The Republican establishment never especially liked Mitt Romney, though they learned to keep quiet about that once he became their presidential candidate. But now that he’s gone and lost the election, many GOPers are coming forward to distance themselves from Romney, whose recent donor conference call — during which he blamed President Obama’s win on the “gifts” he offered to women, minorities, and young voters — wasn’t very good for the party’s image.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who called the “gifts” comments “absolutely wrong” as soon as they were made public, appeared on Fox News Sunday to reiterate his criticism. “We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote,” he said. “If we want people to like us we have to like them first. And you don’t start to like people by saying their votes were bought.” (Jindal also had some harsh words for the Republican rape caucus: “We also don’t need to be saying stupid things.”) South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham concurred on NBC’s Meet the Press:
“We’re in a big hole…We’re not getting out of it by comments like that. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. [Romney] keeps digging.”
Even people who don’t need to get re-elected under the Romney-stained Republican banner jumped on the remarks. Newt Gingrich called Romney’s words “nuts” on ABC’s This Week. “I mean, first of all, it’s insulting,” he said. And second of all: “The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can’t offer a better future that is believable to more people, we’re not going to win.” On the same show, conservative columnist George Will offered a similarly critical take on the conference call, which he (like many of us) saw as a sequel to the “47 percent” video:
It’s been well said that you have a political problem when the voters don’t like you, but you’ve got a real problem when the voters think you don’t like them. And that is — Mitt Romney was picking up the theme he improvidently put before the country and inadvertently with his 47 percent video during the campaign.
Basically, Will concluded, Romney needs to “quit despising the American people.” Of course, when it comes to Romney, that’s much easier said than done — especially now that it’s become clear that the American people — Democrats and Republicans alike — kind of despise him.