I’m not a big Mitt Romney fan. I felt his campaign in 2012 was lackluster and that he essentially conceded the race by refusing to fight back at the myriad of unfair attacks against him. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, just misguided in his overly righteous view of politics. That’s not to say he needed to become Trump, as there’s plenty the President does I don’t like either (and I think is self-destructive), but Romney could have mounted a virulent defense without compromising his principles or turning into a Twitter troll. He chose not to and that’s why he’s not President.
The media had a much different view of Romney in 2012 though. They called him a racist, accused him of abusing animals, and blamed cancer deaths on him. In other words, they treated him exactly like they treat Trump, and how they treated every Republican before him.
Perhaps the most famous savaging from the 2012 election was when Romney suggested that Russia was our top Geo-political enemy. This sent the media running to relentlessly mock him and high five Obama for his “the 80’s called and want their foreign policy back” retort.
FLASHBACK: Obama tells Romney the cold war has been over for 20 years…OOPS http://t.co/VnADZuqohx
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) February 28, 2014
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) October 22, 2012
There were plenty of others…
“I don’t know what decade this guy’s living in,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews said with a sigh on March 28, 2012. “Is he trying to play Ronald Reagan here, or what?”
Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, who are now convinced Russians are going to be knocking on their doors any day now, got in on the action.
“He read about Reagan’s private, outside-the-CIA cabal of team-B zealots who were telling him that Russia had all the stuff they didn’t have so he could justify a giant defense budget,” Maddow submitted scornfully.
“It is amazing that Mitt Romney can flip like that just as soon as he hears something to exploit in foreign policy,” O’Donnell remarked.
John Kerry: "Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV" http://t.co/IN51Ekle
— Stephanie Cutter (@stefcutter) September 8, 2012
Romney’s statement was painted as a major gaffe. Instead of sticking by what he said, he quickly clarified his statement, which only reinforced the nonsense emanating from the media and Democrats.
Well, times have changed apparently. Maggie Haberman would like everyone to know she got it wrong.
Additional context – Romney described Russia as the greatest US geopolitical foe in his 2012 presidential campaign, and was broadly mocked. I was among reporters who should have given it more weight. https://t.co/slHeAMmcoy
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 19, 2019
Ronnan Farrow also got in on the action.
Here’s a reminder of some of the things Farrow said in 2012.
Yes how is it he missed Romney’s warnings about Russia. pic.twitter.com/P3FdrWfqke
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) April 20, 2019
It’s very nice of these people to decide six years later that they unfairly sandbagged Mitt Romney, helping cost him the election. I wonder what could possibly motivate their change of heart?
Could it possibly be this?
I have now read the redacted Mueller report and offer my personal reaction: pic.twitter.com/ACnExskqXJ
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) April 19, 2019
It’s it amazing how opposition of Trump coincides with the media suddenly deciding they love you? Even guys like Michael Cohen become persona grata the moment they turn their sites on the President. Funny how that works, right?
Haberman’s apology is disingenuous nonsense. She and her media colleagues got exactly what they wanted in 2012 by spreading the idea that Romney was a moron who’d made a major gaffe on Russia. Now that the damage is done, they feel free to offer their corrections because there’s no consequences to doing so.
I’ll also note that it was painfully clear that Romney was right all the way back in 2014, after Russia started it’s conquests in Ukraine. It wasn’t until 2018-2019 that you started to see some media figures acknowledge they erred in their criticism of him. Why the long wait? Because until Romney proved he was anti-Trump enough, they were content to sit on their hands. That’s the actual standard at play here, not any respect for the facts.
As to Romney’s above statement, he’s clearly setting himself up to possibly run against Trump in 2020. I’m pretty convinced of that now. He’s free to go after Trump (there is some stuff in the report that’s not flattering), but the fact that he continues to ignore all the other aspects of the investigation says he’s got political, not principled aims here.