In the most actively cited example of the Republican nominee’s foresight, Romneyites point to the candidate’s hardline rhetoric last year against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration. During the campaign, Romney frequently criticized Obama for foolishly attempting to make common cause with the Kremlin, and repeatedly referred to Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe.”
Many observers found this fixation strange, and Democrats tried to turn it into a punchline. A New York Times editorial in March of last year said Romney’s assertions regarding Russia represented either “a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics.” And in an October debate, Obama sarcastically mocked his opponent’s Russia rhetoric. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” the president quipped at the time.
That line still chafes Robert O’Brien, a Los Angeles lawyer and friend of Romney’s who served as a foreign policy adviser.
“Everyone thought, Oh my goodness that is so clever and Mitt’s caught in the Cold War and doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” O’Brien said. “Well guess what. With all of these foreign policy initiatives — Syria, Iran, [Edward] Snowden — who’s out there causing problems for America? It’s Putin and the Russians.”
Indeed, earlier this summer, Moscow defiantly refused to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to the United States, prompting Obama to cancel a meeting he had scheduled with Putin during the Group of 20 summit. Russia has blocked United Nations action against Syria. And on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers that Russia was one of the countries supplying Syria with chemical weapons.
To Romney’s fans, these episodes illustrate just how unfairly their candidate was punished during the election for speaking truths the rest of the country would eventually come around to.
Just another example of how America opted for glibness over substance. But then, the shallowness of our liberal elites is nothing new.