MITT ROMNEY WILL NOT LIVE BY YOUR BOURGEOIS MORAL STANDARDS
I'm fascinated by the way Mitt Romney has become a proud, unabashed moral relativist.
It used to be that politicians dissociated themselves from supporters or staffers who said or did unsavory things because they wanted to be seen as believers in the notion that life requires certain standards of conduct. A lot of this has always been self-serving, of course, but the point has always been to identify oneself with the notion that there really are lines of decency that shouldn't be crossed.
Mitt Romney, as Byron York reminds us, thinks the morality of one's associates is irrelevant and calling out improper conduct is nothing but theater. He's not gonna live by your bourgeois, petty moral standards, maaaan!
Team Romney: Not gonna play repudiation game
Mitt Romney's refusal to repudiate Donald Trump sends a signal, both to Democrats and the voting public: With the nation's future at stake in this November's election, Romney will not accommodate calls that he disown supporters who make ill-considered, unpopular, or sometimes outrageous statements on matters not fundamental to the campaign.
(Let's stop right there -- what if Barack Obama had declared in 2008 that he wouldn't play the "repudiation game" with regard to "outrageous statements" such as ... oh, say, years-old remarks about America made by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? Would Romney have backed up Obama's decision? I'm guessing not.)
[One] reason Romney is wary of such concessions is that John McCain tried them, and they didn't do him any good. For example, in February 2008, a local Ohio radio host, Bill Cunningham, introduced McCain at a rally in Cincinnati. In the introduction, Cunningham referred to Obama three times by his full name, which at the time some Republicans feared would open them up to unspecified accusations of intolerance. "At one point, the media will quit taking sides in this thing," Cunningham said, "and start covering Barack Hussein Obama." McCain immediately apologized and disavowed Cunningham's remarks. Eleven months later, of course, Obama took the oath of office, beginning, "I, Barack Hussein Obama..." In retrospect, the Cunningham episode looked ridiculous.
Er, no. In retrospect, McCain looks wise. A couple of months later -- mere days before the election -- Cunningham declared that "Obama wants to gas the Jews." A couple of weeks prior to that, he said:
And around Ohio, the number [of newly registered voters] is 666,000. Six-six-six. The mark of the beast. The great majority, of course, are registered by ACORN. The mark of the beast. And who is the beast? Who gave ACORN $800,000 as part of this criminal conspiracy? Who was the lawyer for ACORN? Who conducted ACORN seminars to tell ACORN employees and others how to cheat the system? Barack Hussein Obama. I may declare him to be the beast. Six-six-six. It could be the end of all days.
Would it have helped McCain to have those clips on the news after his own failure to distance himself from Cunningham?
And why are McCain's repudiations the only ones we're talking about here? Obama repudiated Wright, and Obama won. Why is Romney so certain that repudiation equals perceived weakness? Does he really believe that?
I also wonder if Romney just has a visceral desire to out-macho his predecessor at the top of the GOP ticket the way George W. Bush wanted to out-macho his own father (and, possibly, Romney wants to out-macho his).
(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)