How Does This Help, Mitt?

Hey Mitt: I want my vote back.

Utah’s U.S.  Senator-elect Mitt Romney cheered the New Year’s cockles of “the resistance” and Trump-haters everywhere with a Washington Post op-ed condemning the President’s character. In substance, Romeny’s argument is indistinguishable from what regularly appeared on “Ethics Alarms” throughout 2016. For example, Mitt writes,

“…To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”

Thank you, Senator Obvious! And this observation and frontal insult helps the situation exactly how?

It doesn’t, of course. I cheered and admired Romney for taking the stand he did against Trump before the GOP Convention, writing,

Romney’s timing was superb. On the day of the GOP debate, he provided all of Trump’s opponents with twenty times the ammunition needed to sink most candidacies, and deftly alerted his audience to look for the personal attacks on Romney sure to come. The news media, which is so shameless in pursuit of a storyline, has been relentless characterizing Romney’s speech as “the establishment’s” declaration of war on The Donald. That unfairly minimizes what Romney did. Romney spoke for all Americans—you know, the responsible ones—who don’t want an unstable buffoon succeeding Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Ronald Reagan. He did it with the skill and power, and presenting anyone trying to rebut his points with a daunting, indeed, impossible task.

That speech in March, 2016 needed to be made, and it also needed to be heeded. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. GOP voters preferred the non-politician to the professional variety, and the debates showed why.  Chris Christie accepted his metaphorical silver for squishing Marco Rubio to help clear the way for Trump; Marco himself behaved like a juvenile amateur; John Kasich set new highs (lows?) in pandering wishy-washy-ness; Ted Cruz was loathsome as usual, and Ben Carson gave us all new doubts about the validity of assumptions that brilliant surgeons are brilliant anyplace but the operating room. Worst of all, none of the candidates had the guts to deliver in the debates the kind of “Have you no decency?” attack that might have cleared the fog from voters’ eyes and brains. Then the Republican Party declined to act responsibly and refuse to nominate someone who should not have been the nominee of a responsible party, and given the equally unpalatable option of voting for Hillary Clinton, the nation’s voters put Romney’s bete noire in the White House.

Now what? Well, Mitt needs to understand The Julie Principle. By now it should be obvious to all that Trump’s character isn’t going to change. Indeed, we’ve learned some positive aspects about his character, such as the fact that hate and insults don’t slow him down at all. If Romney had displayed 1/100th of Trump’s combativeness when the Democrats, Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the news media were engaged in character assassination against him during the 2012 campaign, Donald Trump might still be hosting “The Apprentice,” and the catastrophic and corrupt Obama second term might not have left the mess that Trump was directed to clean-up. Romney, at this point, is one of the last public figures President Trump is going to take tips from.

What, then, was Romney’s objective, as he used the pages of  the all-Trump-hate-all-the-time, full “resistance” Washington Post to emulate Jeff Flake?

He was grandstanding and virtue-signaling, that’s all.  Maybe he thinks he can challenge Trump for the nomination. He was also putting wind in the sails of the Democrats who are determined to impeach Trump for beating them, an act that would endanger all future Presidents, Republican and Democratic alike, including Alternate Universe President Romney.  Isolating Trump further with personal attacks is not the way to encourage him to play nice with others, while pointing out the accountability of Democrats, “the resistance” and the news media in making the nation “divided, resentful and angry” would be lot more likely to do some good than recycling Mitt’s Greatest Hits for Trump-Haters.

75 thoughts on “How Does This Help, Mitt?

    • Shouldn’t an ethics source be predictable? I also think this is a strange post on which to make that observation, since I praised Mitt’s previous Trump attack. But context matters, and it’s important to remind people of that.

      • Yes, ethics should be predictable. But much more interesting if one points out that there was really nothing that fails to meet ethical standards in Romney’s op ed, it was just wrong (stupid or grandstanding) and ineffective to do it. Maybe stupid and ineffective makes it unethical? But “wrong” is not always unethical. I would have hit”like” to both your post and your response if Ethics Alarms were not (unethically, I surmise) exiled from Facebook.

        • No, Michael, it’s unethical because it intentionally piles on and undermines the President when he is already having to fight unusually hard to do his job thanks to the resistance plan. That could be justifiable, if there was any conceivable national benefit of doing so. I don’t see any. I see Mitt indulging his own bitterness and personal desire for PR at the nation’s expense—in other words, he’s acting like John McCain.

        • A public figure with Romney’s reach doesn’t write Op-Eds….regardless if that’s where it was published. The effect of his piece, *from him*, is what tips the ethical balance here.

    • Was that supposed to be criticism? All you did was fail to understand what EA is, what the mission is.

      You just observed that windmills are predictable since they turn when the wind blows.

      • Sorry, but you jumped to a conclusion not supported by facts. Not criticism. Observation, and hoping for a more interesting “take” and a less predictable position when an action (like the op ed) is “wrong,” “ill advised,” “ineffective,” even “stupid” — none of which necessarily make it unethical. Doing something that is not unethical but may be used by others unethically is also not necessarily unethical. (See Jack’s good response to me, and my reply)

  1. Romney is taking the McCain-Flake Republican senate seat, where he will play footsie with the media and gain newfound respect from the New York Times whenever he votes with the democrats. He will find great colleagues in Murkowski and Collins. Basically cue in Althouse’s “civility bullshit” tag.

  2. I think Mitt Romney’s op-ed was an unethical “I Told You So” to the entire nation.

    Here is my speculation as to why he did this: It’s an attempt to be nationally relevant again, even if it’s on his virtue-signaling soap-box. Mitt is 71 and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see some kind of announcement in next year or so about some traumatic medical condition.

  3. The short answer is that it doesn’t.

    I hate to break out a rationalization that these are not ordinary times, but in this case, saying that is simply describing what the Soviet military would call “objective conditions.”

    Anyone with two functioning eyes can see that Trump is arguably the right person for the job – arguably because of some of the character “flaws” he has – in the wake of what we have seen over the years. Just look at what Democrats have been doing since then:
    1. The IRS targeting the Tea Party
    2. The Post-2016 reaction by the Democrats.
    3. Andrew Cuomo’s use of financial regulations against the NRA and suing ExxonMobil for not going along with his preferred environmental policies.
    4. The government investigating the editorial decisions of the National Enquirer vis-a-vis alleged Trump mistresses.

    There is more at the state level as well, but you take a look at the Democrats embracing a more totalitarian approach – using power to get people to shut up and accept what Democrats want instead of persuading people they have the right policies, it’s clear that there is a serious problem.

    Trump may be the radical chemotherapy that is needed to give the country a fighting chance to stay America. It’s not pleasant, it has nasty side effects, but it might just save your life.

  4. Now Senator Romney should look at his defeat in in 2012 and wonder whether standing up for himself and being more Trump-like might have engendered more respect from the electorate.

      • Agreed. I supported him…including financially. Oh, well. Trump Derangement Syndrome is apparently an intellectually wasting disease.

      • He would have stood a better chance. When the GOP selected another Elite Establishment squish GOP voters stayed home in droves.

        Not me: I always vote AGAINST someone. Saves the disappointment if the winner turns into a swamp creature, as most national politicians do.

        • No, when Romney allowed himself to be walked all over instead of fighting back after the first debate is where he lost the election. He LET Obama turn his greatest asset, his resume, into his indictment. He LET Obama portray him as having declared war on women. He LET Obama play up the 47% remark. It didn’t help that the Tea Party and like folks were sniping at him from the right and the media was downplaying any positive development on his side and playing up anything negative. Maybe he took the advice a lot of us got in high school to heart, to just ignore teasers and bullies, in the hopes they’ll move on to someone else. Maybe he thought that silence in the face of outrageous attacks would make them fall flat. There was no one else to move on to, though, and neither the Democratic Party nor the media were going to give a nice guy an even break because he was a nice guy.

          Romney is playing with fire, both for himself and the national party. The GOP has moved past the days of collegial Senators making deals over cocktails that cost more than ordinary meals and running Boy Scouts and execs because it had to, the other side had already moved past it. The party needs to be united for next year, and if the JUNIOR senator from Utah is seen as getting in the way dangerously, the GOP is going to have choices, crush him or lose the election. Which do you think the party is going to choose? Fight brutally and win? Or lose, but lose with class? Hint: losing with class is still losing.

          • Maybe on the East Coast, Steve.

            Here in the heartland we were lukewarm on Romney at best. I agree that his lack of spunk contributed, but there were few excited voters after the primaries out here. I was hearing a lot of ‘why bother, when he is a RINO?’ (apologies to Jack: just quoting the sentiment at the time)

            • But, sw, to not vote for Romney meant letting Obama have four more years. I’ve never understood that kind of thinking and inaction. U.S. politics is column A or column B. You still get the meal even if you don’t order.

              • Indeed, and I personally held my nose and voted GOP. A lot of people, feeling disenfranchised by a party the abandoned them, stayed home.

                Note what was done to the Tea Party in that election, by our own government. The Swamp protected itself at the expense of the people.

    • I think he paved the way for Trump. I think that whatever you may think of Trump (and I didn’t care for him a lick), it was clear that he was someone who was going to hit back when the Democrats attacked him. I think that was not a small part of his attractiveness to voters.

      If Romney had had a spine in 2012, he might have made Obama a one term president — but he (and, I think, McCain before him) showed himself to be a wimp. We don’t generally elect wimps to be president.

  5. “What, then, was Romney’s objective, … to emulate Jeff Flake?”

    Took the words right out of my mouth. Jeff Flake’s seat now belongs to a Code Pink Democrat. And Romney has taken up Flake’s baton. Romney must think it’s the mid-sixties and he’s his Dad. What a sap.

  6. When I heard Romney had written a piece denouncing a prevaricating, philandering con man, I thought he had done a commentary on Joseph Smith. My mistake.

  7. If Mitt Romney had a spine, the media never would have allowed him to become the Republican nominee. During the 2008 and 2012 elections, it looked very much like the press smeared any decent Republican candidate and sought to sway the public into choosing a loser of a candidate.

    In the last election, the pre-campaign focus groups run by the DNC and major media outlets (together) made it clear that they desired Hillary Clinton to win and the only Republican challenger she possibly could beat was Donald Trump. So how did the Republican candidate with the lowest approval rating in the focus groups win the nomination? The press campaigned for him. They then thought that they could sway people to vote for Hillary Clinton, but they were too blinded by ideology to see how bad of a candidate she really is. They put up Hillary Clinton and a clown and told the American people to choose. We chose the clown.

    • I think the media’s influence in the nomination is overstated. Trump had a solid third of the primary voters loyal and locked up, and the rest of the vote fractured among too many competitors. Plus all of the other candidates disqualified themselves, and didn’t have that bedrock foundation. Bush was weak, Cruz is dislikable, Paul is fringe, Rubio wasn’t ready, Cristie was tainted, Huckabee’s God’s law over our law stance is intolerable, Carson is an idiot, Fiorina has negative charisma, Kasich is both wishy-washy and inarticulate. In a two or three way race with strong opponents, Trump would have lost.

      • However, the media, the DNC, and progressives thought they could influence the deplorables and low information voters such that THEY got Trump nominated. Then they thought they could disenfranchise him. It did not work (perhaps because they did not have the pull they thought) but they think they gave us Trump, deep down in the depths of their 3 am night terrors.

        This is why they are so unhinged about the election: they were in control and SOMETHING had to intervene to steal the election they thought they stole.

        • The media lifted Trump up to ensure he would be the Republican candidate. Then, once nominated as the candidate, they thought they would slaughter him with negative new stories. They forgot two things: The first is that Hillary was/is an abysmal candidate/human being that middle American did not trust, and second, that the poll responders told the pollsters what they wanted to hear, but in the voting booths, they pulled the lever for the anti-establishment candidate they thought would shake Washington up and put the country’s interests first over other nations’ interest.


          • People were TIRED of being told the sky was scarlet with green polka dots, and not to believe their own lying eyes.

            Also, certain groups recognized their own disenfranchisement and decided to (quietly) vote otherwise. A prime example are union members in the rust belt states.

        • I remember talking to a lawyer, back in the late sixties, hearing him tell me how he was Democrat, but in the primaries, he voted for Nixon, since he was sure the Democratic candidate could beat him. I’d bet that hasn’t changed today.

          • I have stood in line to vote and listened to snowbirds (residents of northern states who winter in southern ones to escape the cold) talking about how they already voted absentee at home and now were trying to ‘spoil’ vote in Texas.

            A violation of federal law, sure, but since they are Democrats no one cares.

            • The instances of voter fraud over the past few years are too numerous to list here. Mildly amazing that most stem from Democrats. But not surprising.

  8. I tried to post this on Facebook. This was the result:

    You can’t share this link

    Your content couldn’t be shared, because this link goes against our Community Standards
    If you think this doesn’t go against our Community Standards let us know.

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