As the guy who (literally) ran the "" website in 2012, I feel the need to give Gov. Romney some credit where it is due: He gave Hillary Clinton's "Trump's Alt-Right Problem" speech months before she did.

Clinton has covered in kudos for her tough, anti-Trump speech. Liberal journalist Ryan Lizza echoed many on the Left by tweeting, "Hillary has now done more than any other U.S. leader to defend traditional conservatism and the pre-Trump GOP from the alt-Right takeover."

But in March, Mitt Romney put his political assets on the line and gave a speech when it still mattered — in the middle of the GOP primary. A sampling:

"Now, I'm far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter's questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

"Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, at the same time he has called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good."

Mitt continued:

"Think of Donald Trump's personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as 'The Donald.'…

"Now, imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Would you welcome that? Haven't we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have. And it always injures our families and our country."

And then the big picture:

"Of course, a Trump nomination enables [a Hillary Clinton] victory. And the audio and video of the infamous Tapper-Trump exchange on the Ku Klux Klan will play 100,000 times on cable and who knows how many million times on social media.

"There's plenty of evidence that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake. Mr. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign. And on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row…

"Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press.

"This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss."

Yes, Hillary Clinton's speech had more "gasp-out-loud" moments, but most of them — attacking a judge for being of Mexican heritage, hiring the head of Alt-Right, the "Star of David On Dollar Bills" art, etc. — hadn't happened yet when Romney spoke.

Yes, Trump had already appeared on Alex "Adjust My Meds, Please!" Jones' conspiracy-theory radio show, but Romney probably didn't want to give "The Hero Of The Ham Radio In The Basement Set" any publicity.

The point is that Republicans such as Romney, Sen. Ben Sasse and others haven't been sitting back and letting Donald Trump turn their party into marketing arm of the Alt-Right. Some were taking on Trump when taking on Trump wasn't cool. And they did so despite predictable reactions like this one from Rush Limbaugh:

"[Mitt's] dad did much the same thing against Barry Goldwater with a cabal of Republican establishment guys back in 1964. The establishment isn't new… They were this way with Ronald Reagan, before Reagan was elected. They tried to deny Reagan in '76 and they tried to deny Reagan in 1980.

They're not conservative. This is — when I hear Romney in his speech last week talk about how the Republican Party must stand for legitimate conservative values. They don't. [Trump's opponents] are not conservative."

Limbaugh wasn't alone. Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Andrea Tantaros (just to name a few) also mocked Mitt Romney's speech. When the GOP's future was on the line, the conservative-media gatekeepers locked out Romney's message and provided cover for Donald Trump, darling of the Alt-Right.

Six months later and now Trump is under a sustained and largely-unanswerable assault from Hillary Clinton on the issues of race, bigotry and intolerance. Perhaps most galling, Trump's record on race is so problematic that Clinton didn't even have to lie about it.

Trump's theory is that Democrats and the media have cried "racist" so often, and so unfairly, that the charge won't stick (well, any more than it already has). He could be right. But Trump's record on race is a losing issue in a no-win presidential race. He's now forced to debate this losing issue, which means time and money lost talking about Clinton's horrible record and corrupt ethics.

Michael Graham is the Washington Examiner's multimedia director. Follow him on Twitter at @iammgraham. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.