WASHINGTON — For the past year, we've been relentlessly reminded that Republicans didn't especially love their front-running presidential candidate.
Mitt Romney wasn't conservative enough, they said. He flip-flopped. He couldn't connect with everyday Americans. He was too squeaky clean. He's a “conehead,” according to one commentator.
After months of such pitiless refrains, these tropes morphed into the conventional wisdom: Romney couldn't beat Barack Obama. It was hard to imagine what it must have been like to be Romney, scorned and maligned by his own tribe. Nevertheless, he persisted as though he were skipping down a rose-strewn path rather than hacking his way through the bramble bush.
Even now, with his nomination virtually assured, Republicans are said to be falling in line behind the former Massachusetts governor because, well, what choice do they have, really? He may not be the best, goes the shrug, but he's the best they've got.
Now it appears Obama is getting a taste of Romney's stew. Democrats seem to be inching away from their man, undermining and diminishing the president with a thousand tiny cuts. Not even his strongest, alleged ally, Bill Clinton, can stay on message. Of course, Clinton has never really been Obama's friend, despite his assertions to the contrary.
Does Clinton think Obama has been a good president? Of course not. He thinks he was a good president and that his wife would have been better than Obama. In 2008, when Clinton infamously dismissed Obama's imminent primary victory in South Carolina by noting that even Jesse Jackson had won there, he was showing his true colors. Translation: Obama won because he was black, not because he was the best candidate.
Clinton's intended point that blacks vaulted Obama over the bar wasn't false. Blacks constituted more than half of all South Carolina primary voters and 78 percent of them voted for Obama. Even so, the observation could have been left unsaid.