Thoughts about Death and History and Fragility and Violence.
Back in the day (specifically, the 2012 era), I always felt a mix of disgust and bemusement regarding Mitt Romney. It was less that I thought he was personally a terrible guy (maybe just rich and out of touch), but it was evident that he was trying to be someone he wasn’t, repudiating everything that would’ve made him a potentially good president in an attempt to make people who otherwise wouldn’t like him give their support. Maybe that should’ve been a bigger warning - that without flagrant shows of being a terrible person, you wouldn’t be considered presidential material in a Republican primary.
I still have plenty of gripes about Mitt Romney (the dude supported the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation fiasco, after all), but on the most important test of his life, this guy got it right consistently - almost the only Republican holder of a major public office to do so. His anti-Trump stand will be as prominent on his tombstone and in his remembered legacy as his failure to become president in two campaigns. All those other Republican politicians who claim not to care about posthumous reputation will go down in history as pathetic figures who, when the republic was threatened by an evil man who became the worst president in American history, revealed themselves as spineless cowards. I suspect in their hearts, they’re rather jealous of Romney. The guy who I once thought of as ludicrously shape-shifting in all directions in pursuit of political power ended up having the most moral fiber of all of them. Who would’ve thought?
I've always respected Romney. I've long believed he is fundamentally decent man. But you cannot be both a Republican and a decent man in the Senate. What the GOP base wants is indecency, cruelty, and performative assholery.
As for Paul Ryan, is anyone surprised that he lobbied Romney to not impeach Trump during Impeachment Mk I?
And THIS is why I get so vexed on the conversation about plan B and Biden. I don't deny the man's age, but isn't THIS a pretty good description of how he has comported himself in office? If so, treat him with a great deal more respect, including being able to get beyond the thought of "he should go" to include a cogent argument for the success of what you propose will follow.
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable.
OMFG! After COVID, how could anyone in their right mind think that P01135809 could respond better to a national crisis than Uncle Joe????
Watching Romney's speech after voting to impeach Trump the first time is one of moments I remember with incredible vividness and always will. I had come back from a morning job interview, checked out of my hotel room, and was nursing a coffee alone in the lobby of a Holiday Inn until my I would get on my flight in a few hours. The news was on live in the lobby.
By about 80 seconds into the speech, I was sobbing in this random Holiday Inn like a crazy person, and I've never really considered myself a "sob in public while watching C-Span" kind of person, but it just hit. The fact that there was one person doing the right thing, but also no one else willing to do the right thing. I just couldn't reconcile it in the moment. If one person could do it, why couldn't anyone else?
Lots to unpack in the Romney overview, which is a compelling read to start the day. A few random thoughts:
1) I teeter between respect for Romney's decision to abandon the sinking ship as a matter of principle and the recognition that as each principled fighter opts to surrender the high ground to the mob, the mob increasingly has no meaningful opposition and no real restraint on its excesses. It seems to be the very problem that they complain about -- giving up the fight ensures only the domination of the heathens, to the detriment of us all.
2) The observations on the addicting power of power, redundant though that sounds, are spot-on and an uncomfortable acknowledgement that it is an unwelcome opening of a door to corruption and bad behavior that never should be even approached. I really do not understand why politicians hang on for dear life when retirement, with plenty of money in the bank and very generous pensions at their disposal, ensures ample quality time with family and for other personally enriching activities. I guess that power thing and its impact on the human mind and soul aren't readily understandable to those of us who never have experienced it first-hand. Somehow now I feel better off for that.
3) The systematic decline of Hawley, Cruz, and Vance into Trumpists argues for term limits, but also begs the question if they really matter. What good is flushing out one bad candidate if the electorate simply will replace them with someone else who is essentially the same? It seems the solution to Trumpism and other bad governance ultimately lies squarely with the voters. They are the weakest link in the chain if they choose bad actors and bad principles over good ones.
4) As for Paul Ryan, the less said, the better, though much should be said about someone so personally and professionally gifted who opted to squander the benefits of it via pandering and protecting the self when the heat was turned up. It is at once a case study and a cautionary tale of how good people can become bad performers when the toxic forces of politics intervene.
This Romney bio sounds like it’s going to be revelatory and fairly amazing. And the excerpt about Paul Ryan just proves once again why he’s so despicable. Justifying his silence as his way to stay in the room and fight back behind the scenes? Nope. Silent because he’s a coward. Silent because it pads his bank account. Silent because he doesn’t want to be ostracized from a club full of fellow cowards.
Its the end of an era. The last Republican in the Senate with integrity chose to bow out rather than fight against the irresponsible, MAGA horde. God help us.
I’m not a republican as anyone who reads my comments can quickly discover. However, I do have equal distain for both political parties, but I am very perturbed by the religious right in this country; their influence, power and their ultimate takeover of the Republican Party.
Romney may be a level headed guy, and a voice of reason for the party (he’s not insane and comes across credibly), but the fact he wants to force feed his religious beliefs on the rest of us, is troubling to me.
For example, I read over a decade ago about a mother of three who attended his church while he was governor of Massachusetts; she had been six months pregnant. She had complications with the pregnancy and her doctor told her if she has the baby, she will most certainly die (90% chance).
Romney found out and and confronted the women at Church with her parents at her side. He then lambasted her for having the audacity to consider an abortion at that time. Romney supposedly said, “why should you have it easier than any other women, what your doing is heresy.
Well, my only thoughts quickly shifted to the audacity of Romney injecting himself into another person health decisions; especially when it’s life and death. This women was a mother of three. If she died giving birth, what about the fact that her three living kids that would be without a mother for life? Yet, for a man who will never have to make a decision like that for himself, it truly angered me.
That said, I’m glad Romney has finally found Jesus. He’s been awfully quiet about TurDville destroying military readiness. He’s been quiet about the shenanigans in Washington taking place within his party. And he’s been quiet about the hypocrisy and sycophancy of his colleagues.
And only now when he is retiring, we finally hear his true viewpoints. Sorry Mitt, you’re a day late and a dollar short.
So, again, I have no love lost for this man ,as he stood by and did almost nothing for all these years as his party and this nation has been ripped apart at the seams.
And like his criticism of his colleagues could easily be said about him. He may not of jumped on the Trump train, but he certainly didn’t raise many red flags to the rest of us.
"No wonder nobody wanted to sit with [Romney] at the GOP caucus meetings, which Coppins says 'had a high school cafeteria quality that made him feel ill at ease'.”
Best line of the day, in my humble opinion. Gawd, what a miserable metaphor: our most powerful elected leaders behaving like adolescents learning how to drive, shave, and deal with acne. The beautiful people versus the nerds. If there is one life experience I never would want to relive, that is it. To think that some of our most influential politicians embrace that sort of conduct at the expense of rational, reasonable adult behavior is more than a little disturbing.
Let’s not lionize him too much. He had a modicum of integrity, yes, and was brave enough to vote to convict Trump. That took real courage. But he planned not to vote that way until Lindsay Graham asked the Trump lawyers to confirm that even if Trump did what he was accused of, it wouldn’t be an impeachable offense. He was going to let it slide until that question came up, despite all of the evidence.
Furthermore, he cannot help but take shots at the Democrats too even as the Dems are the ones trying to hold everything together. When announcing his retirement he said Biden is incapable of leading us on the important issues and Trump is unwilling to.
What?!?! Was he high when he said that? Trump is literally, physically incapable of leadership, so he’s got that backwards. And not only is Biden willing and able, he’s been leading for the past 2.5 years.
Romney is still a disappointment. The smallest disappointment left in the GOP today, but a disappointment nonetheless. He’s still the guy I refused to vote for in 2012, even though I was still a Republican then, because he called half the country “moochers” to a room full of wealthy donors.
First, thanks for calling paul ryan craven (now, never waste a second of your remaining time in this vale of tears giving him a platform).
And second, I trust we're all adults (in the old fashioned sense) here, so we can answer Romney's question: the party isn't humiliated because it's full of delusional dishonest bad people.
I've had my gripes with Mitt Romney, especially the inauthentic presidential campaign he ran trying to pretend that he and his wife, both silver spoons - with a dancing horse, no less, were just your ordinary Joes and Janes struggling to get through college by selling off some stock to pay the ole tuition and buy a house. You know, as one does.
But I've come to believe that the real Romney, the Mitt at his core, is a genuinely thoughtful, moral man. It's clear that the degradation of his party really hurts. I've never seen Mitt Romney as emotional as he was on the floor of the Senate when the joint session reconvened on January 6th. His speech in which he laid the blame for what he [honestly] called an insurrection at the feet of 'a selfish man's injured pride' is worth a rewatch. Link below. Looking back, it seems that Romney probably knew he was about to decide his political fate with that speech, but he did it anyway.
I've often wondered how things might have been different that day and at the second impeachment if John McCain had still been around to provide back-up and stiffen the spines of a few more republicans. Ah well, we'll never know. Probably wouldn't have made a difference since the GOP snowball to hell had likely gained too much momentum by then.
Good luck, Senator Romney. I wish you and your family all the best in whatever your future holds.
I subscribe to The Atlantic and I read Senator Romney's article this morning. He essentially evicerates his Party and fellow senators [sic] therein. I am a political news reading junkie and I wat to say, today's The Atlantic article is the most revealing (although not at all shocking) article I have read in the past year or more. Romney pulls no punches. Alas, between the lines I sense he feels Trump is ,with increasing probability, the next president. Totalitarianism is on the very near horizon.
PS Quite disheartening is the revelation Utah's Mormons have swung to supporting Trump. Violently so. Truly unholy. And gut sickening.
Musk - My understanding is he will be selling the Starlink technology directly to the Defense Dept and they, in the future, will be making deployment decisions. This really is the ONLY solution to insure a private citizen is not making governmental decisions. He really is pushing the envelope when he directly impacts the ability of a sovereign nation to decide its future.
EDIT: Questions about source, I should have included the source/link. I am also reading the Musk bio by Walter Isaacson and it was mentioned there. Basically Musk realized he was wrong and moved to resolve it ASAP.
I used to think Musk was just an entitled rich A-hole, then I thought he was dumber than dirt (twitter), now I believe he is a very dangerous man with delusions of godhood and he is on the side of Putin and t***p.