Fair-weather friends turn their back on Republican candidate
THE change in Republicans’ attitude towards Mitt Romney in the weeks since his defeat has been “stunning”, says one of his top advisors.
Romney was only last month being embraced as the poster boy of the party, and had the unwavering support of his constituents.
Now, those who campaigned for his victory are turning against him, and he is being dismissed as a prime example of how not to campaign for the presidency.
The attitude of those who previously supported Romney is incredible, says Republican advisor Dan Senor.
The consensus among those at a Cincinnati rally held for Romney’s campaign was that he was “the next Reagan,” Senor told MSNBC.
“They were on television, it was unbelievable, it was five, six days later, absolutely eviscerating [Romney],” he said.
In contrast to the accepted strategy throughout the Romney campaign, in which fellow Republicans would seek to cover up or excuse his many gaffes, many in the party are now degenerating Romney’s remarks with fervour.
The perfect example comes in the form of Romney’s leaked call to donors after his defeat, in which he seeks to lay blame for the loss.
In the call, he claims Obama won the election because he focused on giving targeting groups “a big gift”.
These groups include Hispanics, women, and college students.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who supported Romney throughout his campaign, was ruthless in his response to these remarks.
“I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong,” the Washington Examiners’ Byron York reported him as saying.
“If we’re going to continue to be a competitive party… we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions.”
His comments were clearly intended to dissociate himself entirely from Romney, who was widely panned, as Patricia Zengerle writes, for effectively writing off 47% of the US population as bludgers.
Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Senator, was enthusiastic in her endorsement of Romney throughout his campaign, before changing her tune.
At one point, she was so ingratiated with the Romney camp that she was being named as his potential running mate – a claim she called an “honour”.
In the wake of his defeat, however, she has distanced herself from Romney, and is now claiming she does not agree with his “gifts” comments, writes The Huffington Post’s Paige Lavender.
This distancing strategy is also being used by Senator Marco Rubio, reports The Huffington Post’s Jon Ward.
“It’s really hard to get people to listen to you on economic growth, on tax rates, on health care if they think you want to deport their grandmother,” Rubio told The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum.
The comment is a response to Romney’s previous claims, reported by the Associated Press, that “self-deportation” was the answer to illegal immigrants.
Interestingly, both Jindal and Rubio are potential candidates for the 2016 election, and this may explain their eagerness to dismiss Romney’s policies.
In the wake of Romney’s spectacular defeat, the best strategy for anyone looking to run may be to completely divorce themselves from his campaign.
Republicans took a punt on Romney, with his flip-flopping policies, his Mormonism, and his reputation as not being a true conservative.
It was a punt, quite clearly, that did not work.
The search is now on for someone with a completely different strategy – and reminders by potential candidates that they supported Romney throughout his campaign will not help their cause.
Though this may save the Republican party, the fallout for Romney – who is now widely seen as having no political future at all – is immense, reports The Huffington Post’s Jon Ward.
In the fair-weather friend world of US politics, the man who was to be president is now little more than politically irrelevant.