Mitt Romney: The Bitter New Flake in the Senate

Mitt Romney: The Bitter New Flake in the Senate

Mitt Romney: Next time, you’ll vote for him or else…

In the tone of a jilted spouse, even before he assumed the office of junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney demonstrated clearly that he still doesn’t have what it takes to be President of the United States, and that he’s still not over his defeat of 2012.  In an Op-ed printed on New Year’s Day, in that bird-cage-liner called the Washington Post, Romney couldn’t help but take one swipe after another at President Trump.  He was throwing down a gauntlet, but not to Trump.  It’s as though he wanted to poke each member of the Trump-supporting electorate in the eye: How dare you not back him as enthusiastically in 2012 as you had backed Donald Trump in 2016?  Michigan, the state his father had governed, did not vote for Mitt in 2012, but the state went clearly and convincingly for Trump in 2016.  Romney is still angry.  He still cannot believe that the American people would pass over his petulant, broodingly childish ego in favor of Trump’s. He simply can’t believe it!  He’s every bit as angry about it as John McCain became after 2008, when he decided that the American people hadn’t been good enough to deserve a McCain Presidency.  To write this diatribe, going on about the temperament of the President, while demonstrating the utter indecency of his own character is astonishing.  The one thing made unmistakably clear in this episode is that Mitt Romney has demonstrated his own definitive incapacity for the Presidency, owing to a lack of character. Here is the ultimate case of a political pot calling the kettle “black.”

In 2012, many conservatives voted for Mr. Romney as an act of desperate self-defense, myself included.  In truth, it’s the same motive that caused me(and I suspect many other conservatives) to vote for all the Republicans of the last thirty years.  I don’t remember being smitten with George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, or Donald Trump.  This was certainly true of Romney, and it’s why I didn’t know whether I could stand to vote for him in 2012 even as I stood there looking wistfully at my ballot for all the other names I’d have preferred to be able to choose.   Let’s be blunt: The sort of establishment and/or moderate candidates who tend to win the Republican nomination surely are not my preference.  Encumbered as our nomination process has become with open primaries, (permitting Democrats and Independents to exert undue influence in selecting the Republican nominee,) it astonishes me when we can pick anybody with the ability to win.  Mitt Romney was not a winner.  He was saddled with all the worst aspects of the Republican establishment class, including a record that was decidedly big-government, low-freedom, and weak on immigration.  True “Law and Order” Republicans would have trouble with him, as would working-class Americans who recognized the vastly different priorities of the establishment so that they could not therefore raise any enthusiasm for Romney.  Add to this that he was not well-liked among evangelicals in the Republican party, and what resulted was a campaign destined to fail.

This was also true of McCain in 2008, although he had made a stronger play by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate.  She’s solid, and the electorate recognized it, but they also recognized that she was not at the top of the ticket.  When McCain played his “suspended campaign” card  in the face of the financial crisis in the Fall of 2008, he might just as well have conceded on that day.  All the good will he had gained by selecting Palin was wiped out, and despite her incredible efforts to rescue McCain campaign in its last days, wanting to campaign in Michigan and so on despite being told “no,” even her Herculean efforts to resurrect the campaign could not overcome the insufficiency of the man at the top of the ticket.  After losing the election, McCain looked baffled, and then hurt, and finally angry.  Evangelicals had withheld too many votes.  He had betrayed too many conservatives in the past with some of his more ludicrous legislative initiatives, and too many remembered his harsh words about conservatives.  Naturally, all of the people in media whose favor he’d sought when bashing conservatives, had now abandoned him in favor of Barack Hussein Obama.  Even his unwillingness to pronounce his opponent’s middle name (lest he be accused of some “ism” or other,) made it plain to conservatives that while his running mate certainly was the real deal, McCain, himself, was not.

After that, McCain was never going to be anything but a pain in the ass to Republicans in general and conservatives in particular.  He was too embittered about his second rejection by the American people to be able to overcome his anger.  His first rejection in 2000, running against George W. Bush for the Republican nomination, was stinging, but it led him to further alienate himself from the very people he would need to show up enthusiastically in 2008.  Notice that Romney followed the same basic formula: In 2008, he lost to McCain in the primaries, and in the end, even having secured the nomination in 2012, he was still angry about his 2008 loss.  The Republicans never seem to notice that their moderate candidates always seem to get their nickers in a knot when they lose the nomination.  Instead of trying to make peace with and perhaps even win over conservatives, in their next attempt at the nomination, they seem always inclined to negate and mute the influence of conservatives in the nominating process, while still wanting their votes on election day.

There is also something that happens to the psyche of a person who  is rejected for that office by the whole body of the electorate.  Think of them, our last 10 Presidential losers: Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, and Jimmy Carter.  Carter and Bush were salved by the fact that they at least won a single term in the Oval office.  Neither of them trusted the American people again afterward, but the fact that they had served a term in the office protected the American people from another candidacy by either.  It’s astonishing to realize that the tendency of those who lost outright, never to be elected, rather than seeking to make themselves more appealing to the electorate, simply insisted that there must be something wrong with the electorate.  One need only return to thoughts of Hillary and her “basket of deplorables” remark to see the truth in this.  Mitt Romney’s “forty-seven percent” remarks, while essentially true in some respects, had the same net effect on working-class Americans who felt as though they had been deposited in the bin of “47%-ers” by people like Romney who unapologetically hacked up companies and sold off their bits and pieces for profit while at Bain Capital.  It doesn’t matter that what he did was legal.  It doesn’t matter that what he did was perfectly sensible in economic and market-centered terms.  It was the fact that the people whose lives had been overturned by such events felt in his remarks a searing contempt for their lives and their plights, rightly or wrongly.

People who run for the office of President have a tremendous ego in virtually all cases.  This has been true since George Washington, a man who thought very highly of his own public reputation, working tirelessly throughout his life to maintain a particular image.  Every person ever to seek the office must have some notion about their superior ability to rule over their fellow man, or they would not seek the office.  It is a very heady thing to obtain power over one-third of one-billion people, as our modern presidents now must do.  People like Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton are among the sort who think they’re owed a term or two as President.  Mitt Romney thinks so highly of himself that he saw no problem in campaigning for the Senate as somebody who would not become a Flake or a McCain, opposing President Trump at every turn out of sheer bitterness.  As other observers have noted, during the campaign of 2018, Romney never said a word about his antagonistic intentions, now plain, with respect to President Trump.  Naturally, that’s precisely what he is going to do, and now the people of Utah can see it clearly.  In short, the people of Utah fell for it, and now we’re stuck with this presidential reject and his bitterness for at least six years.

I know the feeling.  In Texas, we have on the one hand, a solid conservative fighter in Ted Cruz, and on the other, an establishment hack in John Cornyn.  In Utah, they have Mike Lee, who has been a pretty solid conservative to date, and they have the newly minted Bitter Senator.  “Win some, lose some,” or so goes the saying.  Still, I think there’s a lesson to Americans in all of this: If somebody runs in the general election for the office of President, but loses, it’s time to put them out to pasture.  No office other than President will be enough to satisfy their ego, and there’s no limit to the damage they will permit themselves to do in order to punish the electorate who dared not to elect them.  Such is the case of Mitt Romney, and it’s a bitter lesson the voters of Utah will be forced to endure, and the rest of us, not quite bystanders, together with them.

 

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