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In Defense of Mitt Romney (Sort Of)

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 2, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 2, 2019 |


Yesterday, Mitt Romney kicked off the new year with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he threatened to show some backbone when it comes to standing up to Donald Trump.

The world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world — and an America — with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace.

To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home. That project begins, of course, with the highest office once again acting to inspire and unite us. It includes political parties promoting policies that strengthen us rather than promote tribalism by exploiting fear and resentment. Our leaders must defend our vital institutions despite their inevitable failings: a free press, the rule of law, strong churches, and responsible corporations and unions.

The response to the op-ed, with the exception of Morning Joe’s on MSNBC, has largely been cynical, because we’ve been here before with Jeff Flake (although, at least here, Romney is choosing to speak out before he decides not to run for reelection):

Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager responded with something nonsensical about warm beverages.

Kellyanne’s husband responded accordingly:

And even Donald Trump is suggesting that Mitt Romney may be just another Jeff Flake.

But I will say this in response to everyone who is saying, either aloud or under their breath, “Yeah, but he’s still gonna vote with Trump every single time.”

Well, OF COURSE HE IS. It’s because he’s a Republican, and not just any Republican. He’s a conservative, Mormon Republican. His politics, for the most part, aligns with that of Donald Trump. Just like we knew that Jeff Flake (and Susan Collins) would ultimately vote for Brett Kavanaugh: Because if you take Trump out of the equation, they’d have voted for him anyway. The only reason they gave pause was because of Trump’s involvement.

Remember when Mitt Romney met with Black voters back in 2012?

He’s the same guy. Oblivious and tone deaf to race. Hostile to feminism (“binders full of women!”). “More of a hawk on immigration than Trump.” All about lowering corporate taxes (he was Paul Ryan’s mentor, never forget).

In other words, Romney is not going to vote against Trump, because he believes in the same policies. He may not like Trump personally, but the Senate doesn’t vote on Trump’s personality. Romney is going to vote 95 percent of the time along with Trump, because that’s the way he would’ve voted anyway. He’s not going to stand up to Trump on policy because they share the same goddamn interests.

But, you know what? If there were an impeachment vote, I bet Romney would vote against Trump, which would give Democrats 49 of the 66 votes they need to impeach.

In other words, Romney’s pretty useless, save for a few genteel potshots at the President, which is to say: He is another Jeff Flake: A man who holds his nose and votes with Trump, because that’s the way he would have voted anyway.

Header Image Source: Getty Images