
The Globe broke the story last Tuesday morning and my phone was ringing off the hook all day. Everybody had a joke. Bain Capital was so bad when former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who founded the company, was involved. But now that Patrick was heading over there, everything had changed. Bain Capital was not a vulture capitalist firm anymore now that they had hired a liberal Democrat to share in the spoils.
I rarely read the comments from readers that news outlets run under their stories. But that night, I couldn’t resist. The comments went on for pages and pages. And for once, the Left and the Right were united, almost unanimous in their distain for the Globe’s spin.
The Boston Herald, which hadn’t been granted an exclusive interview with Patrick in the Bain Capital offices in the Prudential Tower like the Globe had, followed up on with a devastating story listing some of the “investments” Patrick had made during his years as governor and the millions of taxpayer dollars he had wasted.
None of this was the good news that the Globe, Bain Capital, and Patrick had been looking for -- so they quickly had to double down. On last Thursday, the Globe came back with another story, even more drôle than the first, headlined, “At Bain, a broad range of viewpoints is the new reality”.
The spin seemed to be that Bain Capital were the good guys now that awful Mitt Romney had left the company and that some Democrats, that’s right, Democrats were working there.
That’s why, the follow-up story seemed to imply, that Bain Capital was now supporting groups like City Year, the terrific volunteer organization that was founded here in Boston.
Now, just to be up front, I’ve known and worked with Mitt Romney going back to his first campaign against Ted Kennedy for the US Senate in 1994. In fact, that campaign was the first time Romney’s founding and work at Bain Capital became a political issue anywhere. Kennedy used it against Romney with great impact, as President Obama would in the 2012 presidential race.
I can testify that Romney and Bain Capital worked with and were very supportive of City Year back in those days. Romney served on the City Year Board of Directors, raised funds, and helped mentor the brilliant young founders, Alan Khazei and Michael Brown.
In the closing days of the Kennedy race, Mitt told us that he had to take a Saturday off from campaigning to work at City Year’s annual day of volunteer projects. I said, wow, that would be a great event for the press to cover. Mitt said, no press. It was something he did every year with his family and he didn’t want any press coverage for his volunteer work with City Year.
After Mitt lost to Senator Kennedy, someone at City Year came up with the idea of Mitt and Ted co-hosting and headlining the group’s big annual fundraising event in the summer of 1995. Kennedy agreed to do it after Romney called him. As you might guess, it was a very successful fundraiser for City Year.
So maybe, despite all the headlines from the Globe, Bain Capital hasn’t changed that much at all, even though Deval Patrick is working there and Mitt Romney isn’t. But it provoked a chuckle during this beautiful Boston spring. The sublime irony of that spin is just too sweet to go unrecognized.