‘Don’t You Wish Mitt Romney Were President?’ Mitt Romney’s Friends Ask
Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins has a popular story revisiting the presidential campaign of our former governor Mitt Romney. It’s making the rounds in part because of its trollish headline: “Was Mitt Romney Right About Everything?” The answer according to Republicans giving his campaign a second look in light of recent news is a resounding “yes.”
But who are these newly enthusiastic Republicans? Well:
• “Spencer Zwick, who worked as Romney’s finance director and is a close friend to his family”
• “Robert O’Brien, a Los Angeles lawyer and friend of Romney’s who served as a foreign policy adviser”
• “former campaign spokesman Ryan Williams”
• “The campaign’s chief strategist, Stuart Stevens”
• “And Jennifer Rubin, the conservative Washington Post blogger who became Romney’s most outspoken advocate in the press”
According to the people who tried very hard to get Mitt Romney elected (and let’s include Rubin in that descriptor) Russia’s antagonism, Detroit’s bankruptcy, Obamacare’s sustained unpopularity, and Mali all show how the Governor’s words were twisted or ignored unfairly.
Setting aside the issue of “Would these things be going better if we’d elected Mitt Romney?,” there’s an element of non-partisan (or bi-partisan) criticism to be made here, which is that the focus on gaffes and soundbites in our major political races denies voters a real debate. Romney amusingly described Russia as “America’s number one geopolitical foe.” His attempts to explain himself were drowned out by jokes from the left:
“Everyone thought, Oh my goodness that is so clever and Mitt’s caught in the Cold War and doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” O’Brien said. “Well guess what. With all of these foreign policy initiatives — Syria, Iran, [Edward] Snowden — who’s out there causing problems for America? It’s Putin and the Russians.”
Of course, arguing that Russia was our “number one” foe didn’t itself demonstrate how Romney’s diplomacy with Putin would differ substantively from President Obama’s. But it’s still interesting. Of course, the overstated “Wasn’t Mitt Romney right about everything” angle, like the gaffe itself, sort of distracts from a nuanced analysis.
At any rate, perhaps you were curious what your old governor was up to as the next governor’s race gets started and tosses his name back into the local news on occasion. Now you know: if he’s anything like his advisors, he’s watching the news and screaming “I told you so!” at the TV.