Politics

Romney Rants His Way Into the Senate

The previous GOP presidential loser denounces the guy who won and is succeeding.

Harold Hutchison · Jan. 3, 2019

To be a conservative in the Trump Era is … interesting, in the sense of the saying, “May you live in interesting times.” In some ways, it’s a balancing act — of supporting President Donald Trump’s policies while trying to reconcile that with his glaring character flaws. This balancing act can be very tricky, and newly elected Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has mishandled that balance.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Romney hit Trump over his character deficiencies. Memo to Romney: Everyone knew what those flaws were; they were baked into the cake in 2016, as they are today. Anyone who followed celebrity gossip over the last 30 years knew Trump was a womanizer. He’s rude and bombastic — or, some could say, a typical New Yorker. Indeed, Romney weighed in on Trump in much the same way in a 2016 speech.

But, again, all of that was weighed prior to the 2016 election, which Trump won. Primarily, that victory was because of the political conditions at the time. Far too many conservatives who declared themselves “Never Trump” ignored those conditions, part of a pattern of tactical and strategic incompetence that has at best delayed the achievement of conservative objectives and the advancement of conservative principles.

Looking at the actions of Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York, where the power of the state government is being turned on opponents of his anti-Second Amendment and ecofascist policies, concerns about free speech were arguably understated. The fact that the National Enquirer’s editorial decisions have become fodder for a federal investigation should also raise red flags. So should Silicon Valley’s decision to censor conservative arguments. Too many Republican leaders — including Romney — were unwilling to fight these battles.

As another example, NATO dawdled for over a decade on reaching the agreed-upon military spending level of 2% of GDP. Along the way, America was treated to a complete lack of military readiness on Germany’s part, and Canada was in bad shape, too. Trump’s “get tough” attitude yielded the results two previous presidents failed to achieve.

For all of Trump’s flaws, he got results. In 2012, Romney was a gentleman, even as Democrats smeared him as a racist Hitler wannabe. He lost. John McCain went so far as to admonish his own supporters for attacks on Barack Obama he felt were unfair. His repayment for that personal decency was to be labeled a racist and “out of touch.” He lost, too.

Furthermore, Romney is being very naive if he thinks the folks who viciously trashed him in 2012 have had a true change of heart. Does he really believe that, had he won the 2012 election, he would not be facing a form of “the Resistance” due to the “racism” of beating the first black president in an election?

No conservative denies that the country would have been better off had Mitt Romney won the 2012 election. It would have been even better off had he won the 2008 nomination and election. But it’s worth remembering that if he had shown the Democrats or the Leftmedia a tenth of the fight that Donald Trump is showing today, he very well could have won either of those elections. A little righteous anger toward Harry Reid and Candy Crowley would have made a difference, as would have following our advice on how to attack Obama.

Yet when Romney is showing a willingness to fight, it’s not against Democrats who smeared him or the media that was complicit in perpetuating those smears. Instead, he’s battling the president of his own party, who is actually fighting the Left and the biased media to implement a number of the policies Romney himself campaigned for in 2008 and 2012. Romney may gain the temporary approval of the Washington Post editorial board, but he traded a fair amount of goodwill from those who supported his 2008 and 2012 presidential runs to get it.

It was a bad deal by a good man.

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