FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2016, file photo, shows President-elect Donald Trump, center, eating dinner with Mitt Romney, right, and Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at Jean-Georges restaurant, in New York. Mitt Romney and President Donald Trump exchanged harsh criticisms of one another during the 2016 presidential campaign but also have a history of being willing to sit down with each other when mutually beneficial. Romney’s announcement that he’s running for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah creates the potential for future battles, or even deal-making. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
I can’t say I was all that surprised by Senator Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) impeachment vote yesterday. I can, however, say that I was disappointed in it — though, perhaps for a different reason than most.
I need to give some background here in order to provide context to what I’m about to say. In 2008, I was a Fred Thompson supporter — loved me some Fred! When it became apparent that he wouldn’t be a viable contender for the nomination, I had to adjust my thinking. Ultimately, I settled on Mitt Romney. Initially, I was a bit reluctant but I warmed to him. He wasn’t the most conservative candidate — but I wasn’t the most conservative voter. (Heck, 4 years earlier, I was still voting Democrat at the time of the presidential primary, casting my first vote for a Republican presidential candidate in November 2004.)
I was really sickened by what I perceived to be Huckabee’s disingenuous dig at both Romney and his Mormon beliefs…
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said he considers his rival Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith a religion, not a cult, but questioned whether Mormons believe “Jesus and the devil are brothers.”
Huckabee raised the question on his own in an interview to appear in The New York Times magazine on Sunday, and ignited a new flap in the up-for-grabs race to be the Republican Party’s nominee in the November 2008 presidential election.
Huckabee was asked if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. “I think it’s a religion,” he said in the interview, published on the newspaper’s Web site on Wednesday. “I really don’t know much about it.”
Then he asked: “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”
…and annoyed by his strategic efforts to block Romney in favor of McCain (whom I did NOT want to become the nominee.)
When Romney ultimately bowed out of the race and then spoke at CPAC, I found his words inspiring. I wrote at the time:
I listened to Michael Savage tonight as I drove home from work. That’s unusual for me — he’s on at 9:00 p.m. here, and I’m usually home well before then. Plus I find him rather obnoxious. Had to work late tonight, though, and so I caught part of his show. And he was replaying excerpts of Mitt Romney’s CPAC speech. I listened to it (and watched a bit of it) earlier from my desk at work. But hearing it a second time, I was struck by just how powerful his words truly were.
And now that I’m home, I’m catching the re-run of O’Reilly and just heard Laura Ingraham tell him that Gov. Romney sat down last night and wrote this speech himself. Perhaps that explains some of its resonance. Especially in the context of today’s events. But it’s more than that — the substance of what Romney said in this speech is important. No, that’s not the right word. It’s IMPORTANT. It’s bang-the-gong-and-wake-up-out-of-your-fog IMPORTANT.
So I wanted to preserve it here in some way. An easy reference guide. Yes, Fred Thompson was (and is still) my first choice. But Mitt Romney earned his way up in my esteem, from second with a sense of “meh,” to second with a sense of purpose or meaning. I don’t mean to seem melodramatic. Truly, I’m not as emotionally wrung out by today’s events as many are. I am not really saddened. Because I sensed in the shift of today, a watershed of sorts. Or pieces of a much bigger puzzle falling into place. This isn’t the last we’ve heard of Mitt Romney — not by a long shot. And I believe we will be hearing the echo of his words for quite some time.
Thus, backing Romney in 2012 was an easy choice for me. I was confident he’d be a better option than a second term of Obama. And I still believe had the election been held immediately after that first debate, Romney would have won.
As many readers know, I was NeverTrump in 2016. I genuinely feared that a Trump nomination/candidacy/presidency would be extraordinarily destructive — both to the Republican Party and to the nation as a whole. Thus, when Romney gave his (in)famous Against Trump Speech in March of 2016, I was one of those who appreciated it.
And then…something rather odd happened. Trump not only won the nomination, he won the blippin’ election — he busted through the Blue Wall like Kool-Aid Man and beat Hillary Clinton! And please, make no mistake, dear reader — as much as I had reservations about Trump, I was elated that Hillary got her rear handed to her. (I have NEVER cared for her — not even when I was still a liberal Democrat and voted for her husband — twice!) I put away my NeverTrump hat, replaced it with a TrumpSkeptic™ one, and prayed the man would live up to the office.
It sort of seemed to me as though Romney had done something similar. When he made his play for the Secretary of State slot and later, sought President Trump’s support for his Senate bid, I took it to mean that he’d reconsidered his adamant opposition and thought he could work WITH the President to common purpose.
I don’t have a problem with people setting aside their differences to work with former adversaries for a good cause. What I DO have a problem with is people asserting they have principled, conscientious reasons for those differences and then conveniently and cravenly glossing over them in order to seek something of value from that former adversary. And THEN, when it’s no longer necessary, ducking back behind those so-called principles and claiming that their conscience commands them to do so.
To be clear, I believe we should place our faith in principles moreso than people. (And in God, above all.) We are human — and trying to use another human being, flawed as we are — as your moral compass is bound to lead you off course. But this is why I take such issue with Senator Romney’s purported rationale for his impeachment vote.
Though I’ve tweeted about it endlessly, I don’t believe I’ve spelled it out directly in this space: I opposed the efforts to impeach Trump over Ukraine and, were I a Senator, would have voted against his conviction. I don’t think his call with President Zelensky was “perfect” (largely because I don’t characterize most human interactions in absolutes) but I honestly don’t take issue with it and certainly never believed it rose to the level of warranting even censure, much less impeachment. I’ve considered this effort by the Democrats an impeachment in search of an offense — in no small part because of the utter crap abuse of process they employed, not to mention the outright declarations by many of the opposition that they would seek his impeachment long before the phone call which ostensibly prompted the “whistleblower” complaint. Neither substantively nor procedurally do I believe the Democrats made their case. This has always struck me as pure politics and theatrics. And I am not amused.
That isn’t to say I find it incomprehensible someone — even someone who leans right — could reach a different conclusion. No, I’m willing to accept that someone could. But what I’m not willing to accept is the rationale that Romney put forth — because his actions speak louder (much louder) than his pretty words. It is not my place to question another’s faith — in fact, I will bend over backward not to. Faith is an intensely personal thing and between each of us and our God. I will, however, question another’s USE of their faith as a weapon — or shield — particularly when it is wielded inconsistently.
It’s just – if you truly felt and feel this way, you oughtn’t to have sought favor with him, sought a cabinet position, nor sought his assistance with your Senate campaign. That you did makes it exceedingly difficult to buy your sincerity in this.
— Susie Moore (@SmoosieQ) February 5, 2020