Mitt Romney made a lot of money at Bain Capital. The press seems to view this as a negative; even the Wall Street Journal is piling on, and the Obama Campaign is paying attention.
This is misguided. The lesson to take away from Romney’s high earnings is that he is more dedicated than most politicians; he has actually given up a chance to earn vast sums in order to serve. This is not an option for most politicians. For example, Obama was a community organizer and his income from book sales was enhanced by his political career. Gingrich was a professor and his income has also been enhanced by his political career. Santorum was a lawyer but did not practice much before entering politics. Other politicians (e.g., Cheney) have been wealthy, but their wealth came after their political careers. So the Romney campaign should spin his earning power as a sign of his dedication, rather than trying to finesse it.
I think the conclusion of this blog is right on. Romney’s opportunity costs of pursuing a political career were higher than most and shows either dedication (or vanity–you pick). Following another path he would be a (multi-)billionaire.
The premise however is incorrect that the press views earning a lot of money as a negative. Hell they don’t even mind when a presidential candidate inherits it (see “Kennedys”). What the press views as negative is the way leveraged buyout shops make their money and the way they earn and compound returns personally via tax policies favoring their business.