#RomneyStrength: The Birth of a Meme

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Here’s how Twitter memes are born. First, one of Mitt Romney’s advisors said this to the Washington Post:

“There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview….“In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations — the respect for America has gone down, there’s not a sense of American resolve and we can’t even protect sovereign American property.”

A few hours later, Benjy Sarlin of TPM gave the quote this gloss:

A top foreign policy aide to Mitt Romney suggested Thursday that the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens would never have happened if Romney were president. There wouldn’t even be anti-American protests in the Middle East if Romney were in charge, the aide said.

Josh Marshall then tweeted a promo for Sarlin’s piece:

Romney Adviser: If Romney were prez no one wld attack r embassies because of Romney strength.

And thus was born the #RomneyStrength hashtag. A few examples:

@MlTTR0MNEY: A cop pulled me over once. I let him off with a warning. #Romneystrength

@UOJim: Mitt Romney once pulled Corey Booker out of a burning building. #RomneyStrength

@buckaroo1260: He swam the Delaware ahead of Washington to clear the way. #Romneystrength

@radiobobkansas: Lance Armstrong had all those titles taken away because he was caught using #Romneystrength

@Clarknt67: Mitt has fired more people than @realDonaldTrump. #RomneyStrength

@erinscafe: Built his tax shelters with his bare hands. #Romneystrength

@AzureGhost: Can lose his head when all about him are keeping theirs. #Romneystrength

@JoshuaGreen: woulda freed Willie in the first five minutes of the movie. #Romneystrength

So there you have it. Blink and you’d miss it. By Friday it will probably be completely forgotten by all but a few diehard Twitter junkies.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.