Like my PJ colleague, Victor Davis Hanson, I too am pessimistic about the future of our country. Like many of us, I fell into the trap of thinking that, during the election of 2012, the country would somehow come to its senses and evict from the White House an obviously unqualified charlatan with a threadbare act, and that we would begin the slow restoration of Foundational values to the Republic. Andy McCarthy, Roger Simon, Victor, Roger Kimball, Dr. Helen, J. Christian Adams — all wrong. And these are not stupid people; neither is Michael Barone, who also fell on his face.
But we have an excuse — we were had. By the GOP nominee, Willard “Mitt” Romney, a man with apparently serious daddy issues who never should have run because, deep down, he knew he wouldn’t win. And therefore didn’t even really try. If Obamacare is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the American body politic, then Romney’s candidacy runs a close second. (And here we thought that the wretched John McCain was the worst candidate we’d ever get.) It’s time that conservatives learn and absorb that lesson, and ensure that it never happens again.
What else to make of a new documentary film, Mitt, whose principal message was recounted by Byron York the other day:
For viewers who follow politics closely, especially for Republicans who desperately wanted to defeat Barack Obama, there is a revelation in “Mitt” that is not just unexpected but deeply disheartening. At a critical moment in the campaign — the two weeks in October encompassing the first and second general election debates — the Romney portrayed in “Mitt” struggled with a nagging pessimism and defeatism, unable to draw confidence even from a decisive initial debate victory over President Obama. Deep down inside, the Romney seen onscreen in “Mitt” seems almost resigned to losing to Obama in those crucial showdowns.
Yes, you read that right; as they say in Cajun country, it’s enough to make you want to slap your mama:
It didn’t start well. Team Romney went into the first debate bruised and reeling from the controversy over Romney’s “47 percent” remarks. “Mitt” includes a scene from Romney’s debate preparation in which Sen. Rob Portman, playing the president, used the controversy to nail Romney in a quiet but devastating way. The “47 percent” statement was so damaging, Portman/Obama argued, not only because it was made behind closed doors — and thus represented Romney’s true feelings — but also because it was the foundation of Romney’s policy proposals. Romney didn’t have a very good answer.
On top of gloom about the fallout from “47 percent,” there was a general fear in the Romney camp about Obama’s debating skills. “We were really nervous, just thinking about President Obama,” son Josh Romney said. “He’s a great speaker and he has the mantle of the presidency.”
In a family get-together before the debate, someone in the family noted that Romney had done well in many, many Republican debates. “Will this debate be different?” one son asked. “Will you be intimidated by the fact that [Obama] is president?”
“Sure,” Romney said. “Are you kidding?”
“We shouldn’t be intimidated,” interjected wife Ann, sounding concerned. “You should not be intimidated by him. I am not kidding, Mitt.”
“He’s a very good debater,” York quotes Romney saying of Obama. “He’s a lot better than the other guys.”