The political-media establishment has provided more than a few tempting targets to push back on in the past 48 hours, but nothing rankles me more than the sudden nostalgia liberal Democrats are heaping on Mitt Romney. Trump has inspired some sort of Romney renaissance among the left, openly telling Republicans and the media how much they admired and respected the last Republican candidate; that he was at least fit to lead!
As an operative who worked on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, I can tell you that this hilariously bogus argument from the left lacks even a modicum of self-awareness. Yet this morning, President Obama himself blew some more hot air into its sails:
“I think I was right and Mitt Romney and John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues, but I never thought that they couldn't do the job.”
Let's set the record clear: the Democrats despised Mitt Romney, and they - including President Obama's campaign - eviscerated him with a cold-hearted vengeance.
From the start of the general election, the Democrats made it increasingly clear that their goal was to go nuclear on Mitt Romney personally, or as Politico phrased it in 2012, an “unabashedly negative” and “ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character” that “will make some Democrats shudder.” The goal to was to make Mitt Romney look unauthentic, lacking principles and without integrity. These attacks became so bad that Senator Cory Booker - who just spoke at the Democrats convention - publicly called them “nauseating.”
Meanwhile, Harry Reid publicly and repeatedly on the floor of the U.S. Senate declared that Mitt Romney didn't pay any taxes for a decade, without any source. This was proved demonstrably false. He's yet to apologize.
It got worse: the Democrats started to put their money where their mouth was. A few weeks into August, Obama's main Super PAC released an ad that literally argued that Mitt Romney caused a woman to die from cancer. Even after the ad was rated 100% false and fairly criticized by the media, President Obama weakly stood by the ad, claiming he couldn't do anything about it.
Four years later, Obama is now rewriting all of that, reducing 2012 to just a difference on “certain policy” issues. But don't worry, he always thought Romney was still fit to lead.
Let's fast forward to Obama's convention speech in 2012, when he taunted that Romney was not “ready for diplomacy,” generating laughs from the crowd, and reminding them that Romney's campaign was “not who we are...That's not what this country is about.” He openly argued that Mitt Romney wanted to take America - specifically, women and minorities - back to the 1950s. The disgust ran so deep that Obama wasn't even gracious or happy when Mitt Romney called him on election night to concede.
The president spent the entirety of 2012 denigrating Mitt Romney as a backwards heartless millionaire who was unprepared for office and would not look out for the interests of the average Americans. He did what his strategy needed him to do - campaigns are exercises in explaining why your opponent is not fit to lead. But Obama is now willing to rewrite his own campaign to reduce 2012 to a mere gentlemen's disagreement over a few “certain policy issues,” in an attempt to demonize Trump and cast him as the black sheep in a generation of upstanding Republican nominees.
There's a lot to say about Donald Trump. He's no Mitt Romney. But let's be realistic here: the Democrats are going to show Trump in 2016 the same respect they showed Mitt Romney in 2012. None.