Who knew that Mitt Romney was such a fan of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign?
“How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?” Romney told thousands of Republican delegates, alternates and hangers-on Thursday night. “Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal.”
Speaking of the “fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president” Americans felt upon Obama’s election, the man who will now seek to prevent the Democratic president’s re-election told the fortieth Republican National Convention about how much he had hoped Obama would succeed “because I wanted America to succeed.”
But it wasn’t just that citizens wanted America to succeed. As Romney noted: “Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get ahead a little more, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom who’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or charity.… This was the hope and change America voted for.”
In this, Romney was right.
When Americans went to the polls in 2008, the clear majority voted for Barack Obama because they wanted a president who would address the economic missteps and misdeeds that had caused a stock market meltdown on the eve of the election—handing the new president what even one of his harshest critics, Republican vice president nominee Paul Ryan, admitted in his Wednesday night acceptance speech was “a crisis.”
The response to that crisis, Americans hoped, would do more than just bring a measure of stability to the markets. They hoped that it would bring a measure of prosperity to them and to their communities.
Unfortunately, Obama and his party did not have partners in addressing the crisis.
While Romney says he wanted Obama to succeed, Rush Limbaugh said before the new president was inaugurated in January, 2009, “I hope Obama fails.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on behalf of the president’s legislative partners: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Paul Ryan saw to it: rallying opposition to a stimulus that was designed to jumpstart the economy, opposing healthcare reforms that mirrored those Romney implemented as the governor of Massachusetts, and refusing even the most minimal compromises as the nation’s credit rating was threatened during a absurd fight over whether to raise borrowing limits that Democratic and Republican presidents had raised in the past.
Even in the rare instances where Obama put the needs of the nation—and the moment—above politics, other members of “the loyal opposition” merely opposed. One of them even argued against providing the support that was needed to preserve the American auto industry, writing an article that declared: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”