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Mitt Romney: Is it piety or arrogance?

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Mitt Romney: Is it piety or arrogance?

Mitt Romney: Is it piety or arrogance?
February 07
16:22 2020

Utah Senator Mitt Romney won himself a place in history by being the first senator to vote for the impeachment and removal of a President of his or her own Republican Party.  It is not surprising that it would be a Republican to break that tradition since the Party has been subjected to more defectors on more issues than the generally lock-step Democratic Party.

By all measures, Romney did achieve what appears to be his primary objectives – to gain acceptance and notoriety by the ensconced political establishment and to get at a man he personally despises.  Romney’s hatred of President Trump may be partially seeded in the fact that Trump is holding an office that Romney coveted for his entire political career – and that Trump, who Romney sees as a low-life, is undeserving of the presidency of the United States.  How could that phony (Romney’s word) ascend to the highest office in the land that he, Romney, could not?

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Four things make Romney’s decision not entirely surprising.

First, there was the vote itself.  He was among a few senators that the media thought and hoped would defect.  He was the only one of that select group to have not revealed their vote against removal.  The ever-pragmatic Romney attempted to save a bit of standing with the GOP by splitting his vote between the two Articles of Impeachment – voting to convict on Abuse of Power and acquit on Obstruction of Congress.

Second was Romney’s self-righteous statement.  Ooooh, the agony of the decision – the most difficult he has ever had to make.  He tied his decision to his own self-proclaimed deep religious conviction and moral superiority.  It apparently was God who called upon Romney to make a meaningless vote in favor of removing Trump from the Oval office – arrogantly implying that those other 52 Republican senators were disregarding God’s will.

Even worse, I would have voted to acquit.  Does that make me immoral, ungodly?  Somehow, I do not see Romney’s embrace of God to be very convincing.  It is not to say that he does not believe that God guided his decision – I cannot know that — but rather that Romney put God on his own earthly calculation.

Romney picked up on the left’s narrative that a vote for acquittal would doom the senators’ reputation to historic infamy.  He said his vote was for his children and grandchildren – as if he was the only voting senator with progeny.

If his decision was not akin to the conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, what might have been his motivations?

His third reason may be a bit less godly.  There is reason to believe that it was a John McCain-style political grudge.  The former Massachusetts governor’s view of Trump seems to fluctuate based on Romney’s own political ambitions.  He viciously attacked Trump during the campaign only to supplicate himself when he thought he had a shot at the Secretary of State appointment.  You will recall that palsy-walsy dinner between Trump and Romney during the Transition Period.

Romney then reverted to his anti-Trump position until the Utah senate seat came up – at which time he wanted and received Trump’s endorsement.  Now he is again anti-Trump.  This could be a permanent breach.  Even Romney could not be that hypocritical.

A fourth consideration may have played into Romney’s decision – fame and notoriety.  He said he understands the anger his decision would cause in Republican circles.  Conversely, he had every reason to know that the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement – especially the press – would figuratively canonize him.  He was correct.

The very press that excoriated him in the 2012 presidential campaign suddenly found Romney a man of principle, high morality, and abounding courage.  They were quick to note that he is the only senator in American history to have voted to remove a President of his own party – failing to note that several Republican senators were prepared to vote for the conviction and removal of President Nixon.

What makes Romney’s decision suspect is that it served no good purpose other than to draw attention — and in some quarter – high praise onto himself.  He also gave Democrats and the media another ability to spin the impeachment against Trump by breaking partisan ranks.  While the press largely ignored the two Congressmen who voted against the Articles of Impeachment in the House – and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s refusal to support the Articles by voting “present” on both – the media elevated the Romney vote as the biggest news since Trump got elected.

In short, the Romney vote seems to have been devoid of good purpose and result.  It was just Romney being Romney.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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