The man who has long believed the Oval Office is his destiny is taking perhaps his last tilt at the windmill and setting out a surreptitious stall to test the waters. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), is making his presence felt in such a way that one senses he’s setting his sights on a last, desperate shot to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And his self-perceived path to success? Siding with the Democrats.
It would take a special kind of person to believe the latest impeachment attempts by House Democrats are little more than electioneering disguised by a façade of principle, yet the Utah Senator is now echoing talking points and dropping hints that would make Benedict Arnold blush. Parading around the Swamp in the full regalia of a last-minute hero only works if you happen to be fighting for the correct side.
“I don’t look at myself as being a historical figure,” Romney said while implicating himself as the crucial pivot on which history turns. “I do think these are critical times. And I hope that what I’m doing will open the way for people to take a different path.” But what is it, exactly, that he is doing?
On the most obvious level, he is refusing to back his party and his president in holding strong against Democratic Party attempts to impeach. He says he is, “open to the idea that the president may need to be evicted from the Oval Office.” For those of you that have smartly avoided learning Swamp code, this means: I’m open for business.
What Romney appears to be doing is siding with Democrats, not because he believes the president is guilty of any high Crimes or Misdemeanors, but because he sees a route to the presidency. He is making a silent offer to Democrats that he is willing to be the epicenter around which they build a coalition of disgruntled Republicans and power-hungry opposition. The only question remaining is what price he will charge.
Romney is in the throes of having his dreams come true: He is running high on every major media site without being compared unfavorably to Barack Obama or being questioned on the ethics of polygamy. Why is he getting this “free-pass”?
The Atlantic ran a major interview piece, as did Axios. Newspapers and websites all over the world gave column inches to the only major high-profile Republican that appears at ease with impeachment efforts. Even the BBC ran a 700-word puff piece on Romney’s “secret” Twitter account.
Could this new attention be because journalists who cover DC happenings are also conversant in the coded language of the Swamp?
1,000 Stories, One Major Problem
Despite all the coverage and the willingness to put himself on the market, Romney has a problem far greater than even he suspects in getting elected: His ideas are poor.
While campaigning for the Senate, Romney drafted a list of 50 goals he hoped to accomplish if elected. He bravely published the list and does not shirk from admitting how far he has gotten with each goal when asked. Yet he has a fundamental flaw in his strategy to win voters on a national level.
He said recently that Trump’s victory among working-class Americans was not replicable, and that “We have to get young people and Hispanics and African Americans to vote Republican.” He’s not wrong about the Republican Party needing to broaden its base, but how is it possible to not realize that he also intends to abandon the white, working-class voters?
By saying that the result is not “replicable,” he means he will not even bother to go after them. He will not look for policies that appeal to the heartland, he will not try to rebuild American manufacturing. Mitt should forget the theatre playing out in his head, and understand that this strategy lost Hillary Clinton the election in 2016, and if he keeps playing party games for his own glory, he’ll cost the Republicans in 2020.