Democratic opposition researchers scurrying to unearth the sins of potential Republican presidential candidates can rest easy: GOP operatives, especially on Mitt Romney’s team, have already done a lot of the work.
“There’s an awful lot of oppo sitting in Mitt Romney’s inbox,” says Rick Wilson, a Florida Republican with ties to Senator Marco Rubio and former governor Jeb Bush.
And that opposition research came from the candidates themselves as they divulged a great deal of personal information to Romney and his top campaign aides during the vice-presidential vetting process in 2012. Those candidates, many of them too new to federal office to run for president at the time, now stand as some of the most formidable competitors for the Republican nomination in 2016. If Romney decides to run, he’ll have an exhaustive understanding of his potential rivals’ weaknesses. If he decides not to run — Jeb Bush’s avowed interest diminishes the likelihood that Romney will try again — rival consultants think his aides might take that information to other campaigns.
...Indeed, as Robert Penn Warren wrote in All the King's Men:
Some Republican consultants simply don’t believe the Romney team’s claims that the files have been destroyed. “Yeah, bulls***, they’re sitting somewhere,” says one GOP operative, who notes that Romney’s vetters produced “very detailed” reports on the weaknesses of the governor’s potential running mates.
For nothing is lost, nothing is ever lost. There is always the clue, the canceled check, the smear of lipstick, the footprint in the canna bed, the condom on the dark path, the twitch in the old wound, the baby shoes dipped in bronze, the taint in the blood stream. And all times are one time, and all those dead in the past never lived before our definition gives them life, and out of the shadow their eyes implore us.
And that is what all of us historical researchers believe.
And we love truth.