THE DECENCY OF MITT ROMNEY
Rants and rage are easy. Compromise and conciliation are far more difficult.
I would be hard pressed to name an issue where I’m in agreement with Mitt Romney, the dapper Utah Senator, ex-Mass. Gov. and two-time GOP presidential candidate.
Still, I’ve always considered Romney a decent and honest man. That’s obvious and easy to see. Could Romney have done more to oppose the mass madness of the modern-day GOP and push back against the mental disease of Trump and MAGAism? Absolutely. Had he done so, would Romney then have then been jackbooted to the curb and run over by the Republican Party tank-bus? Hell, yes. Just ask Liz Cheney, who was last seen knitting a sweater at a retirement home someplace in Wyoming.
That said, I’m the first to break away from tribal instincts and partisan political allegiances when praise for the opposition is warranted. Romney’s announcement yesterday that he will *not* seek re-election in Utah for another 6-year term as a U.S. Senator merits praise, and respect. It should also be a calling to politicians in both parties that the torch should be passed to a new generation, as one young president so eloquently pined 60 years ago. This isn’t so much a comment on the issue of agism or the obvious problem of seniors hanging onto power way too long. It’s simply an acknowledgement and an amplification of his important message, not just in words but actions.
Romney released a new book concurrent with his announcement. Romney: A Reckoning is likely to be talked about for a week or so, then ignored by the very people it’s targeted towards, which is destined as the ultimate betrayal of the man who only a decade ago was the Republican chosen one.
I have never met nor seen Romney in person, nor do I know anyone connected to him. Nonetheless, he’s been a survivor. Somehow, he’s never swayed from core conservative principles, even as storms have raged around him. He’s also enjoyed a remarkably unusual political career — call it a success of contrasts. Just think of how different Massachusetts and Utah are, yet voters from both states elected Romney to high positions of leadership. Romney also had to navigate the turbulent political waters of the GOP losing its soul when it transformed itself from a party of decency and principle and into a much darker romper room of rage. It was Romney who was that crumbling bridge in 2012 between the eras of George Bush II / John McCain and the malignant radical insurrection of Donald Trump, all while so-called “Tea Party” lunatics seized the soul of a party once personified by Eisenhower.
Presumably, Romney said privately, “Forget this, I’ve had enough.”
The obvious undercurrent to 76-year-old Romney’s announcement is why other political leaders don’t exercise similar wisdom and practicality? And yes, I’m including President Joe Biden in this discussion as a concern. Also, Charles Grassley, Diane Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, and so many others who should be enjoying their twilight years and giving opportunities instead to younger, more energetic, more dynamic candidates and leaders.
Mark me down for standing and applauding Romney at this moment for his decision. I wish so many others in his position — in both parties — would do the same thing.