Mitt Romney joins the list of approved Republicans for whom the left would still never, ever vote.
The Only Good Republican
Sure, the left loves Mitt Romney. Now.
Democrats, it is sometimes said, only love Republicans after they’re dead. There may be at least some truth to that.
See the recent state funeral gala of former President George H.W. Bush, and the many respectful, highly complimentary news articles that followed. Many of those articles appeared in publications that are usually a little harder on Republicans, especially Republicans who ignored the AIDS crisis at its peak.
Witness the aftermath of the death of Republican stalwart Sen. John McCain, a time in which liberal journalists seemed to forget every criticism they’d ever lobbied at the decorated war hero.
Though liberal love for Republicans doesn’t seem to be solely reserved for the honored dead; George W. Bush is still going strong, as his recent art exhibit featuring his paintings of U.S. soldiers at the Kennedy Center proves. Yet Bush is beloved by the likes of no less than Ellen Degeneres and Michelle Obama, though not perhaps by Mark Ruffalo.
Republicans and conservatives, and even a military general once referred to by the left as “Mad Dog Mattis”, have somehow found a new acceptance, and even embrace, from the left in the age of Donald Trump.
So perhaps it is the case that progressive Democrats also love Republicans who hate Donald Trump, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that. Consider the liberal willingness to quote former President George W. Bush on world peace, without a trace of irony, as his words came in the form of criticism of Trump’s recent decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Democrats love Republicans who no longer pose any threat whatever to Democrats.
Which brings us to the highest-profile “Never Trumper” in Washington since the sad passing of John McCain.
Sen. Mitt Romney has painted himself into a corner with his outspoken and constant criticism of the man at the top of the Republican ticket. It is a corner where Romney seems to have found new acceptance and new friendships; from the left, from Democrats, from the U.S. press, from news pundits and late-night comedians.
To find journalists and news anchors anxious to sit down with him, eager to give him air time and devote entire segments to his ideals and goals for the Republican party must feel like a balm to Romney after the days of his presidential run.
It must also really rankle Mitt Romney to have been undone by an anecdote about his allowing the Romney family dog to ride in a crate on the roof of a moving car whilst President Donald Trump’s daily outrages are too numerous to mention.
When he was running for president, Romney would have paid any sum for the attention he is now getting from the press, to have such a wide platform seemingly open up for him.
But aside from the Romney feel-good factor, the admiring attention he gets from Democrats and the left leaning press is empty and completely meaningless.
Bottom line: If Republicans subbed Romney in for Donald Trump today, Democrats still wouldn’t vote Republican on Election Day 2020. Democrats already had a chance to vote for Mitt Romney; they didn’t.
So why pander?
The same is true for conservatives on the right: Republicans may get a big old kick out of Tulsi Gabbard’s description of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the “Queen of all warmongers” and a “personification of rot in the Democratic Party”.
Republicans still aren’t going to vote for Tulsi Gabbard.
The Republicans themselves wanted a nice, likable moderate like Romney. Republicans wanted an elder statesman type like John McCain, someone with a sterling service record and strong policy chops. Republicans wanted a nice, sensible political dynasty like Jeb Bush.
What they got instead was Donald Trump.
The argument that Republicans needed a brawler, someone who wouldn’t fold under a constant barrage of hatred from the left-leaning press, someone who could withstand being called a war criminal and murderer of little children and worse, is worth considering.
Never Trumpers like Mitt Romney might enjoy the spot-light for a moment while they hit all the right notes for progressive-left audiences; Republican voters are less than impressed.
So, if you are an elected Republican trying to please Democrats who will never vote for you anyway, and you are doing so at the expense of Republicans who will no longer vote for you, what exactly is the point?
In spite of the temptation, Republicans like Romney should resist the urge to jump on the anti-Donald Trump bandwagon with the liberal left. It might be a fun ride, but for a Republican facing reelection, it may be a fast ride to nowhere.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)