I’ve said before that, throughout this darkening error, the mistakes I’ve made have all been in the direction of being overly optimistic about how the players would behave. Particularly players on the side that is now battling with this lawless President.
Well, I’ve made another such over-optimistic judgment. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say I envisioned a possibility that has proved to be better than what’s actually happened.
It has to do with Mitt Romney running for U.S. Senator from Utah, and his succeeding in getting nominated and elected.
It seemed to me quite possible that Romney was seeking that Senate seat in order to play a special role. And I imagined that special role being to speak to the Republican world about what Donald Trump is and what he is doing to the nation.
After all, we know what Romney thinks of Trump. He was quite eloquent — and it struck me, completely sincere — when Trump was rising toward the nomination, telling Republicans that the man is a fraud, a liar, and a con man.
And then there’s the question of why a man in his position in life — with the status of having been the presidential nominee of a major American party — would run for the U.S. Senate.
And there’s his age– after a life of some considerable achievement (Olympics, Governor of Massachusetts) — at 71 years old when he chose to run: why would he want to put himself out to win a Senate seat if he didn’t see something important he might do with that opportunity?
So what important did he imagine he could do with that seat?
Well, the main thing about the Republican Party of these times is that it has chosen to tie itself to the most lawless, most corrupt, most dishonest, most deeply incompetent to lead the nation forward, most indifferent to the national good President in American history (by far).
And along with that, this Republican Party has produced an astonishing lack of the heroic in defense of values. [Trudy Rubin) Virtually no one has stood up and said to the Republican World what it needs to hear so that it will return to the better angels of their nature, and cease to serve a destructive force.
That’s the obvious thing that Romney could do, I figured. Serving as the voice of the truth in the lie-soaked Trump world would be a role well worth Romney’s taking the trouble to play. “Now is the time for all good men to rise to the defense of their country.”
And since he’ll be approaching 80 when time comes for re-election, he is far freer than most office-holders to disregard the re-election issue, not being one stalking a long political career.
So Romney could speak freely, letting the political chips fall where they may.
But in fact, Romney has been pretty close to a non-entity.
Here and there he’s gone a step further than other Republicans in talking about this fraudulent and generally dishonest President.
But he’s hardly been any different from any other Republican Senator—not only failing to denounce Trump for his various manifest crimes and corruptions, but also not challenging Mitch McConnell over the ways McConnell is destroying the Senate as an institution.
Overly optimistic, again. (But it’s not too late for Romney to see the light and assume the mantle I had in mind for him. I can envision it. (Some tipping point, like maybe this attempt to get electoral help from Ukraine.) But I’m not holding my breath.)
And then there’s the question, why doesn’t he speak up? For that matter, why don’t we hear more from Mattis, and Tillerson (moron), and Kelly (idiot), and maybe especially at this moment, Dan Coats.
What is it that keeps presumably patriotic Americans mute in such a situation as this?