Projection is a hell of a thing.
In 2012, Democrats accused then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney of being a retrograde sexist, a McCarthyite, and an uber-elite who disdained half the country as entitled takers.
Now, the Democratic Party’s entire identity is that exact caricature of the former Massachusetts governor.
As consultant and National Review contributing editor Daniel Foster notes, it’s positively Shakespearean.
In 2012, Romney said of his efforts as governor to address pay equity, “I had the chance to pull together a Cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men. ... I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks?' And they brought us whole binders full of women."
Democrats condemned the remarks immediately, claiming the Republican nominee had said something problematic. Absent from their criticisms, however, was any clear explanation for why Romney’s comment was so terrible or why it was worse than the fact that the Obama White House paid its female staffers less than its male staffers. Democrats maintained simply that Romney’s remarks were proof of his backward views, the continued tokenization of women in the workforce by the patriarchy, etc., etc.
Now, President-elect Joe Biden is a hero to his party for having nominated a woman to serve as vice president because she is a woman. That’s not hyperbole. Biden explicitly pledged during the 2020 campaign to nominate a woman as his running mate (because a woman's place is apparently in "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived”). Sen. Kamala Harris of California was chosen for this reason alone, not for any talent or experience. Biden did not need Harris’s help securing the Golden State. He certainly did not need her help securing the black vote. Harris herself is not a particularly gifted politician, as her dramatic burnout in the 2020 Democratic primary made clear. But she’s a woman, and that’s apparently all that is required to serve in the No. 2 spot in the Biden administration. It’s good now to treat women as token hires.
In 2012, Democrats also mocked Romney as a dusty Cold War holdover after he warned that Russia is the United States’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”
Now, Democrats see a Russian agent under every doily. Indeed, the opposition party has spent the entirety of the Trump presidency conspiracy-mongering over supposedly stolen elections, Russian disinformation, and baseless allegations that the Kremlin itself may have installed Trump and others directly into positions of power in the U.S. It’s good now to act as paranoid as they accused Romney of being.
In 2012, the Republican candidate earned his worst news coverage of the presidential election after a leaked video showed him saying 47% of voters will support the Democratic nominee “no matter what.”
Romney, now a U.S. senator representing Utah, said:
There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. That an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48 — he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years.
Now, Democratic politicians intent on disenfranchising voters in “red” states say the Electoral College must be destroyed. It is commonplace also to hear many of these same lawmakers and their supporters complain that “blue” states are the real economic producers, while the “red” states, those useless, broke nobodies, suck at the government teat. It’s good now to disparage, write off, and even conspire against that percentage of the country that votes differently.
Again, projection is a hell of a thing.