The NY Times published an opinion piece today in which Howard Wolfson, a former Hillary Clinton communications director, laments the fact that Democrats’ over-the-top attacks on previous Republican candidates has left them no room to step up those attacks when it comes to Donald Trump:
“There’s enough truth to it to compel some self-reflection,” Wolfson, who was the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008, told me this week…
“I worked on the presidential campaign in 2004,” he said, referring to John Kerry’s contest against George W. Bush. He added that he was also “active in discussing” John McCain when he ran for the presidency in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
“And I’m quite confident I employed language that, in retrospect, was hyperbolic and inaccurate, language that cheapened my ability — our ability — to talk about this moment with accuracy and credibility.”
There’s a reference to a recent piece by Hot Air alum Noah Rothman who noted the strange new respect Mitt Romney was getting from Democrats including President Obama. But as the Times piece notes, that’s not how thing played out in 2012:
Democrats were indeed dire about Romney, even though many of them, including President Obama, now speak of him fondly, as a Republican whose prescriptions might be flawed but whose heart is true.
Four years ago, he was a bloodsucking capitalist vampire whose indictment of Obamacare was ipso facto proof of his racism. In The Daily Beast, he was called a “race-mongering pyromaniac.” On MSNBC, he was accused, by a black commentator, of the “niggerization” of Obama into “the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.”
This actually omits three of the worst smears against Romney during the 2012 election. Remember the accusation that he was responsible for a woman’s death from cancer? That was made by a PAC supporting Obama’s reelection but the man in the ad had previously told his story on a conference call with for the Obama campaign. He also appeared in a separate ad run by the campaign. Several organizations looked at the claims made in the ad and judged them so misleading as to be false.
Then there was the fact-free accusation leveled by Senator Harry Reid that Romney had not paid taxes.
That claim was a lie but Harry Reid has never apologized for making it. On the contrary, when asked about it last year he smirked, “Um…Romney didn’t win, did he?”
Finally, let’s not forget the widely repeated claim that Mitt Romney hated dogs. The Washington Post noted how widespread this was at the time:
Late-night host David Letterman has been giving the dog near-nightly shout-outs. There are parody Web videos, “Dogs Aren’t Luggage” T-shirts and Facebook groups. (“Dogs Against Romney,” which protested outside last month’s Westminster dog show, has more than 38,000 Facebook fans.) The New Yorker featured a cartoon, with Rick Santorum riding in Romney’s rooftop dog carrier, on its cover last week. In the five years since the story was revealed, New York Times columnist Gail Collins has mentioned Seamus in at least 50 columns.
Even President Obama got into spreading that one. Unlike the other two stories this one was at least based in reality but the Seamus incident was promoted well-beyond its significance.
That’s three and I’m still leaving out the “war on women” attack claiming Romney wanted to outlaw contraception. Remember this interrogation?
Romney was portrayed as a rich, out-of-touch, dog-hating, misogynist, tax-evading, vampire capitalist who didn’t care about a woman dying of cancer after she lost her insurance. Simply put, the Democratic outrage machine was turned to 11 for a moderate, blue-state governor who created the precursor to Obamacare. So, yes, if you want to know why Republicans tune out the Democratic-media-complex every four years, this is why.