March 3rd, 2016

On Romney’s anti-Trump speech and the establishment

First of all, I don’t think Romney’s speech will do much either way. No one is going to decide one thing or another based on a speech that most people don’t even know about.

Political junkies are into it, and that’s about it, IMHO. But of course the blogosphere consists of a high percentage of political junkies (present company included), so here we are discussing it.

First thing I want to say is that ever since I’ve been immersed in the blogosphere and the internet in general, which would be roughly the last decade and a half, I’ve been more and more struck by how numerous are the false memes that circulate around and become commonly-accepted truth. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting them on this blog, mostly to a relatively small audience of people who are willing to spend some time listening. But I don’t kid myself that I am able to correct the record on much of anything in a way that matters, although I don’t give up trying to do so.

Sometimes I’m mostly motivated to correct the record for myself. After all, that’s what happened with my original political change experience—I did a lot more research, armed with the tools of an internet that did not exist when I was a young adult forming most of my political beliefs, and sometimes that research led me to some surprising revelations that ended up changing my point of view on certain facts and position I had thought I understood correctly. And so to this day I like to test out, not just the theories and beliefs of other people with whom I disagree, but my own theories and beliefs.

But enough about me. Perhaps too much about me.

Here’s the text of Romney’s speech today. In it, he explains why he thinks a Trump nomination would be a bad thing, and he summarizes pretty much the sorts of points I’ve been making on this blog, and which others who do not support Trump have often made. Romney also is not naive about the fact that he will be criticized for this, including of course by Trump himself in his usual signature fashion.

I question the wisdom of using a failed candidate like Romney to get out this message, and I would have preferred him to have also alluded to his own failings as a 2012 candidate, and his own responsibility for the situation we have faced in a second-term Obama presidency. In fact, there are plenty of things about Romney that were problematic in 2012. One of these problems was his Romneycare history, which I tried to explain on this blog many times (I think it looked worse than it actually was, but looks are important, too). Another was his failure to rebound from the Candy Crowley debate incident. But I’m not going to rehash that history in detail here, except to say that I thought and still think he would have actually made a pretty good president, and that—for a politician, anyway—he’s a decent man.

Trump supporters and even some others are mocking Romney today. Failure, coward, establishment shill, etc.. But I certainly don’t think Romney was attempting to convince any Trump supporters when he made that speech. He was speaking to others in the party who do not support Trump—some of whom are critical of the GOP establishment as well.

Many people who are against the GOP establishment act as though there is something exceedingly evil about it, whereas I see that establishment as typical of leaders of a party that’s been somewhat protected and grown ossified. It’s a process that often occurs. They are not a nimble group, as the fight against Obama and now against Trump has demonstrated very clearly, although we hardly needed more demonstration of it.

I’m not supporting nor have I ever supported during this election cycle one of their candidates. I was first for Scott Walker, next for Carly Fiorina, and after both were gone I settled on Cruz, where I remain today. But that doesn’t mean I think the GOP establishment is composed of demons. It is composed of people who think they are acting both in the interests of the country, a majority of GOP voters, and of course in their own self-interest. Why would they not act in their own self-interest as they see it? Self-sacrificing statesmen full of wisdom are few and far between and always have been, alas, although in certain historical times they were more plentiful than they are today. And if they are too self-sacrificing, they tend not to rise very high in the world of politics or business, or anything other than the world of sainthood.

But I digress; back to the text of Romney’s speech. The following passage, I believe, was the point of the speech in terms of Romney’s message towards the GOP voters and establishment leaders to whom it was actually addressed:

I am not going to endorse a candidate today. Instead, I would like to offer my perspective on the nominating process of my party. In 1964, days before the presidential election which, incidentally, we lost, Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America saying that it was a “Time for Choosing.” He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I’m no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment but I believe with all my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country…

If the other candidates can find common ground, I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism. Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.

Now for some of the more specific criticisms of Romney. One I’m seeing—other than the usual heat directed at the establishment himself—goes more or less like this: “Romney is giving Hillary Clinton talking points against Trump.” But the most common one seems to be: “Can anyone remember Mitt Romney being this forceful against Barack Obama?” (That latter sentence is a quote from DaTechGuy, a fellow New England blogger whom I’ve met and respect).

But to me the answers are easy. To the first: does anyone on earth think Hillary doesn’t have her own attack on Trump already planned, and that Romney’s will pale compared with hers? Let me assure you, of one thing I am certain, and that is that Hillary doesn’t need Romney to do her opposition research. The rest of that objection is merely the same objection that is always mounted towards intra-party criticism during any primary season, which of course gives the other side ammunition to use in the general but unavoidably occurs during all contested primary battles, which can and often are very vicious (sometimes more vicious than the general, because they are civil wars).

The second objection is easy to answer; all it takes is a little Googling and you find, for example, this from Romney in August of 2012:

Romney repeatedly and harshly criticized Team Obama for the remarks.

“[Obama’s] campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower,” Romney said.

“This is an election in which we should be talking about the path ahead, but you don’t hear any answers coming from President Obama’s reelection campaign. That’s because he’s intellectually exhausted, out of ideas and out of energy. And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others. This is an old game in politics; what’s different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low.”…

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul then released a second statement criticizing the Obama campaign.

“In case anyone was wondering just how low President Obama could go in his campaign for reelection, we now know he’s willing to say that Gov. Romney wants to put people back in chains,” Saul said. “Whether it’s accusing Mitt Romney of being a felon, having been responsible for a woman’s tragic death or now wanting to put people in chains, there’s no question that because of the president’s failed record he’s been reduced to a desperate campaign based on division and demonization.”

Romney denounced Obama right after the Benghazi attacks:

As soon as Mr. Romney landed [he’d been on a plane], he was updated on breaking developments. He personally read and approved his campaign’s statement before it was sent out at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” it said.

More on Romney’s near-immediate response to Benghazi:

…Romney reiterated the charge at a hastily staged news conference here Wednesday morning.

“I think it’s a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values, that instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation,” Romney told reporters. “An apology for America’s values is never the right course.”

…Romney took a calculated gamble in admonishing the president before the full gravity of the situation was known.

But he was left hanging from a weak limb as many in his party — including his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) — appeared to undercut him with noticeably more conciliatory and somber responses. “This is a time for healing. It’s a time for resolve,” Ryan said Wednesday during a campaign stop in De Pere, Wis.

“It almost feels like Sarah Palin is his foreign policy adviser,” Matthew Dowd, who was a top strategist for president George W. Bush, said in an interview. “It’s just a huge mistake on the Romney campaign’s part — huge mistake.”

Now, those critics were the real GOP establishment, the ones who didn’t attack Obama right away, and it was the wrong approach. But that wasn’t Romney, who kept going until Crowley kneecapped him in the debate (at which point I though he should have challenged her more forcibly).

Romney is not an angel; he made mistakes. That makes him human, and I don’t think he was critical enough of Obama in 2012. But it’s not at all hard to find some very forceful anti-Obama statements by Romney (I did it in less than 30 seconds), and people have let them drop down the memory hole because in the end they were not effective enough. But you know what? I don’t think that more statements of that kind by Romney (or anyone else) in 2012 would have done a particle of good, because the American people weren’t willing to accept them at the time.

[ADDENDUM: By the way, here’s a good example of my efforts to try to correct the record. It was a response of mine which describes Romney’s actual positions on illegal immigration when he ran for president in 2012. Compare it, if you like, to your recollection of those positions. My comment also includes Trump’s position at the time on Romney’s position. The entire comment of mine was a response to this comment by “JurassiCon Rex.”]

46 Responses to “On Romney’s anti-Trump speech and the establishment”

  1. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    My expectation is not that Trump will be evil, but that he will simply be a bumbler. He is a motivational speaker and salesman who learns very quickly how to present himself in any situation. That means he is not stupid; it is a very useful skill in a political career, similar to Obama’s “blank screen.” But it is of little use in governing.

    He covers his failures quickly and well.

  2. expat Says:

    AVI,
    He covers them quickly and well enough for the uninformed, but he will have real foes should he become president. I can’t imagine a foreign leader not playing all his ignorant statements to the hilt.

    WRT Romney’s speech, I don’t think it was intended to reach the masses. I see it as a blieprint to by used by workers in the campaigns of other candidates. He did a masterful job of loading them with information. I also think he knows the Trumpsters are not reachable. His info is to be aimed at late deciders.

  3. NeoConScum Says:

    Neo: I’ve just listened to Mitt’s remarks about Trump and some of The Donald’s far, far longer reply today.
    One is a seasoned adult. One is a high-chair pounding defiant infant with no impulse control. Cannot imagine the catastrophic consequences of Mr. King Baby/No Filter/No restraint/ No Prudence sitting in the Oval with vast power.
    Not going to happen, of course, as there is a 100% chance he
    Will LOSE of he’s our nominee.

    **Correction: I CAN imagine some of the consequences and they are horrific. My God.

  4. JurassiCon Rex Says:

    “He was speaking to others in the party who do not support Trump”

    Our interesting times come bundled with irony. The decent man, Romney (like the Bushes, and Bob Dole (exception being the repugnant John McCain)) says pretty things about, and will champion, most any alien over Americans and America. The figurative turd in the bunch bowl, on the other hand, champions Americans and America. Golly gee-wilikers, what has Trump got that would sway an American who is detested and vilified by coastal nouveaux haute mondes, his own party, and the ‘conservative’ upper crust?

    “that doesn’t mean I think the GOP establishment is composed of demons”

    If it is not composed entirely of demons it is influenced entirely by demons. The neo-conservatives outside the party proper (Kristol, Podhoretz, et al., going back to the time of the great changing (disillusion with the Communist Party – Commies turned neoconservative) have had their hooks in the GOP for better than a half century. The anti war party had become the permanent war party. The anti-empire party had become the imperial party. The mind yourself, stay at home, isolationist party became the savior party – on the march the world over. If that is not demonic then there’s no such a thing as evil – excepting for disagreeing with GOP/Cons adventures and strategies apparently.

  5. Richard Says:

    Mitt is a nice, accomplished man with a wonderful family but he lacks certain instincts necessary to combat the statist surge. Our country desperately needs a “street fighter” to unleash holy hell on the progressive forces to annihilate them. America first, now or never!

  6. Ann Says:

    JurassiCon Rex:

    Sounds as if you’ve imbibed way too much of Pat Buchanan’s paleocon brew.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    JurassiCon Rex:

    Your contention is that Romney “says pretty things about, and will champion, most any alien over Americans and America.”

    I’ll just give these, which entirely refute your contention:

    2012 Republican Presidential Nominee

    Former Governor of Massachusetts
    Mitt Romney

    “I am a great proponent of legal immigration… Many of you are living proof of the unique strength of America that is constantly renewed by new Americans. The promise of America has brought some of the world’s best and brightest to our shores.”

    September 2, 2011, speech to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly Convention in Tampa, Florida

    “I love immigration. I love legal immigrants coming into our country … My guess is everybody in this room is a descendant of an immigrant or an immigrant himself. So we love immigration as Americans. Immigration brings us education, new cultures, ideas, innovative talent. It’s wonderful to have legal immigration. I don’t like illegal immigration.”

    February 8, 2007; Radio Iowa News

    •On Amnesty
    Very much against.
    Illegal immigration has got to end and any form of citizenship amnesty is troublesome.

    September 13, 2007; Midland Reporter-Telegram
    “The idea of an amnesty-type provision is something I oppose and continue to oppose.”

    05/23/2007, Newsmax.com

    •On Legislation
    “Governor Romney believes more state and local authorities should work with the federal government to enforce immigration laws. This builds off of his experience in Massachusetts where he deputized the State Police to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and enforce federal immigration laws … Governor Romney will provide additional resources to enforce existing immigration laws throughout the nation. We cannot be serious about our immigration laws until we provide the resources needed to enforce them. ”

    November 9, 2007, Official Press Release from MittRomney.com
    “We must stop providing the incentives that promote illegal immigration… As governor, I vetoed legislation that would have provided in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants and I strengthened the authority our state troopers had to enforce existing immigration laws.”

    September 2, 2011, speech to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly Convention in Tampa, Florida
    “Let me tell you about immigration from my standpoint. I think number one, we should secure out border, and number two, We should put in place an employment verification system. And by that I mean that everybody who is not a United States citizen with a valid social security number would be expected to get a card with their name and number and some biometric information and would indicate their work status. Whether they have a visa that allows them to work here or not. And then when an employer is thinking of hiring someone, if they don’t have a valid social security number, he/she ask for the card, they put the number in the computer, and the federal database immediately tells them whether they are available to be working or not. If they’re not, you can’t hire them. And if you do, you get the same penalties and fines as if you are not paying your taxes.”

    [A video from 2007]

    U.S. Mexico Border Fence
    “civil but resolute … to do a better job of securing its borders, and as president, I will. That means completing construction of a high-tech fence, and investing in adequate manpower and resources.

    Do you ever research what you write? Just wondering.

    Also, here’s Trump on Romney’s immigration policy back in 2012:

    Whether intended or not, comments and policies of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates during this election were seen by Hispanics and Asians as hostile to them, Trump says.

    “Republicans didn’t have anything going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians,” the billionaire developer says.

    “The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it,” Trump says. “They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.”

    He said Romney’s “crazy policy of self deportation” cost him the Latino vote and the Republican party in general needs to “take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country.”

  8. Inkraven Says:

    Romney is setting himself up to be the brokered “compromise” choice at the convention. Good luck with that, Hillary would slaughter him in a general election. Apparently, losing in 2012 wasn’t enough for him; he wants to lose in 2016 as well. But at least we know now why he popped up to take shots at Trump about his taxes (didn’t Romney hem and haw for a while himself when Harry Reid tried the same baseless attack four years ago?).

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Inkraven:

    I don’t think there’s any chance Romney wants to run.

    We’ll see, but I bet I’m correct on that.

  10. Inkraven Says:

    Also, I’ll just leave this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-e92jqug0w&feature=youtu.be

  11. K-E Says:

    Biggest problem was Romney did not bring it during the debates. Obama is from Chicago. He plays dirty. Romney needed to be brutal. He was too nice to go there. It was like McCain in 2008 who said he thought Obama was a ‘good man.’ Bad, bad, bad.

    The GOP strategy for too long has been ‘be nice so that you can win the independents.’ They always worry about ‘scaring’ voters away.

    Republicans have been doormats and it did nothing for them in the last 2 presidential elections.

  12. Judith L. Says:

    I was never a Romney enthusiast, but I’m not ashamed of having voted for him. It amazes me that the meme seems to be that it’s the GOPe who is Trump’s biggest opponent within the GOP. For heaven’s sake, Dole and Trent Lott came out for Trump over Cruz. They are card-carrying members of the most ossified part of the GOPe. And if DT gets the R nomination, don’t get in the way of DC insiders who stampede to endorse him. As Romney said, this is, once more, a time for choosing. I was a Dem back in Reagan’s day. I’m a checks and balances, small government, conservative now. There is no way I can in good conscience vote for DT.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    K-E:

    Actually, Romney DID “bring it” during the debates. He just stopped bringing it after the Crowley attack. That was his failure. He brought it and then dropped it when he saw what the MSM was willing to do against him. I think they would have kept doing it, too, and as I said the American people weren’t ready to hear it.

    But he still should have kept it up.

  14. Ann Says:

    Exactly right, Neo. He sent Obama reeling in the first debate — Mitt Romney Absolutely Destroyed Obama In The First Presidential Debate

    Obama’s supporters were so scared by it, they actually laid into him for not being up to the task. Hence, the need to enlist Candy Crowley in the cause for the next debate.

  15. Inkraven Says:

    Neo:

    If he’s not interested in taking another crack at the White House, then why is he suddenly back in the spotlight after four years of obscurity? But let’s look at the landscape:

    ¿Jeb? – never had a chance once Trump started going after him, despite being the GOPe’s chosen one. Watching the donor class set $50 million on fire was fun to watch, though.
    Rubio – the GOPe’s second choice, but even Fox News is considering pulling their support, if they haven’t already done so. Also, it should be known that the guy in charge of the Fox debates is Rubio’s press secretary’s father.
    Cruz – I know he’s your preferred choice and all, but if the GOPe is so scared of Trump that they’re doing everything in their power to bring him down, do we really think they’re going to trade one outsider for another? Better to back the candidate that has a decent chance of winning the whole thing.
    Carson, Kasich – non-starters.

    Also, expect Saturday’s debate audience to be packed with people who love Romney. The person in charge of ticket allocation is Romney’s niece.

  16. OldTexan Says:

    As stated above these are most interesting times, I was pleased to cast my vote for Romney and I think he would have been a decent president and now after what he has done today I kind hope some seagulls peck him on the head before he leaves Utah. I find it remarkable that a man who could not step up and at least fight hard when it was his turn now turns on the front runner in the primary elections and caucuses.

    The peasants are revolting, really revolting and we are through with this thing here in Texas until the conventions when we might need to pay some attention and then of course we need to vote in November so now we will just wait and see. I would be OK with either Cruz or Trump and I will certainly respect the people in other states who vote for their choice and I will not be surprised if Trump really starts pulling out ahead as the common folk who don’t relate to Romney and his friends cast their votes.

    Romney made a good case for voting against Trump but he seems to miss the point that a whole lot of people enjoy seeing Trump under attack and they are rooting for the underdog, it’s what peasants and unwashed commoners do.

    I don’t see how Romney has any standing in this part of the process so we will see if his attack, like many other will translate into a 5% gain in the polls for Trump. For a lot of folks what Romney did today is more of an endorsement than anything else, so we will see.

    After reading most of the comments for the past few weeks I do have an observation for the folks who are slamming and denigrating others. One point that was made to me when I was a child going to the polls at the fire station with my parents was that votes are private, the secret ballot is sacred and no one has to answer to anyone else for choosing on candidate over the other.

    But that’s just me, now we Texans can just sit back for a bit and watch the circus and munch on peanuts and popcorn as our national clown show works its way to the end. So please be nice to your friends and neighbors and respect their right to make their own decision. You might want to borrow jumper cables from them some day.

  17. Ann Says:

    Probably won’t dissuade most Trump supporters, but this is worth reading: Open Letter on Donald Trump from GOP National Security Leaders:

    We the undersigned, members of the Republican national security community, represent a broad spectrum of opinion on America’s role in the world and what is necessary to keep us safe and prosperous. We have disagreed with one another on many issues, including the Iraq war and intervention in Syria. But we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency. Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly:…

    The list of objections follows.

  18. parker Says:

    Mitt is an honorable man. I see his comments as showing his deep misgivings about Trump and his concern for the destruction the donald will cause. Romney was not my choice in 2012, but I voted for him without hesitation; and I believe he would have been a competent president. The cult of the donald is a suicide pact… break out the kool-aid.

  19. Ann Says:

    Romney is doing his bit to keep the Republican party from being represented by Trump. Perhaps he, like Jonah Goldberg, is okay with Trump going off and running third party. The most important thing to them now isn’t winning the presidency, but in making sure Trump doesn’t become the face of the GOP.

  20. jack Says:

    Mitt seems to be a nice man. I’m pretty he’s a nice man.

    Current electorate could care less about having a nice man as their candidate. They will take the devil himself/or herself if they can win it all!

    I’m not saying Trump is the devil. Hillary maybe.

    I stick by what I said when Trump came in the election.

    Give me someone that will hit back and hit back hard … never again someone caught like a deer in the headlights aka Mitt with Candy Crowley. I knew it was all over from that moment.

    I’ve decided Trump is not my pick BUT if he is the nominee I won’t have any more of a problem pulling that lever for him than I did for McCain or Romney … at least I’m now convinced he’ll be fighting to actually win.

  21. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Judith L.: Dole endorsed Rubio in late February 2016. Trent Lott endorsed Kasich at the same time frame, February 2016. Go to the Rubio and Kasich sites to see.

    Cruz is the true Conservative.

    Dole and Lott are GOPe.

  22. Dan Says:

    Romney is a respectable man. I voted for him before, and if it comes down to voting for him again as a write-in (in a Trump-Clinton scenario) and giving Clinton the presidency I’ll be able to live with that.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Inkraven:

    As I’ve written time and again, Trump is the LEAST likely of the GOP candidates to beat Hillary, not the most. Trump supporters like to state the opposite, but there is no evidence for it and the evidence so far points to what I’m saying instead. Search this blog and you’ll find several posts on the subject.

    You are also incorrect that Romney hasn’t been speaking out till now. He has spoken out in many ways on many topics since 2012, much of it very pointed criticism of Obama. A simple search and you could locate it. Research is your friend.

  24. jack Says:

    neo …

    Hip hop outsells classical 10 to 1.

    This is what our politics have become.

    Do you get what I mean?

  25. Sharon W Says:

    Ann, that is one of my problems with the GOP, protection of the GOP itself. When the founders established this country, they pledged “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor”. And to my knowledge all of them lost their fortunes at the very least. The perpetuation and escalation of unconscionable debt that represents nothing more than theft of the next generations has been aided and abetted by every Republican that has signed-on, the latest being the Omnibus Bill. “We’ll be blamed! It will destroy the party!…if the government is shut down.” OK. So keep passing that buck, because far from being willing to make the cited pledge, these “leaders” can’t even stomach disapproval and criticism or job loss by letting the chips fall where they will because the right thing must be done. I get it. So let’s just keep kicking that can down the road and the whitewashed tomb that is our party can remain, but the country that it is suppose to serve will finally cease to exist in any sense of its original form. None of this suggests that Trump is the answer (we are Cruz people), but most assuredly the destruction will move along in full force under a Democrat in collusion with both other branches of our once great government. So if given the choice between Trump or Clinton, I will roll the dice that those other 2 branches will discover their historical purpose and stop a rogue Trump. I’m certain that would not be the case with a Democrat.

  26. Cornhead Says:

    Mitt brought up Trump’s Vietnam years: sexual exploits while McCain was at the Hanoi Hilton.

    Expect more tonight.

  27. JurassiCon Rex Says:

    Ann says,

    “Sounds as if you’ve imbibed way too much of Pat Buchanan’s paleocon brew.”

    Ann, you may have noticed I go by JurassiCon Rex, meaning I predate Mr Buchanan’s paleoconservatism.

  28. jack Says:

    Sexual exploits in the past would kill a candidate.

    Today it’s a passing thought thanks to our cultural changes.

  29. JurassiCon Rex Says:

    Dear Neo-neocon:

    Research what I go on about? Hell no. I can see and hear quite well. What had transpired in this nation over two decades is readily apparent and requires neither investigation or reading white papers, or hanging on the really big thoughts of think tanks.
    Mr Romney, was all for legal immigration. I’ll wager, without clocking the horse, that he’s all for the H1-B visa program. How is upwards of fifty million legal immigrants pro American?

    You seem beset by what had been uttered in the past by these candidates. And what of condemning Neo-neocon for what she had thought and said in her liberal past. Or condemn me for what I had uttered and believed – and I was conservative even before I was baptized (as an infant). Doubt is a must. Every politician must be taken with a cocktail of skepticism and cynicism. The last public man worthy of deep and abiding trusts was probably George Washington – and then there were none. But it is also incumbent on anyone sizing up a man for political office to keep in mind that the man who represents himself in his utterings and contributions may have it in him the understanding that he embarks on an office in which he will represent the will, and certainly the fears and tribulations, of a constituency – the people. To believe that Mr Trump has not that capacity is to deny that he alone has made a point of going against what he had said and believed, to conveying publicly, resolutely, in no uncertain terms, the very real issues that vex middle Americans.

    Open borders, a borderless nation, had not been his concern – but he’d noticed it as a concern of a sizable portion of the electorate. Fear and loathing of Islam had not been a blip on his radar but he’d discerned it in the public at large. He may have been cavalier in his attitudes toward American businesses and their general disdain for American workers but he, singularly, has acknowledged the discontent and boiling anger – out there. Above all, I believe Mr Trump has no illusions (or delusions) about his capacity, alone, to make America great again. I do believe however, he recognizes what a great many of the people want and had not so much as a whiff from the deadbeats and/or collaborators of the grand ole party. They want someone to represent them, not a candidate’s notions of what’s best for them.
    If anyone would reform democracy – it desperately needs it – they ought take up first the political impulse to rule the people. Anyone so obtuse as to the workings of representative democracy ought to be barred from public office and all public responsibilities. I would think a hanging or two might enjoin others of the ilk to tread lightly… but I’m pretty much in the minority on that point… so far.

  30. expat Says:

    Ann,
    I read that letter at PJM. The Trumpster commenters didn’t even know what it was about. One idiot even criticized the signers fo not stopping No Child Left Behind. Foreign policy is a big deal to me, so I was happy to see the letter. I hope it gets used in local contests to raise questions among the undecideds.

  31. Sharon W Says:

    Expat, if foreign policy is a big deal to you, how are you comfortable with the continuation of the policies of Obama/Clinton, that for all intents and purposes erased any gains by all the blood and treasure that was spilled in the Middle East? Add to that the slaps in the faces of so many of our allies. The stupidity of Hillary’s interactions with Russia! Suggesting she is preferable to a Trump doesn’t add up for me.

  32. ttyler Says:

    What was the purpose of Mitt’s speech??? The net result is that the GOP, Mitt (who I voted for) and everyone speaking on its behalf as if it is legitimate 1) looked really desperate and 2) probably drove more folks into supporting Trump. Please stop it! People did not back Mitt then, when listen to him now??? Simply bizarre. The GOP is crumbling before our eyes. It made things worse for conservatives.

  33. Ann Says:

    Ross Douthat on Twitter a few hours ago — No Trump voter would ever listen to Romney, except for the Trump voters who might have voted for Romney over Trump — and links to a Boston Globe article from last November that said a poll of New Hampshire Republican primary voters showed that Romney would have had a 2-to-1 win there over Trump.

  34. Dutch Says:

    Romney should keep his fat, braying mouth shut. As the ultimate betrayer of conservatism, he has no right to criticize Trump–no matter HOW unqualified and unpresidential Trump is.

  35. Ann Says:

    Looks as if Romney’s going to keep at it — Today Show’s Matt Lauer ‏@MLauer earlier today: “Happy to say that @MittRomney will join me live in studio for an exclusive interview at 7am tomorrow. Plenty to talk about.”

  36. blert Says:

    Is it not plain as day that HRC, the MSM, and the Left ALL want Trump as the GOP nominee?

    Sheesh.

    Hillary Rodham-Clinton-Goldman-Sachs can’t deal with Ted Cruz in ANY debate format.

    Rubio is TOAST.

    He’s way behind in his home state – – and Jeb! has yet to endorse him.

    Rubio is also OFF the ticket as far as Donald is concerned — and probably Ted, too.

    I can see a Trump// Cruz ticket — brokered convention.

    I can see a Cruz// Carly ticket…

    First Latino
    First Female V-P

    Competing against

    First Felon

    &&&

    Though it’s more likely that Ted will select someone able to pull Electoral Votes.

  37. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I agree with Romney’s assertion that Trump does not have the temperament for the job but Trump’s analysis of what is wrong is excellent, which goes to judgement.

    But I have a lot of problems with many of Romney’s assertions;

    “I say this in part because of my conviction that America is poised to lead the world for another century. Our technology engines, our innovation dynamic, and the ambition and skill of our people will propel our economy and raise our standard of living. America will remain as it is today, the envy of the world.”

    Would that it were true. The man is living in an alternative universe. Wall Street illusions blinding him from Main Street realities.

    “Warren Buffett was 100% right when he said last week that “the babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

    ‘Potential’ is not actuality. Babies born today instantly face an astronomically obscene level of national indebtedness. We won’t be trying to pay off that 19+ TRILLION indebtedness, they will!

    “U.S. Debt Up $1,608,304 for Each Baby Born the Year Obama Took Office”

    “If the federal government were to continue accumulating net debt throughout the expected 78.5-year lifespan of a baby born in 2009 at the same average annual pace it has accumulated net debt during Obama’s first five years as president, the government would add more than $104 trillion in net debt during the life expectancy of those babies.”

    So far more likely is that fiscal collapse will occur and they will grow up in a world we can’t even imagine but our depression era grandparents sure could. Though this time, the entire world’s bankruptcy will be much worse.

    “That doesn’t mean we don’t have real problems and serious challenges. …But if we make the right choices, America’s future will be even better than our past and better than our present.”

    But that is the problem, Americans in the aggregate are NOT “making the right choices”, proven with Obama’s 2012 reelection and now with Trump AND Sander’s elevation to the national stage. That men that deluded and unqualified are being considered, not by the merest fraction of the electorate but instead are considered by many, many millions of Americans as… preferable candidates, tells us all we need to know of just how badly our ship of state has gone astray. Romney’s failure to appreciate these obvious lessons, given his loss in 2012… is telling.

    [Trump’s] “proposed 35% tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war that would raise prices for consumers, kill export jobs, and lead entrepreneurs and businesses to flee America. His tax plan, in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and to honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt.”

    A trade war is the ONLY way to stop the obscenely unsustainable trade imbalance with China. They have to be convinced that the status quo has ended. We either suffer greatly now or suffer far more at a future date. There is LITTLE support in Congress for lowering the deficit and national debt because that is necessary to the continuance of the entitlement state. Under any democrat or RINO there will be NO honest addressing of spending, the deficit or the national debt.

    Romney states that, “I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism.”

    Does Romney actually believe that either Kasich or Rubio “represent the values and policies of conservatism”???

    ” I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.”

    This reveals that electibilty rather than principle are foremost in his thinking, so a continuance of the GOPe is acceptable. Which WILL ensure America’s future collapse.

    “Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS.”

    News flash Mr Romney! The FBI is on record stating that they get ZERO engagement from American Muslims in our ‘urgent’ fight against ISIS. The great majority of American Muslims are first Muslim and Islam’s tenets are unalterably and fundamentally opposed to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”…

    Such clueless opinion, when many in our military have confirmed that we are doing little to combat ISIS overseas. An average of 20 sorties a day with a refusal to allow targeting of key ISIS positions is NOT fighting “urgently”. Its accepting lip service.

    “The President of the United States has long been the leader of the free world.”

    Not any more sir and, the world has long looked to our leadership… when it suited them. Ingrates who consistently place national interest above any other consideration. That America is more generous during foreign disasters than ALL of the rest of the world combined, tells us all we need to know about those we ‘lead’.

    “Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants”

    Pure Bullpucky. The majority of American Muslims support Sharia law for themselves, a sure sign of NON-assimilation.

    “Among Muslims aged 18-29–the future Muslims in America–only 25% said they think of themselves as American first. 60% said they are Muslim first, 5% refused to answer (which means they are Muslim first) and 10% said “both equally” (which means they are Muslim first). Even among those Muslims who said they are American first, 15% supported suicide bombings, and 39% didn’t believe that Arabs perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.”

    Illegal immigrants disrespect our laws and then act outraged when called out for their criminality. Far too many reek of entitlement. La Raza’s popularity among Mexican immigrants is astronomical.

    [Trump]“he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press.”

    Waterboarding is NOT ‘torture’! He’s not calling for the direct murder of innocents. He’s saying allowing jihadists to use innocents for protection against retaliation is a formula for defeat. Trump is saying that, faced with totalitarian fanaticism, someone’s going to die. It can be M.E. innocents or American innocents.

    Romney is another George Bush. A decent man who loves America but deeply clueless and completely unwilling to face hard realities.

  38. Sharon W Says:

    GB–That rundown can only be improved upon by adding that the fact that Hillary Clinton is the leading nominee for the Democrat ticket is also indicative of our depraved national condition.

  39. blert Says:

    G.B.

    Preach it brother.

    Romney = clueless.

  40. blert Says:

    Based upon his business history, I think Donald Trump would astound all as to his Oval Office moxie.

    It’s just that he’s ALREADY set up to take a dive in November — whether he wants to or not.

    The MSM will trip him up.

    He’s NOT a winner with the typical registered GOP voter.

    His vote tallies are buttressed by Leftist activists that are falsely signing on as Republicans.

    Virginia figures to be just such a victory for Trump.

    Up in Minnesota the activists figured that Rubio would be dreamy.

    ( To keep the dog fight going, that’s why. Yes, the vote was unexpected That state was virtually off the radar for the MSM… and the campains, too. )

    Near as I can tell, Rubio made virtually NO campaign appearances up north. The echo of Iowa would have to do.

  41. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Sharon W,

    Point taken, thanks!

  42. parker Says:

    GB,

    I hear you loud and clear on our/the world’s fiscal suicide. The next great depression will IMO be totally unlike the 1930s. It will be far more severe and all societal cohesion will collapse into chaos and violence. I doubt all but a few societies will be able to cope with the looming catastrophe, and our’s will not be one of them. The left’s divide and conquer politics will come back to haunt them.

    Its all just a matter of when.

  43. Phil Dayton Says:

    Mr. Romney was the nominee in 2012 and by virtue of that certainly had access to the leadership of the Republican from 2012 on. Despite having this access Mr. Romney has done nothing to advance the issues that the people are interested seeing advanced or that he said he supported since he lost the election. It is okay to exit the political stage after a electoral loss and to refrain from engaging in politics. But once you have exited, stay exited. Don’t try to come back on stage and tell us who is best to address our concerns when you have done nothing about that since your electoral loss.

  44. Cass Says:

    Thank you for this post, Neo.

    I suspect part of the reason – perhaps most of it – for Trump’s popularity is that the man is totally unfazed by the Left’s favorite debating tactic: attacking the person (“Racist! Homophobe! Sexist! 1 Percenter!!!11!”) instead of addressing the argument on the merits.

    Realizing that neither the Left nor the Right care much about the merits anymore, Trump provides little in the way of arguments – much less any cogent explanation of how he’s going to single handedly make America great again. Instead, we have the prospect of the leader of the free world assuring us that his schlong is quite adequate, thank-you-very-much. Remind anyone of a certain thin-skinned president currently serving?

    The combination of reckless braggadocio, wildly unrealistic boasts and promises, and utter inability to simply ignore trivial challenges to his ego that are beneath the dignity of the office he’s pursuing, he reminds me of Obama, promising to heal the oceans – nay, the planet! – and make the world respect America again while trash-talking his opponents every chance he gets.

    Nary a hint of how these truly gargantuan tasks would be accomplished. As Susan Sarandon breathlessly whispered, “I can’t wait to see what Obama stands for”. Looking at Trump, I can’t help but feel the world’s biggest case of deja vu.

    It’s amusing to see people countering Romney’s case against Trump by… (channeling the Left) attacking the messenger rather than refuting the merits of his arguments. They’ll have less success refuting the case made by 90-odd Republican national security experts, so my guess is that we’ll hear little about that.

    One of the biggest jobs of any president is to set the tone and direction of our foreign policy and serve as commander in chief of our armed forces.

    And we’re getting ready to hand those important jobs to a man who denigrates the service of men who spent years in Vietnamese POW camps because “they were captured”. I’d love to see him say that to the faces of men like Leo Thorseness or Jeremiah Denton. This is man who has the colossal gall to compare the risk of catching an STD from indiscriminate sex to serving in VietNam.

    I don’t trust the judgment or the character of a man who thinks that sleeping around makes him “a great and brave soldier”. I don’t respect a man who admires Putin and thinks Bush lied us into war.

    During the Clinton years, I frequently felt embarrassed for my country. That experience was painful enough when the President was a Democrat. I don’t want to feel that way with a Republican in the Oval Office.

    This guy is the Republican Obama. *THAT* is why so many lifelong conservatives oppose him.

  45. sdferr Says:

    our depraved national condition

    heh. (on accounta it’s deprived!)

  46. fiona Says:

    One way or another, rice bowls are going to be broken. Trotting the MIttster out to reprove the peasants was so incredibly tone deaf that only a “protected” class elite could even consider it. Neo, I know you swooned over Romney and still think that Ryan and his ilk in Congress are trying hard (to do what? or are they so kack-handed they think they are impressing any one?), but this event only recalled to me the horrible days and hours working on the Romney campaign in 2012 and trying to salvage some local races for Republicans out of the wreck of a campaign that any competent business man should have been ashamed to run. I am still working hard for Cruz, but all that speech did was take me out of the #NeverTrump camp – and I am not alone. The Republicans have chosen the form of their destructor and the country club is going to be a very uncomfortable place very soon.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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