In honor of Mitt Romney, who really knows how to tick off Republicans, I have a quote from his Dad and the stunning response.
In 1967, as he prepared to challenge President Lyndon Johnson, Romney took a completely different position that U.S. involvement in Vietnam had been a mistake from the beginning. In a TV interview with a Detroit station, he was confronted with the previous statement and basically accused of a flip-flop. (Plus ca change.)
Romney replied: “When I came back from Viet Nam, I’d just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.” He added that after the trip, he made a deeper study of the history of the conflict and concluded that it had been a “tragic” blunder to get U.S. troops into an Asian land war and that in fact it hadn’t been necessary to send U.S. soldiers to prevent a Chinese takeover of Southeast Asia.
The retort, generally attributed to Eugene McCarthy (it’s disputed whether McCarthy said this), helped end his campaign:
“Romney says he was brainwashed,” said McCarthy. “I think a light rinse would have been sufficient.”