That Mitt Romney Piece in Washington Post

I read it.
I had to.
Why? Because a friend of mine said after reading this that and I quote “Romney had a pair.”

And I just have to say, “No. No he doesn’t.”

If Romney, or some other GOP members that pop to mind, did “have a pair” I don’t think we would have Trump in the oval office. And as I read through this supposedly intense piece of political criticism it feels as if it has fallen short of the mark. It feels like a bit of performance art. As if it is designed to create the appearance of distancing Mr. Romney from the president. Instead much of it can be read with the tones of an apology.

Let’s just take this apart piece by piece:

  • The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December.

    This supposes that the Trump presidency was ever going to do more than crawl through its own muck. Any serious watcher of Trump wouldn’t have taken this bet.

  • But, on balance, conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.

    The hope that Trump would “rise to the occasion” is another way of saying that he and the GOP are not responsible for the mess that is this administration. 
    In my mind it translates to :   “Oh, hey. We’ve elected a sociopath. Look at that. Well maybe we’ll give him time and he’ll get better. You guys with me. Good. “

  • It is not that all of the president’s policies have been misguided. These are policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years.

    Here Mr. Romney is wedging in some “We didn’t totally screw the pooch” rhetoric.  He defends Trump’s policies calling them mainstream Republican. This is disingenuous at best. To put forward that Trump’s interpretation of the GOP platform is not a twisting of common sense to surrealism is in itself either naive or delusional.

    He points to the decisions for lower taxes on corporations, regulation rollbacks…  and all the rest as part of the Republican mainstream. 

    If Mr. Romney wants to maintain this position he has to align himself with
    the massive explosion of the deficit 
    Stan Collender writing for USA Today reported this in October 2017 – “A simple analysis of what Treasury reported shows that virtually the entire deficit increase was because the tax cut enacted in December reduced revenues substantially.”

    I’ll add this from CNBC on  Oct 15, 2018: US budget deficit expands to $779 billion in fiscal 2018 as spending surges. The federal budget deficit rose 17 percent in fiscal 2018, according to the Trump administration. Spending jumped, and revenue only increased slightly following the GOP tax cuts.  ~ Jacob Pramuk

    and the hoodwinking of the American populace, especially the lower and middle classes.
    This is more proof that if Mr.Romney ‘had a pair’ he wouldn’t be trying to spin one of the most disastrous tax increases on the middle class as ‘good’.  Remember… all those cuts in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” vanish for individuals in 2025. The corporate ones, a reduction by 14%, those are permanent.

  • The call for a balanced budget is ludicrous. How can any member of the GOP stand up and call for fiscal responsibility when 

    The Tax Policy Center estimates “that the Trump plan would reduce federal receipts by $6.2trillion between 2016 and 2026 (table 2)before accounting for macroeconomic feedback effects.12About three-fourthsof the revenue loss would come from business tax provisions.”

    They go on to state an even more troubling aspect of the tax reform:
    With interest costs, a $5.5 trillion tax plan would be enough to increase debt to 111 percent of Gross Domestic Product (compared to 89 percent of GDP in CBO’s baseline) by 2027. That would be higher than any time in U.S. history, and no achievable amount of economic growth could finance it.  

  • A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect.   And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.

    This administration is the result of the GOPs shortsighted pandering to a showman. It was obvious, undeniable and fact from the first rally that Trump plays to the pit, not the balcony.

  • Mr. Romney says his win is a ‘call for dignity’ and ‘respect’.

    No, it is not. What I’m seeing is a call for the GOP to find their misplaced morals which are probably lying somewhere in a gutter with their spine and collective testicles.

  • The world is also watching.

    Again, Romney is falling short of the mark. The world is aghast. It is curled up in a blanket fort somewhere in central Mongolia. That we the people of the United States could be so gulled by a charlatan, influenced by another nation (Russia if you aren’t paying attention) and led to install this unqualified, uncouth mad man is rightly disturbing.

  • Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world. 

    With the ending of stable leadership in the US it was inevitable that tensions would increase around the globe. We were and integral part of a status quo. It wasn’t the best peace by all means, but the rumblings of nations had taken on a background seismicity.

    But to quote Mr Romney himself:  In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent.

    Face it you can’t hide crazy, or incompetence, or selfishness. The Trump cultivated image is just that a facade no thicker than rice paper.

  • The alternative to U.S. world leadership offered by China and Russia is autocratic, corrupt and brutal.

    When Mr. Romney laments the rise of China and Russia in response to the decline of US foreign consistency I shake my head in pure disbelief. What did he think would happen? A power vacuum will be filled, and with the US looking increasingly neurotic and unstable the ‘strong man’ image of other nations is attracting away hard won allies.

  • To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home.

    Again, he can’t quite bring himself to enunciate the problem. Democracy in the US has a tyrant at the helm. Trump is the man who would be King. I have my own theories of how this will be attempted which I won’t share here. Suffice it to say, if the GOP doesn’t find their moral compass to oppose Trump I believe there will be efforts to extend his term in office – perhaps indefinitely.

  • But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.

    I’ll watch for this, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Mr. Romney’s last paragraph is an attempt at soaring rhetoric, the ‘call to the nation’ that is common in American political speeches. Especially of future candidates for office.

Some readers might think this is a solid piece of ‘calling out’ by Mr. Romney. But for me I can’t see the cajones. This sounds as apologetic as most of Romney’s rhetoric. And he’s still pandering to the elements of the GOP that landed us in this quagmire. No it doesn’t sound bold, or strong at all.

Though there is one thing we seem to agree on …
A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world — and an America — with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace.

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