Mitt Romney Is No Angel: He Helped The Rise Of Trump Racism
Romney Wasn't A Victim In The 2012 Election, He Just Lost
To hear the conservative version of events in the 2012 election is to hear a child recounting the details of a bizarrely twisted and self-serving fairy tale.
In their mangled retellings, Mitt Romney was a victim. Romney came to the American people, hat in hand, offering up a sober conservative agenda of tax cuts and limited government. For the sin of making his intellectual offering, the story goes, Romney was fed to the buzzsaw. Democrats and the mainstream media brutally attacked poor, vulnerable, naïve Mitt, savaging his lantern-jawed reputation and smearing his character until he was unelectable at the national level.
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This version of events is retold by the right to justify their current intellectual status: Rolling and luxuriating in the filth of racism, bigotry, and hate in the open manner pioneered by Donald Trump. Republicans are up front ogres, it is argued, because everyone was so darned mean to poor Mitt Romney.
It is utter bullshit.
Romney has always been and will always be a power-hungry, craven political actor. Beneath his veneer of genteel mannerism lurks a man who will do anything, morals be damned, to attain higher office. The best example of this is the very same election Republicans hold up the Mitt the Martyr myth for: 2012.
It is forgotten to the mists of time because America’s collective memory for politics is about five minutes long, but Romney in 2012 pursued the racist voters already in Trump’s thrall with all the subtlety of a hormonal teenage boy. Behind in national polling to President Barack Obama in a manner that would forecast the final result, Romney decided to have a splashy presidential endorsement event alongside Trump.
At this point in history, Trump was not merely a reality TV sideshow. He was knee deep in the racist birther conspiracy theory. Trump did not create the conspiracy that Obama was not born in the United States, but he put it on the national stage like nobody else in America.
It was unadulterated racism, to allege that America’s first Black president was a fraud, not native born in the United States as the Constitution requires, but instead born in Kenya, smuggled into the presidency and completely illegitimate. It was the racist way of dealing with the fallout from Obama’s thorough drubbing of war hero Sen. John McCain, the perfect avatar of white male power in American politics.
To these people, the Black didn’t win, not “really.” He snuck in, like they do, and it was on Trump and his ilk to tear down the Black man, to show white America that “they” can’t really ever be like “us.” Trump led the crusade for Obama to show white America his papers, like a slave “boy” who must do as his Massa says.
And it is Mitt Romney who took this racist bile that Republicans had kept going, but in the basement, and placed it directly in the main stream of American politics, the presidential election.
Romney held a huge media event in which he bent the knee to Trump’s racism, accepting his full throated support and endorsement in the election. Romney’s message was unmistakable to the racists nipping at Obama’s heels: I am with you. I support you. I back you. Trump’s mission is my mission.
This is not looking back at the day and adding previously unknown context. At the time the endorsement occurred Romney was criticized for legitimizing birtherism with the move. It wasn’t an afterthought and even became a line of attack for the Obama campaign who released a video contrasting it with the manner in which McCain had rejected racism during his own campaign.
It wasn’t the only time in the 2012 that Romney went into the filth, but it is one of the more glaring moments and the long-term implications for how it legitimized Trump as a political actor is still a cancer that America is dealing with.
During that campaign Romney also engaged in a flurry of lies at a rate that has only now been surpassed by Trump. Romney pandered to anti-immigration racists as well, making ham-fisted arguments that the undocumented should “self-deport” while getting tangled up in comments about his Latino gardener. Romney popularized conservative attacks against Sesame Street before it became a punchline in the current discourse, prompting one of the Obama campaign’s most-viewed ads. Confronted on his support for the conservative movement’s retrograde view of women’s rights - Romney like all the rest opposes the right to an abortion — he invoked the infamous “binders full of women.”
Romney attacked the right of people to have health care coverage, and was exposed in the infamous leaked audio for holding the same position that so many conservatives have held - that the poor seeking help are just dirty animals seeking handouts.
In 2012 Romney also campaigned on the argument that Obama was wrong to have ended the Iraq War and that American troops should have remained there, never mind at that point having spent years dying for George W. Bush’s lies.
When it comes to the 2012 election, Mitt Romney was no angel. That’s a big reason why Obama beat him like a rented mule.
Following their success in the 2010 midterm election, Obama was supposed to be a lame duck. That election was proof in the minds of many conservatives that Obama was a fluke. That the universe would be set right and someone who “looked like a president” would be rightfully restored to the office.
That Obama executed a nearly flawless campaign against Romney was unexpected. Obama and Democrats again and again told the public the story of Mitt Romney, of a man who built up an immense personal fortune by engaging in the most crass and brutal form of capitalism, sucking value out of companies without regard to the human cost such behavior has.
Obama made clear that in addition to this soulless way of harvesting wealth, Romney had tried to hide it from the government, evading paying his fair share in taxes while operating as part of a political movement that seeks to eliminate the safety net.
Unlike the usual way they go about things, Democrats understood the assignment against Romney. That is the true sin here.
After losing again to Obama, the right retreated to even more bigotry and nativism and misogyny, openly spouting these things now instead of whispering them in quiet rooms as they have for so long. But still unable to admit that this is what they are doing — being their true selves — its better to blame it on the left. To hold up poor Mitt as a victim, rather than accept his true role of willing enabler.
They say the left made them come to their current, low point. They just had to do it, after what was supposedly done to Romney. But like Romney, they made their own bed. They did all of this to themselves. It was not the left that pushed the right into the filth. They have always been there, and Romney was right in it with them.
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Exclusive Kal-El Photo
Kal-El has no memory of the events of the 2012 election because that was seven years before he was born. And he’s better off for it.