The Ruling Class Romneys and the Media

Governor Romney was deeply unhappy with the candidate who seemed unstoppable as he rolled towards the Republican presidential nomination. So he decided to go public with his complaint and summoned the media to hear him.  Said Romney:

If his views deviate as indicated from the heritage of our Party, I will do everything in my power to keep him from becoming the Party’s Presidential candidate.

The media loved it. Romney received tons of coverage. Just one thing. This wasn’t Mitt Romney saying this about Donald Trump. The man who went out of his way to attack the candidate Republican voters had clearly begun to favor was Michigan Governor George Romney - Mitt’s Dad.

And the prospective nominee Romney was so upset about and vowed to defeat wasn’t Donald Trump - it was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Aka “Mr. Conservative.” The man who is today revered by conservatives as the Godfather of the Reagan Revolution. 

Now comes son Mitt doing to Donald Trump exactly what Dad did to Barry. And notice this. 

Check the beginning of Mitt Romney’s speech attacking Trump the other day, bold print supplied:

I am not here to announce my candidacy for office. I am not going to endorse a candidate today. Instead, I would like to offer my perspective on the nominating process of my party. In 1964, days before the presidential election which, incidentally, we lost, Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America saying that it was a "Time for Choosing." He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I'm no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment but I believe with all my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country.

Catch the game there? Back there in 1964 Dad George was busy assailing Barry Goldwater - the very man that Reagan’s “Time for Choosing” speech was designed to support. Now comes son Mitt happily blurring a very vivid split between Reagan and his own father - citing that Reagan speech hoping the rest of us won’t notice that Reagan gave that speech on behalf of a man George Romney had assailed in the day as an extremist whose conservatism deviated “from the heritage of our Party.”  With George Romney also saying that he would “do everything in my power to keep him” from being nominated. It should also be noted that George Romney kept his promise, and when Goldwater was nominated the senior Romney went out of his way to oppose Goldwater in the fall election against Lyndon Johnson, delivering Michigan to Johnson and quite happily contributing to LBJ’s ability to pass the “Great Society” legislation that Ronald Reagan made a career opposing.

In 1964, of course, there was no cable news. But the media of the day devoted gobs of attention to George Romney’s battle against Goldwater, and Romney wasn’t alone either in painting a picture for the media of Goldwater as an unstable extremist who was also…hint hint…something of a racist.

Here’s Goldwater himself, writing in his memoirs With No Apologies on the conduct of George Romney and his fellow Establishment Republicans and how they worked the media of the day:

Lyndon Johnson grabbed the big brass ring in November, but it was my fellow Republicans, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton, George Romney, and other members of the ‘Stop Goldwater’ cabal, who made Lyndon Johnson’s victory such a runaway. The press played a strong supporting role, but for the most part it functioned as a carrier of the destructive statements, devastating personal criticism, and outright falsehoods of my fellow Republicans.

By the time the convention opened I had branded as a fascist, a racist, a trigger-happy warmonger, a nuclear madman, and the candidate who couldn’t win. 

…I’ve never quite understood how it is that Democrats can engage in fierce, sometimes vicious primary contests and then unite behind the winner. Republicans, in what may be a reflection of our party’s symbol, never forget and refuse to forgive.

But there was one member of the media that got the game that was being played by Goldwater and his fellow journalists. John S. Knight, president and editor of the Detroit Free Press didn’t support Goldwater, but was incensed by the media portrayals of the GOP nominee. IN June of 1964 Knight took to his own editorial page and said this:

I can no longer stand silently by and watch the shabby treatment Goldwater is getting from most of the news media.

Their deep concern for the GOP’s future would be more persuasive if any considerable number of them had ever voted for a Republican nominee - of the syndicated columnists I can think of only a few who are not savagely cutting down Senator Goldwater day after day. 

Some of the television commentators discuss Goldwater with evident disdain and contempt. Editorial cartoonists portray him as belonging to the Neanderthal age or as a relic of the nineteenth century. It is the fashion of editorial writers to persuade themselves that Goldwater’s followers are either kooks or Birchers. This simply isn’t so. The Goldwater movement represents a mass protest by conservatively-minded people against foreign aid, excessive welfare, high taxes, foreign policy, and the concentration of power in the federal government.

So. Here we are a full fifty two years later - that would be half a century plus two - and the same old combo that Mitt Romney’s Dad engaged in to try and wreck Goldwater and the conservative movement is at it again. This time led by George Romney’s son. George Romney’s son Mitt being the guy who was a registered Independent in Massachusetts until 1993 - when he suddenly declared himself a Republican so he could run against then-Senator Ted Kennedy. Mitt won the nomination and when pressed in debate by Teddy about his views on Ronald reagan candidate and brand new Republican Mitt swore up and down that he had no intention of returning to “Reagan-Bush.” Like father, like son. 

As the late John Knight noted, the media of the day in 1964 made a cause out of opposing Goldwater and conservatives. They amplified every charge against Goldwater from his fellow Republicans. And today Mitt Romney is following the exact game plan his father played. Today the press playing a supportive role in the media attacks on Trump (to borrow from Goldwater) are the editorial boards of the left-wing  Washington Post, the New York Times, Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times plus others. Take a look at this CNN story headlined this way - and compare to that long ago editorial by the Detroit Free Press’ John Knight. The CNN headline is this -bold print supplied:

Major editorial boards condemn Trump

The story begins this way: 

(CNN)The editorial boards of the Washington Post and the Boston Globe both penned condemnations of Donald Trump this week, urging the Republican Party to reject him.

On Tuesday, the Boston Globe published a scathing editorial titled ‘Massachusetts voters must stop Donald Trump.’ The authors wrote that ‘stopping Donald Trump is imperative -- and not just for his fellow Republicans.’

And on Thursday, after Trump's resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses, the editors of the Washington Post followed suit. Under the headline "GOP leaders, you must do everything in your power to stop Trump," the paper's editors exhorted the Republican Party to repudiate the man who is increasingly likely to be their nominee in November.

‘GOP leaders, you must do everything in your power to stop Trump,’ the editors warned, cautioning party leadership against warming to Trump for the chance at the White House.

‘History will not look kindly on GOP leaders who fail to do everything in their power to prevent a bullying demagogue from becoming their standard-bearer,’ they wrote. ‘The unthinkable is starting to look like the inevitable.’

Hello? Recognize the pattern here? In 1964, George Romney - and his fellow RINOs - go out there to castigate Barry Goldwater. And in John Knight’s words they got quite the following from  “most of the news media.” Today, as that CNN story illustrates, there are all those Ruling Class liberal editorial boards demanding that, in the words of the Washington Post editorial board,  "GOP leaders, you must do everything in your power to stop Trump.” And within a political nano-second there is George Romney’s son Mitt bending the knee and doing exactly what the Ruling Class elite media demands. Wow. Some things never change.

In his small classic The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It, Boston University professor emeritus of international relations Angelo Codevilla (with an introduction by Rush Limbaugh) described this Romney/RINO/media combination this way:

America’s disease (of the Ruling Class) is all the more deadly for being bipartisan. Republican and Democratic office-holders and their retinues share a similar presumption to dominate, and show fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class, almost a caste.

Bingo.

There is in fact no difference between what George Romney and the media of 1964 did to Barry Goldwater and what Mitt Romney and those editorial boards of 2016 are trying to do to Donald Trump. This is the Ruling Class in action. If anything the Ruling Class determination to dominate is even more pronounced in 2016 than it was in 1964 - with reason. In 1964 there was no cable news, the Internet wasn’t even a concept and Rush Limbaugh was a teenager. In 2016 cable news floods the airwaves with dissenters to the Ruling Class, all of America is swept up in the Internet and Rush Limbaugh and talk radio dominate the air waves.

Make no mistake. What is afoot in the circles of the GOP elite, aided and abetted by the liberals of various media outlets - the Ruling Class - is nothing less than an attempt by Mitt Romney to do to Donald Trump in 2016 what was done by father George Romney to Barry Goldwater in1964. And never forget that if Donald Trump didn’t exist - the target would be Ted Cruz. 

Some things never change. Unless, of course, they do.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord is a contributing writer for NewsBusters