I don’t know who would be happier to see Mitt Romney back in national politics if it were a contest between Allahpundit and Jennifer Rubin. But they’re not alone in their desire to see the losing 2012 presidential candidate return to the public stage. No, Mitt is attracting new fans from unexpected corners of the punditocracy. Perhaps none are more surprising than the sudden declarations of admiration coming from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. This week he’s chosen to declare that for the good of America, Romney must challenge the despicable Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Declaring that, “your country needs you,” Milbank details precisely why Hatch must be booted from office and replaced by a man of Mitt Romney’s sterling character to restore dignity to the Senate. But why? What’s suddenly so bad about Orrin Hatch? The author begins by describing the current, longest serving senator as having once been, “the picture of conservative rectitude” and “a conscientious legislator.” But now he has to go, and Romney is obviously the best man for the task.
The [Salt Lake Tribune] editorial-page editor, George Pyle, cited the tax cut Hatch authored and other policy differences. But his problem with Hatch was more one of character. Romney would vote the way Hatch does most of the time, Pyle told MSNBC, but with Romney, “we would be spared the embarrassment of his sucking up to the president.”…
Hatch was preparing to retire, but Trump pushed him to go back on his promise not to seek another term. Trump obviously prefers the obsequious Hatch to Romney, who, though as conservative as Hatch, would be no puppet. That’s why Mitt must run.
Well, that’s a lovely bouquet of flowers to dump at Mitt’s feet. You see, Romney is a man of principle who will stand up to Trump. Anyone who admires Mitt’s character and principles that much must have a long history of praising him, right? Unfortunately for Milbank, Google has a long memory, and if we hop into the Wayback Machine for a trip to 2012, you’ll see a very different picture of Mitt Romney appearing under Dana’s byline. Take, for example, this column from one month before the election where the columnist described how easily both Romney and his father were “brainwashed” for purposes of political expediency, and how Mitt’s principles changed with a turn of the political cards.
Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom famously predicted that the candidate would use an Etch-a-Sketch approach in the general election to erase his previous positions. But nobody predicted that the entire exercise would occur in the space of one week — and just a month before the election. Stranger yet, Romney hasn’t been shifting all his views to the center in recent days. While his domestic policies are moderating, his foreign policy is moving to more of a neocon hard line. The only consistency is inconsistency: Whatever Romney’s positions were, they are no longer. As his dad might have said, it has been a very thorough job.
Or you could skim through this column from a month later, where Milbank celebrated Romney’s electoral defeat, declaring that he had failed to convince Americans that, “he wasn’t an out-of-touch millionaire unconcerned about the little people — that he was more than a caricature who liked to fire people, who didn’t care about the very poor or the 47 percent who pay no income tax, who has friends who own NASCAR teams.” Or, heck… just read this one. Or this one. Or nearly anything that Dana Milbank wrote during the summer and fall of 2012 when he mentioned Romney’s name.
But all that’s been forgotten and forgiven now, and Milbank isn’t at all shy about revealing the actual reason. It’s that Orrin Hatch has been an unapologetic Trump supporter. None of his political positions have changed. He hasn’t flip-flopped on the issues. He just said nice things about the President. That makes him a bad man and no doubt a Danger to America. But Romney has openly criticized Donald Trump and presumably would do so from his new seat in the Senate. That makes him a good man and a Friend of America.
None of this is particularly novel. It’s the new normal in liberal circles. As Fox News Insider reminded us this week, you can expect all sorts of righteous opposition to any additional funding for the border wall. But it wasn’t always that way. Back in 2006, two notable senators voted in favor of additional funding to build another 700 miles of barriers, fencing or whatever you choose to call it. Their names were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But now everyone is against additional barriers on the southern border for no other reason than the fact that Trump’s rally audiences chanted Build The Wall.
These days, all you really need to do is oppose something that the President supports and incur his wrath on Twitter. You’ll immediately become a hero at the Washington Post and the New York Times, with an offer for some prime slots providing commentary on MSNBC soon to follow. And any conservative positions you may have taken in the past will be immediately forgiven.