Mr. Nice Guy never learns.
Remember Bain Capital? That was part of the RINO secret formula for handing away the second half of the Wasted Obama Decade. There was this gentleman, a former GOP Massachusetts governor — elegant, urbane, and in private life actually a very decent fellow — and the only thing he did wrong was get in the way of taking back the White House from the poseur who already had been exposed as failing to halt the rise of the oceans, failing to heal the planet, failing to develop a strategy that would jump-start the economy, failing to overcome a junior varsity terror squad, and failing to justify getting the Nobel Prize for Best Paper Mâché Greek & Roman Pseudo Columns in a Comedy Performance.
Mitt Romney somehow became the 2012 Presidential nominee of the Republican Party in the Year That America Wanted to Obliterate Obamacare. Of all the dim points in all the towns in all the world, he walks into our election — the one and only Republican in world history who had crafted, enacted, and implemented a government-run health plan that overlapped Obamacare. The one person in America who could not denounce Obamacare in the Year That America Wanted to Obliterate Obamacare. Romney — the candidate who made dollars… but no sense.
1. Romney Lost an Election That Was His for the Taking
Romney still could have won — because he was running against the proven failures and vituperative social divisiveness of Obama. Obama no longer offered voters the elusive charm of making history by electing the nation’s first African-American President. We had just tried that, and all we got was a lousy T-shirt, a corrupted national culture, increased numbers of welfare and food-stamps recipients, broken borders, a Fast-and-Furious gun-running scandal, a burgeoning Lois Lerner tax scandal, New Black Panther voter-intimidation scandals, the corrupting of the top brass of the FBI, Obamacare, and a culture of intense racial divisiveness in what finally had become a post-racial America. Soon, if reelected, Obama would elevate his idiot United Nations ambassador, after she would prove to him that she is decidedly smarter than an idiot — actually as smart as an imbecile, with pretenses of being even as smart as a moron — to head national “intelligence,” and he would name a CIA director who previously had voted for the Communist Party candidate for American president. Obama who, if he had had a son, it would have been Trayvon Martin. It was Romney’s election for the taking.
It was all there, laid out for him: a dead economy, $500 million down the tubes on Solyndra, mindless efforts to stop hydraulic fracturing from reinventing American energy production, shovel-ready jobs that never existed, a racial-hate inciter in the White House who never would miss a Saul Alinsky Community Organizer’s opportunity to pit racially harmonious African Americans and Caucasians against each other. All Romney needed to do was to be strong, convincing, determined, and unabashedly part of the everyday American electorate who yearned to throw out the interlopers and to get the country back on course. It required so little. Just convince people that you never would throw them out of their jobs to make a buck. That you are an Average Joe who travels in the car with neither the kids nor the dog tied to the roof. At least not the dog.
2. Ten-Thousand-Dollar Bets and Steamrolled by the Big Rock Candy Mountain
But there was that Bain Capital thing, the Michael Douglas-type Gordon Gekko character from Wall Street who was perceived as buying healthy companies, stripping them of their assets for cynical profit, and then mass-firing the innocent employees without leaving them with so much as a severance check while further denuding them of their pensions. So, to prove he was a regular guy, a man of the people, in one Republican primary debate Mitt offered his opponent, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a friendly pal-to-pal gentleman’s wage of… ten thousand bucks! Just like all regular folks in the Rust Belt on the Ford and GM assembly lines: “Bet ya ten grand they’ll let us out early on Christmas Eve!” “Nope, bet ya ten grand they won’t.” A man of the 47 percent.
But the moment for which Mr. Nice perhaps best will be remembered was towards the end of that second debate, with an overblown biased CNN moderator. Because he was such a gentleman, Romney allowed a biased CNN anchor to moderate the debate instead of showing strength and demanding a fair-and-balanced moderator instead. So there he was onstage on October 16, 2012 — Romney, Obama, and Obama’s Dueling Second, CNN’s overblown Candy Crowley — and she just overtook him, swallowing him alive, digesting him in front of all America. It was like Jonah and the Whale — only, Jonah was a focused prophet, while Romney focused on profit. And Obama slithered into the White House to wreak four more years of damage on America, on the world.
That is what Romney wrought. When people on all sides of the aisle ask “How did Donald Trump, an utter political outsider and novice, become President over a crowded field of extraordinarily qualified candidates?” much of the credit goes to the hapless vanilla Gov. Romney who demonstrated by failing that only a tough, robust, no-nonsense, ultimately bull-headed life force would be needed to stampede through the overblown Candy Crowleys. No more Mr. Nice Guy. The country’s very survival as a dominant world force for good would be imperiled with one more Big Rock Mountain Candy steamroller. So blue-collar workers in the Midwestern Rust Belt hedged their $10,000 bets and voted for Trump.
3. Wonderboy Returns with His Etch-a-Sketch
Now six years have passed. Like a bad dream — or like the intervening years between Jean Valjean’s tenuous release from prison and his rise to mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer… or Roy Hobbs’s reemergence from the greatest pitcher there ever was to the Wonderboy of the New York Knights outfield — Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and employer of self-deporting Latino gardeners, now enters as the junior senator from Utah, ready to remake himself for his public, replete with Etch-a-Sketch screen. Nature abhors a vacuum, and with the two Senatorial Republican “Never Trumpers” Jeff Flake and Bob Corker now gone, Romney surges towards the Never Trump mantle. He now will be the bane of the capitol.
In a self-righteous and self-aggrandizing Washington Post op-ed, Romney now has pontificated, blasting away at President Trump in tones not heard since his blistering screed of March 3, 2016, in which he then called Donald Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” Trump responded adequately at the time. And Republican primary voters, having weighed the two competing visions, elected Donald Trump their Presidential candidate, a selection affirmed by the general electorate a few months later. Romney drew the inferences then and, with the help of his Etch-a-Sketch, changed faces and became outright affectionate towards Trump. Soon he was supping with the President-elect, interviewing wistfully for the Secretary of State role, telling the media after dinner that he found the discussion “enlightening, interesting, and engaging.” He found that Mr. Trump had a “message of inclusion, of bringing people together.” No more “phony,” no fraud he. Move over, Ernie and Bert, for the The Mitt & The Donald bro-fest. Continuing throughout Romney’s pursuit this past autumn of the seat then being vacated by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, he remained ever-so-gentlemanly towards Trump. But now he has garnered his seat for the next six years, so feels safely brave in a Joe Manchin kind of post-election way. Brave enough to back-stab in the Washington Post.
4. So What Was Romney Really Aiming for in His WaPo Screed?
The question becomes: What did Romney think he actually would achieve by attacking Mr. Trump in a publication whose “news” pages and opinion columns uniformly attack the President daily? Even the pseudo-“balance” postured on that paper by publishing “conservatives” like Hugh Hewitt and Marc Thiessen is offset by the other amalgam of WaPo “conservatives” who are no conservatives. Rather, they are of three dimensions: George Will, always an idiosyncratic thinker, a wonderful writer and wordsmith, whose descent into Trump Derangement Syndrome is so severe that he now fits in comfortably at MSNBC, his new home, and urges Republicans to hand over the White House — and thus abandon judicial appointments, tax cuts, deregulation, mighty foreign policy, and all other things conservative. (Literally, he published a piece titled “Vote Against the GOP This November.”) The second WaPo pseudo-“conservative” is former Bob Dole and George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelical Christians in America, who now endeavors to mow down Trump in his almost every article. Rounding out that troika is one Jennifer Rubin, even less consequential, whom the Post describes as a Republican conservative but who devotes virtually every column of hers to attacking Donald Trump and his conservative policies, his actions, and even his judicial appointments. In the words of Gov. Mike Huckabee, “Jen Rubin is WAPO’s excuse for conservative; her contempt for all things Trump exposes her and WAPO as Fake News.”
Given the WaPo’s bare-toothed unbridled bias against all-things-Trump, what exactly did Romney think he would achieve by publishing contumely against the President in the rag that attacks him most? If he wanted — honestly, sincerely, not merely posturing as a phony circus act — to influence the President, is that where his words would be taken to heart? Hardly. Rather, with Sen. McCain now departed and at rest, and with Bob Corker and Jeff Flake just-plain departed, Romney now is auditioning for “The Left Media’s Favorite Republican Trump Hater.” Alas, political bigamy is a bad idea; in the words of the venerated Yiddish proverb: With one keister, you cannot dance at two weddings.
5. Presidents Whose Qualities of Character Reflect the Highest Dimensions of the American Spirit?
In his maiden voyage on the S.S. Etch-a-Sketch, Romney writes: “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.” That ain’t how he put it after dessert when he was applying for the job that ultimately went to Rex Tillerson. In reading these words from the man whose qualities of character — nice, very nice, oh-so-nice — allowed him to get stampeded by the overblown Candy Crowley and the viciously spiteful and deceitful Obama without ever compromising the greatness of the American spirit, other great presidents come to mind, among them: Warren Harding, who had a fifteen-year extramarital affair followed by another, not to mention the Teapot Dome scandal. John Kennedy, who devoted time to even more affairs of state: Marilyn Monroe, Gunilla von Post, Judith Campbell Exner, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Marlene Dietrich, Mimi Alford, and his wife’s press secretary, Pamela Turnure. Richard Nixon, who fell short in other areas of greatness. Bill Clinton, another woman attacker: a rape here, an assault there, here a paw, there a jaw, everywhere a claw, claw; with a “Please stop it!” here, and a “Please stop it!” there, and a “Where’s your wife?” here, and a “Where’s your wife?” there, and a “Nay! Nay!” here, and a “Nay! Nay!” there. Barack Obama, a spiteful, divisive, race-baiting, inveterate liar. Those are five beneath Trump who come to mind promptly. Want more? OK. Grover Cleveland had a daughter out of wedlock. Chester Arthur was so corrupt and beholden to Roscoe Conkling’s New York “spoils” machine that Charles Guiteau assassinated President James Garfield just because the insane Guiteau was sure that Arthur would name him American consul to Paris as gratitude for giving Chester the Presidency. Franklin Pierce was such a heavy alcoholic all his life that he died of liver cirrhosis. Alongside Chester, Pierce is best remembered as one of America’s two least-remembered Presidents. Not to mention James Buchanan, whose unique leadership skills — he actually expected to be remembered akin to George Washington — saw him usher in the Civil War.
So let’s get real. Donald Trump falls short on the personal perfection spectrum. In many ways, profoundly short. There can be no doubt that Mitt Romney is a more honorable family man, better behaved and gentler spoken. Mitt never would called Senator Rubio “Little Marco,” Senator Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” or Gov. Jeb! “Low Energy.” He never would comment adversely on a woman’s appearance (whether Carly Fiorina has the face of a President, or comparing the visage of Heidi Cruz to Melania, or calling a pole dancer “horseface”). He never would call Crooked Hillary “Crooked Hillary.” And, oh by the way, he also never would get elected President by an electorate after savaging 47 percent of them before Election Day, getting digested by Crowley, and offering binders of women, self-deporting Latinos, and Romneycare as his alternative to Saul Alinsky.
6. A Time for Humility on the Back Bench
Romney had his fair chance. He lost once to John McCain, came back and tried again. He was so nice, so well behaved and gentle, that he lost to Barack Obama. There are those among the coterie of Never Trumpers who believe that our society is more elevated for better candidates having lost nobly through the Wasted Obama Decade than it is for having elected President Trump. They would have a Supreme Court where Antonin Scalia would have been replaced by a Sonia Sotomayor clone and Anthony Kennedy by yet another, and RBG not-long-from-now by yet another. They would have America losing out in world trade throughout the globe under the old treaties that always left us last. A world where American ambassadors are murdered by marauding thugs celebrating the anniversary of 9-11, and then excused by YouTube videos. An America bereft of thriving domestic aluminum and steel industries, with a stagnant economy, ever-growing unemployment, endless increases in food-stamp and welfare recipients, open borders, a sunsetting Iran Deal that greenlights nuclear holocaust by insane Shiite zealots, energy companies under government regulatory attack at home forcing us to expend precious assets to buy oil from despots and thugs while ours sits untapped under out feet. And a White House that would shut down Gitmo and release five documented mass murderers in exchange for one coward whose “honor and distinction” cost the lives of heroes who searched to retrieve him. All financed by the Clinton Foundation running out of the Oval Office and documented on a computer server installed in a bathroom on a glass ceiling.
Nice Mitt Romney blighted America with four extra years of Obama. It now is time for him to take a back bench as a junior senator and to show some humility. If he has advice for President Trump, he has access; he does not have to smear him in the Washington Post. If he wants to be regarded as a statesman, he can act like one by aiming higher than the accolades of Washington Post editors. There are enough Never Trumpers and Trump haters in the Washington Post universe. No one needs this newcomer from Utah to join under the evil tabernacle of that WaPo choir.
At the White House, Nov. 29, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons)