In the battle for all the marbles between America and Donald Trump, we can scarce afford to turn away anyone who’s offering to play for Team America. That means embracing the efforts of pretty much everyone who’s making a reasonable effort to topple Trump, even if we don’t see eye to eye with them ideologically, and even if we don’t think much of them personally. That brings us to the cringe-worthy case of Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney is one of those corrupt mediocre guys who just keeps managing to fail upward in life, as if he were trying to be the poster child for upper class white male privilege. Politically speaking, he brings nothing to the table; we’ve seen this from him time and again. He also stands for nothing, as evidenced by his willingness to role-play as a moderate in order to become Governor of Massachusetts, followed by his role-play as a far-right extremist in order to become the 2012 Republican nominee for President. But enough about why Romney sucks; the question is what we do about him.
Romney has managed to become the new U.S. Senator from Utah, simply by falling into the Republican nomination in a race that was going to be automatically won by the Republican nominee. And so the guy who failed in Massachusetts, before failing on the national stage, is now somehow back on the national stage. Romney’s party has moved so much further to the right over the past six years, even he can’t figure out how to sell it, so instead he’s trying a different tack. With Jeff Flake and Bob Corker retiring, Romney has decided to become the anti-Trump Republican in the Senate.
The thing is, there’s a reason Flake and Corker are retiring. The right didn’t care for the moderate stances they were selling, the left didn’t buy into the notion that they were legitimate moderates, and everyone else just saw them as weak willed pushovers who backed down whenever Trump and/or the GOP got in their faces. It’s not clear why Mitt Romney thinks he can make this failed blueprint work, except perhaps that he’s so accustomed to failing and somehow getting ahead anyway.
But this shouldn’t be a referendum on Mitt Romney; we have far bigger problems. The trouble is that no one expects him to do this right. Sure, he wrote a bold and decisive op-ed this week which rather eloquently ripped Donald Trump’s head off. Romney is opting to start off his Senate career by staking himself to his anti-Trump position. But what happens when words turn into votes?
We all saw what happened when a “decent” guy like Jeff Flake or a supposed “moderate” like Susan Collins wanted to vote against a Trump-backed monster like Brett Kavanaugh, who also happened to have the backing of the handful of conservative billionaires who run the Republican Party. When it came time to vote, they folded. Just like they folded on the Republican tax scam for the wealthy.
If you’re a Republican and you vote for this kind of corrupt party stuff, you may become unpopular and lose your seat. But if you’re a Republican and you vote against your party on these things, you’ll lose all your political funding, and you will lose your seat. I hope Mitt Romney’s words help to topple Donald Trump. But does anyone really expect Romney to vote against Trump’s wishes whenever the GOP money bags are aligned with Trump? I hope Romney proves me wrong, but I just don’t see him being anything more than a less personally likable and more financially corrupt version of Jeff Flake – and that doesn’t do anyone any good.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report