Of course if the Left was really concerned about Mitt Romney's association with Donald Trump they'd call on Barack Obama to give back that $1M donation he got from vile, disgusting, misogynist Bill Maher some time back. But not only are they not concerned about Romney's best interests, they also have no interest in talking about the issues that really matter to most Americans and Mitt Romney knows it:
Mitt Romney's refusal to repudiate Donald Trump sends a signal, both to Democrats and the voting public: With the nation's future at stake in this November's election, Romney will not accommodate calls that he disown supporters who make ill-considered, unpopular, or sometimes outrageous statements on matters not fundamental to the campaign.RELATED: Romney clinches GOP nomination with Texas win
Romney aides believe that cooperating with Democrats and media figures who are demanding a Trump disavowal would most certainly lead to more calls for more disavowals of other figures in the future -- leaving Romney spending as much time apologizing for his supporters as campaigning for president. Team Romney views it as a silly and one-sided game designed to distract voters from the central issue of the race, which they remain convinced will be President Obama's handling of the economy.
By one-sided, they mean not only that Obama has not disavowed SuperPAC contributor Bill Maher for a number of Maher's statements that were particularly insulting to Republican women. They also mean the press, with, as Team Romney sees it, questionable associations of its own. Has David Gregory, moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," repudiated his colleague Al Sharpton, the MSNBC host with a decades-long record of incendiary statements and actions? And has, say, the New York Times columnist Gail Collins repudiated her colleague Charles Blow, who once wrote to Romney, "Stick that in your magic underwear"? Romney, his team believes, understands that the calls for him to repudiate Trump over the issue of birtherism -- and future calls to repudiate this or that supporter next week or next month over some other issue -- are at the core all about politics.
Another reason Romney is wary of such concessions is that John McCain tried them, and they didn't do him any good. For example, in February 2008, a local Ohio radio host, Bill Cunningham, introduced McCain at a rally in Cincinnati. In the introduction, Cunningham referred to Obama three times by his full name, which at the time some Republicans feared would open them up to unspecified accusations of intolerance. "At one point, the media will quit taking sides in this thing," Cunningham said, "and start covering Barack Hussein Obama." McCain immediately apologized and disavowed Cunningham's remarks. Eleven months later, of course, Obama took the oath of office, beginning, "I, Barack Hussein Obama…" In retrospect, the Cunningham episode looked ridiculous. But at the time, it contributed to an image of McCain in retreat.
So the bottom line is, Romney is determined to stay away from anything that distracts him from the main issue of the campaign. In the end, the thinking goes, the heart of the campaign will always be the economy and Barack Obama's stewardship of it. Repudiating, or not repudiating, Donald Trump won't change that.