During the Senate’s vote on whether or not to remove Donald Trump from office, Utah senator and former failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney predictably voted to remove Trump on the grounds of “abuse of power”. While there were a few other Republicans whose support of the President is considered lukewarm at best, Romney is and always was that guy who would be most likely to go against his party. As it turns out, he was the only Republican not to vote for Trump’s acquittal.
Of course, so much is made about today’s hyper-tribal political climate. We all say that we want people who think for themselves rather than blindly side with their team. On the surface, some people will look at Romney’s decision and commend him for not being a partisan hack. This situation is more complex than that.
Look back to 2012. Romney was the Republican nominee chosen to take down President Obama. He was always considered to be very moderate, and in more ways than 1. He was super clean cut, well spoken, was not a controversial figure, and the Republican governor of deep blue Massachusetts. Nothing about Mitt Romney really inspires any strong emotional reaction, good or bad. However, when he was trying to win take out Obama, he was savaged by the media and the left as a bigot. That’s how it works.
Fast forward to 2020, and the same people who treated him like garbage now love him. Wonder why?
I’m sure Mittens and other “never-Trump” Republicans are telling themselves that they’re on the good side of the “Cathedral” (to borrow a term from Michael Malice’s book The New Right), but as soon as they’ve served their purpose, they’ll be chewed up and spit out once again. It’s honestly kind of sad when you think about it.
Mitt Romney embodies the pre-Trump Republican: conciliatory. Someone who would bend over backwards to show they’re one of the cool kids. Someone who has let the left dictate the terms of every discussion and debate. This disease is slowly leaving the Republican Party, but clearly it has not yet been fully eradicated.
It is nice when people of different political parties can get together and agree. Even in our polarized world, we do agree on more than we really think. However, this isn’t trivial. One side is trying to oust a democratically-elected president because they couldn’t beat him in 2016 (and probably won’t in 2020).
The other side is fighting for due process and the rule of law.
Mitt Romney went against his party, but not because it’s the principled stance. He did because he has a bone to pick with the President and he enjoys being the left’s useful idiot. It was easier for him to make the decision to please his new friends, not to side with the facts.