Now that the temporal embargo on talking about anything beyond the last five or six years has been temporarily lifted, we here at the Driftglass Blog have launched an occasional and soon-to-be award winning feature called Snarkeology 101, which will reach back into the past and bring forward some long-buried home truths about the GOP that were in evidence long before these last five or six years but which had been declared Forbidden Knowledge by the recently-former Republican Defenders of the Faith and Guardians of the Terrible Secret.
Today we tackle Mittens Romney: The Man Who Might Well Coulda Saved Us All From Donald Trump If The Left Hadn't Savaged Him So Ruthlessly.
Bad Liberals! Naughty bad Liberals!
You see, since Donald Trump has robbed recently-former Republicans of their ability to tell great big whoppers about how awesome the GOP is today, they've had to resort to telling great big whoppers about how awesome the GOP was during the Before Time. Tarting their recently-former party up as as something mighty and heroic that was so brutally undone by those sneaky, scheming Liberals that they may well have been responsible for driving the GOP to the DayGlo orange fascist bosom of Donald John Trump.
And so, thanks to Vox, here is a couple of samples of the whoppers that recently-former Republicans tell about Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign for president:
Take it away Zack Beauchamp:
The Mitt Romney martyr myth
[Mitt Romney's] actions displayed the moral decency and leadership that have rarely been seen from Republican officials in the Trump era. Romney’s actions caused one prominent political writer to advance an argument that many conservatives have embraced in the Trump era — that Democratic attacks on Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign are to blame for the GOP’s radicalization and the emergence of Trump.
“It was the left’s (and the media’s) treatment of Romney that numbed the electorate to real, valid concerns about ‘character’ four years later,” writes Tim Alberta, Politico’s chief political correspondent. “The mistreatment of this man, the demonization of him on a personal level by opponents in both parties, will be studied for decades to come.”
On this view, Democrats smeared the kind and decent Romney so brutally — attacking him as a heartless “vulture capitalist” who hated minorities — that Republicans became inured to this kind of argument and convinced there was no advantage to playing nice anymore. Call it the “look what you made me do” theory of How We Got Trump.
“All those stereotypes Democrats fabricated to assail Mitt Romney helped inoculate Trump against similar charges,” Noah Rothman writes in Commentary. “In this sense, the Obamans themselves helped clear the way for Trump.”.
The evidence for these claims is vanishingly thin...
Now let's you and I light a couple of lanterns and walk down the narrow stairs down and down to my bloggy archives from September 2012. Exactly a full decade ago. The week that Even David Brooks finally bailed on Romney's doomed, incompetent campaign, triggering an avalanche of "Even David Brooks" follow-ons from pundits across the spectrum from The Maddow Blog and Joan Walsh to Joe Scarborough and Scott Brown.
From September 18, 2012:
Even David Brooks
Letters, I get letters.
And among these letters there is always one that asks why I waste my time biting the ankles of the mighty and indestructible David Brooks.
After all, who reads that asshole, right?
Well for anyone who has been following the amazing spectacle of Willard Romney's radioactive plutocrat core breaching it's bland, well-coiffed containment unit and melting right straight through the Earth's mantle, you may have noticed that an amazing number of analysts and pundits have breaded and deep-fried their own observations with some variation of the words "Even David Brooks..."
From the Twitter Machine...
By my count, every single segment on MSNBC that touched on this story either lead with or included an "Even David Brooks..." piece. Predictably, Andrew Sullivan is delirious, sporting massive and completely unwarranted Reasonable Conservative wood at the whiff of David Brooks (and David Frum and Ramesh Ponnuru) finally being forced at gunpoint to write some words that any Liberal could have written in their sleep at any point over the last 30 years:
The Sane Right
Just a word to say that David Brooks' column is simply superb and to emphasize that both David Frum and Ramesh Ponnuru have made important points about why Romney is disgusting and wrong, respectively...
If you're of a mind to, you can read the whole thing here, including all the Twitter catches.
But I believe the point has been made.
The thing that killed the Romney campaign was Mitt Romney. Please proceed governor.
And the Republican base embraced Donald Trump because that's what decades of Limbaugh/Gingrich-style Conservative media and Republican politics had groomed them to do.