In preparation for a review on 2012 campaign books for the Monthly, I’ve been reading Jonathan Alter’s fine book The Center Holds this week, and have been marveling anew at the detachment from reality exhibited by Mitt Romney and his advisers, culminating in their inability to understand how and why they lost (or even that they had lost, until well after the race had been decided).
So it’s amusing to read McKay Coppins’ BuzzFeed article today indicating that the people who thought they’d be running the country right now are declaring Romney a prophet whose views are being vindicated every day:
From his widely mocked warnings about a hostile Russia to his adamant opposition to the increasingly unpopular implementation of Obamacare, the ex-candidate’s canon of campaign rhetoric now offers cause for vindication — and remorse — to Romney’s friends, supporters, and former advisers.
“I think about the campaign every single day, and what a shame it is who we have in the White House,” said Spencer Zwick, who worked as Romney’s finance director and is a close friend to his family. “I look at things happening and I say, you know what? Mitt was actually right when he talked about Russia, and he was actually right when he talked about how hard it was going to be to implement Obamacare, and he was actually right when he talked about the economy. I think there are a lot of everyday Americans who are now feeling the effects of what [Romney] said was going to happen, unfortunately.”
Give me a break. Nobody in Obama’s camp denied there were issues on which the U.S. and Russia would disagreed, and nobody predicted implementation of Obamacare would be a walk in the park, particularly given the viciously irresponsible determination of Republicans to screw it up while blocking with their House veto the simple legislative “fixes” major legislation always requires. Besides, Romney’s “prophecies” were virtually all throwaway lines aimed at pandering to conservatives to get them off his case so that he could run his campaign on the only issue he cared about: making himself the CEO of the U.S. economy.
Another quote from Spencer Zwick in Coppins’ piece gets at the truth of his and other Romneyites’ complaint:
“It’s frustrating because there’s no way to correct it,” Zwick said. “We don’t do what they do in the U.K. and lead the opposition party when you lose. When you lose there is no way to sort of be vindicated. There’s no way to say, ‘OK, well, I didn’t win the presidency but I’m going to continue to fight.’ There’s no fighting. There’s no platform to do that. Fifty million Americans voted for the guy and yet it’s all for nothing.”
Yeah, it’s tough to go from measuring the drapes in your White House office to being a political outcast with no appreciation from much of anyone in either party and no prospects for another campaign. But please, don’t pretend that the heavily financed mendacious shuffle which the Romney campaign represented from beginning to end was in fact some sort of prophetic stance.