Now that the election is over, and Mitt Romney has retired to private life, I’ve noticed that many of the newest articles about him in the MSM and posts about him in the blogosphere seem to engender a host of incredibly vicious personal comments from the sore winners on the left.
It would seem odd, wouldn’t it? Romney lost, and almost certainly will not enter national politics again. He waged a rather polite campaign under daunting circumstances. He’s clearly a good man on the personal level, whatever anyone may think of his politics.
And yet the hatefest goes on. Much of it is just an example of the free-floating rage on the left, a relic of the extreme Bush Derangement Syndrome in which they macerated for eight long years. But there wasn’t a similar post-election rage at John McCain. Why?
I think it’s because Obama sets the tone and the rest follow. Obama’s campaign against McCain was neither especially vicious nor especially personal. But Obama’s fight against Romney was almost entirely that, and relentless too. The focus was class warfare (one of Obama’s favorites) and attacks on Romney as a person, and the minions picked up on the “rich white guy out to exploit the people” meme and ran with it. They are still running, hard and fast.
Here’s a comment I found at PJ that describes the phenomenon exactly:
In what kind of twisted mind is it necessary to continue to vilify the guy to the point of denying his own humanity? The election is over, he is not coming back. There is no need to continue to play the smear games. The most frightening thing to me is that many people seem to have internalized the hate. They cannot turn it off. It is not a thoughtful reaction, but instead a reflex. It demonstrates the power of the media in relentlessly teaching the Obama followers their talking points. Now that the talking points have been internalized, [they] are apparently not easy to exorcise.
I would add that it’s not just the power of the media, it’s the power of Obama himself. He acts as a smooth, subtle releaser for hatred of the right and all Republicans (not just Mitt Romney), by blaming the other party as bad actors to a degree I really haven’t seen in previous presidents.
I saw the results myself, to my shock, among quite a few of my friends right before the election. I didn’t expect them to support Romney or even like him. But there was gratuitous, vicious hatred, a kind of group festival of contempt for him. Remember, it was said that Obama had “contempt” for Romney? Stuff like this filters down even to people who are relatively politically uninvolved. When my friends parrot talking points like that, you know the message has been effective. And although I haven’t talked to these particular people about it since the election, I’d be very surprised if their hatred has dissipated—or ever will.
That seems to be the price of running for president on the Republican ticket these days. How many decent people would be willing to pay it? It’s the flip side of the unhealthy veneration of Obama, by the way. From the start, one of the “tells” that something was very very wrong with Obama was not just the near-worship of the man, but his not-so-subtle encouragement of what you might call a cult of personality.
An ominous sign, both psychologically and politically.