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Remember How Much You Hated Romney When He Ran Against Obama In 2012. Has That Dissipated Much?

11 years ago, Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential nomination in a walk, trouncing Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson and a dozen other candidates. In his campaign against Obama, he won 60,933,504 votes (47.2%) and 206 electoral votes from 24 states. Utah was a landslide for him— his biggest win with 72.6%. In 2018, when Orrin Hatch retired, Romney ran for his seat, first winning the primary with 71.3% and then the general election with 62.6%. In the general, he won every county in the state but Summit and Grand, even winning blue-leaning Salt Lake County. Blood red counties Rich, Juab and Sevier each came though with 80% or more.

Yesterday, Romney officially announced what was inevitable— that he wouldn’t run for a second term, a race he well may have lost. Right after the announcement, Dan Balz wrote that “Romney, 76, said his decision not to run again was heavily influenced by his belief that a second term, which would take him into his 80s, probably would be less productive and less satisfying than the current term has been. He blamed that both on the disarray he sees among House Republicans and on his own lack of confidence in the leadership of President Biden and Trump” who he voted to convict in both impeachment trials.

“Romney,” wrote Balz, “was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump in the 2020 impeachment trial, which involved Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign and withholding aid to that country. Romney was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict in the second trial, which came weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Both votes, but especially the first, cost Romney politically, at home in Utah and more broadly within a party that Trump has come to dominate. He acknowledged the damage he had sustained, but said, ‘If there were no cost to doing what’s right, there’d be no such thing as courage… I think it’s fair to say that the support I get in Utah is because people respect someone who does what they believe is right, even if they disagree with me.’”

Asked about the 2024 presidential election, Romney said he would have liked to help someone other than Trump become the nominee, but “that apparently isn’t going to happen.” He added, “I doubt my support will mean anything positive to any of the candidates at the finish line. I’m not looking to get involved in that.”
He noted that three of the contenders for the nomination— Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy— all speak the language of the MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) wing of the party and together account for the overwhelming majority of support, with Trump far ahead of the others.
Candidates toward whom he is more disposed — he mentioned former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former South Carolina governor and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina— continue to struggle. “It’s pretty clear that the party is inclined to a populist demagogue message,” he said.
…He also said that talk by the centrist group No Labels of mounting an independent candidacy in 2024 was a mistake and would only help to reelect Trump. He said he has spoken “many times” to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is flirting with such a bid. “I lobby continuously that it would only elect Trump.”
…Romney, a traditional conservative, acknowledged that the Republican Party of 2023 is quite different from the party that nominated him for president in 2012. He said his wing of the party is now “very, very small” in comparison with the Trump wing. But he declined to call the GOP irretrievably broken. “If it can change in the direction of a populist,” he said, “it can change back in the direction of my wing of the Republican Party.”
He said he has been asked by many people how he can continue to remain in the party. “Well,” he said, “because I want to get it back.” The party could realign again, he said, but only if Republicans learned to compete for and attract young voters, who today side heavily with Democrats. Romney himself struggled to win over young voters in his 2012 campaign. “Young people care about climate change,” he said. “They care about things that the MAGA Republicans don’t care about.”
…Romney said he remains worried about the state of democracy in the United States. “I think it’s of paramount importance to maintain our commitment to the Constitution and the liberal constitutional order,” he said. “And I know that there are some in MAGA world who would like Republican rule, or authoritarian rule by Donald Trump. But I think they may be forgetting that the majority of people in America would not be voting for Donald J. Trump. The majority would probably be voting for the Democrats.”

McKay Coppins has been meeting with Romney at his DC home for two years “as he grappled with what his party—and his country— were becoming. The stories he told me from inside the Senate were extraordinary and damning.” His book, Romney: A Reckoning, will be out next month. The Atlantic published an excerpt, What Mitt Romney Saw In The Senate, yesterday. Coppins, his biographer wrote that “Romney’s isolation in Washington didn’t surprise me. In less than a decade, he’d gone from Republican standard-bearer and presidential nominee to party pariah thanks to a series of public clashes with Trump. What I didn’t quite expect was how candid he was ready to be. He instructed his scheduler to block off evenings for weekly interviews, and told me that no subject would be off-limits. He handed over hundreds of pages of his private journals and years’ worth of personal correspondence, including sensitive emails with some of the most powerful Republicans in the country. When he couldn’t find the key to an old filing cabinet that contained some of his personal papers, he took a crowbar to it and deposited stacks of campaign documents and legal pads in my lap. He’d kept all of this stuff, he explained, because he thought he might write a memoir one day, but he’d decided against it. ‘I can’t be objective about my own life,’ he said. Some nights he vented; other nights he dished. He’s more puckish than his public persona suggests, attuned to the absurdist humor of political life and quick to share stories that others might consider indiscreet. I got the feeling he liked the company— our conversations sometimes stretched for hours.”

“A very large portion of my party,” he told me one day, “really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.” He’d realized this only recently, he said. We were a few months removed from an attempted coup instigated by Republican leaders, and he was wrestling with some difficult questions. Was the authoritarian element of the GOP a product of President Trump, or had it always been there, just waiting to be activated by a sufficiently shameless demagogue? And what role had the members of the mainstream establishment—­ people like him, the reasonable Republicans— played in allowing the rot on the right to fester?
I had never encountered a politician so openly reckoning with what his pursuit of power had cost, much less one doing so while still in office. Candid introspection and crises of conscience are much less expensive in retirement. But Romney was thinking beyond his own political future.
Earlier this year, he confided to me that he would not seek reelection to the Senate in 2024. He planned to make this announcement in the fall. The decision was part political, part actuarial. The men in his family had a history of sudden heart failure, and none had lived longer than his father, who died at 88. “Do I want to spend eight of the 12 years I have left sitting here and not getting anything done?” he mused. But there was something else. His time in the Senate had left Romney worried— not just about the decomposition of his own political party, but about the fate of the American project itself.
…Romney confided to me that he would not seek reelection to the Senate in 2024. He planned to make this announcement in the fall. The decision was part political, part actuarial. The men in his family had a history of sudden heart failure, and none had lived longer than his father, who died at 88. “Do I want to spend eight of the 12 years I have left sitting here and not getting anything done?” he mused. But there was something else. His time in the Senate had left Romney worried— not just about the decomposition of his own political party, but about the fate of the American project itself.
To Romney, this was the problem with the Trump-era GOP. He believed there were still decent, well-intentioned leaders in his party— they were just nervous. They needed a nudge. A role model, perhaps. As the former nominee, he told me, he felt that he “had the potential to be an alternative voice for Republicans.”
…Two days before he was sworn in as a senator, Romney published an op-ed in the Washington Post designed to signal his independence from Trump. “On balance,” Romney wrote, the president “has not risen to the mantle of the office.” He pledged to work with him when they agreed on an issue, to oppose him when they didn’t, and to speak out when necessary. He thought of this as a new way to be a Republican senator in Trump’s Washington.
His colleagues were not impressed. A few days after Romney was sworn in, Politico ran a story about the “chilly reception” he was receiving from his fellow Republican senators. The story quoted several of them, on the record or anonymously, griping about his unwillingness to get along with the leader of their party. Romney emailed the story to his advisers, describing himself as “the turd in the punch bowl.” “These guys have got to justify their silence, at least to themselves.”
Romney had spent the weeks since his election typing out a list of all the things he wanted to accomplish in the Senate. By the time he took office, it contained 42 items and was still growing. The legislative to-do list ranged from complex systemic reforms— overhauling immigration, reducing the national deficit, addressing climate change— to narrower issues such as compensating college athletes and regulating the vaping industry. His staff was bemused when he showed it to them; even in less polarized, less chaotic times, the kind of ambitious agenda he had in mind would be unrealistic. But Romney was not deterred. He told his aides he wanted to set up meetings with all 99 of his colleagues in his first six months, and began studying a flip-book of senators’ pictures so that he could recognize his potential legislative partners.
In one early meeting, a colleague who’d been elected a few years earlier leveled with him: “There are about 20 senators here who do all the work, and there are about 80 who go along for the ride.” Romney saw himself as a workhorse, and was eager for others to see him that way too. “I wanted to make it clear: I want to do things,” he told me.
He quickly became frustrated, though, by how much of the Senate was built around posturing and theatrics. Legislators gave speeches to empty chambers and spent hours debating bills they all knew would never pass. They summoned experts to appear at committee hearings only to make them sit in silence while they blathered some more.
As the weeks passed, Romney became fascinated by the strange social ecosystem that governed the Senate. He spent his mornings in the Senate gym studying his colleagues like he was an anthropologist, jotting down his observations in his journal. Richard Burr walked on the treadmill in his suit pants and loafers; Sherrod Brown and Dick Durbin pedaled so slowly on their exercise bikes that Romney couldn’t help but peek at their resistance settings: “Durbin was set to 1 and Brown to 8. :) :). My setting is 15—not that I’m bragging,” he recorded.
He joked to friends that the Senate was best understood as a “club for old men.” There were free meals, on-site barbers, and doctors within a hundred feet at all times. But there was an edge to the observation: The average age in the Senate was 63 years old. Several members, Romney included, were in their 70s or even 80s. And he sensed that many of his colleagues attached an enormous psychic currency to their position— that they would do almost anything to keep it. “Most of us have gone out and tried playing golf for a week, and it was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna kill myself,’ ” he told me. Job preservation, in this context, became almost existential. Retirement was death. The men and women of the Senate might not need their government salary to survive, but they needed the stimulation, the sense of relevance, the power. One of his new colleagues told him that the first consideration when voting on any bill should be “Will this help me win reelection?” (The second and third considerations, the colleague continued, should be what effect it would have on his constituents and on his state.)
Perhaps Romney’s most surprising discovery upon entering the Senate was that his disgust with Trump was not unique among his Republican colleagues. “Almost without exception,” he told me, “they shared my view of the president.” In public, of course, they played their parts as Trump loyalists, often contorting themselves rhetorically to defend the president’s most indefensible behavior. But in private, they ridiculed his ignorance, rolled their eyes at his antics, and made incisive observations about his warped, toddler­like psyche. Romney recalled one senior Republican senator frankly admitting, “He has none of the qualities you would want in a president, and all of the qualities you wouldn’t.”
This dissonance soon wore on Romney’s patience. Every time he publicly criticized Trump, it seemed, some Republican senator would smarmily sidle up to him in private and express solidarity. “I sure wish I could do what you do,” they’d say, or “Gosh, I wish I had the constituency you have,” and then they’d look at him expectantly, as if waiting for Romney to convey profound gratitude. This happened so often that he started keeping a tally; at one point, he told his staff that he’d had more than a dozen similar exchanges. He developed a go-to response for such occasions: “There are worse things than losing an election. Take it from somebody who knows.”
One afternoon in March 2019, Trump paid a visit to the Senate Republicans’ weekly caucus lunch. He was in a buoyant mood—two days earlier, the Justice Department had announced that the much-anticipated report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller failed to establish collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. As Romney later wrote in his journal, the president was met with a standing ovation fit for a conquering hero, and then launched into some rambling remarks. He talked about the so-called Russia hoax and relitigated the recent midterm elections and swung wildly from one tangent to another. He declared, somewhat implausibly, that the GOP would soon become “the party of health care.” The senators were respectful and attentive.
As soon as Trump left, Romney recalled, the Republican caucus burst into laughter.
…Mc­Connell wanted Romney to vote to end the trial as soon as the opening arguments were completed. McConnell didn’t bother defending Trump’s actions. Instead, he argued that protecting the GOP’s Senate majority was a matter of vital national importance. He predicted that Trump would lose reelection, and painted an apocalyptic picture of what would happen if Democrats took control of Congress: They’d turn Puerto Rico and D.C. into states, engineering a permanent Senate majority; they’d ram through left-wing legislation such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Romney said he couldn’t make any promises about his vote.
…[A Senate GOP lunch] meeting was being held shortly before Christmas break, and Romney hoped the caucus would get some guidance on what to expect from the trial. Instead, he was dismayed to learn that the featured guest was Vice President Mike Pence, who was there to talk through the White House’s defense strategy. “Stunning to me that he would be there,” Romney grumbled in his journal. “There is not even an attempt to show impartiality.” (Romney had long been put off by Pence’s pious brand of Trump sycophancy. No one, he told me, has been “more loyal, more willing to smile when he saw absurdities, more willing to ascribe God’s will to things that were ungodly than Mike Pence.”)
…[T]o at least some of his fellow Republicans, the case against Trump was compelling— even if they’d never say so in public. During a break in the proceedings, after the impeachment managers finished their presentation, Romney walked by McConnell. “They nailed him,” the Senate majority leader said.
Romney, taken aback by McConnell’s candor, responded carefully: “Well, the defense will say that Trump was just investigating corruption by the Bidens.”
“If you believe that,” McConnell replied, “I’ve got a bridge I can sell you.” (McConnell said he does not recall this conversation and it does not match his thinking at the time.)
…[H]ere was [Paul] Ryan on the phone, making the same arguments Romney had heard from some of his more calculating colleagues. Ryan told him that voting to convict Trump would make Romney an outcast in the party, that many of the people who’d tried to get him elected president would never speak to him again, and that he’d struggle to pass any meaningful legislation. Ryan said that he respected Romney, and wanted to make absolutely sure he’d thought through the repercussions of his vote. Romney assured him that he had, and said goodbye.
…Romney acknowledged that his vote wouldn’t change the outcome of the trial— the Republican-led Senate would fall far short of the 67 votes needed to remove the president from office, and he would be the lone Republican to find Trump guilty. Even so, he said, “with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me.”
He would never feel comfortable at a Republican caucus lunch again.
… By the time Democrats proposed a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6, the GOP’s 180 was complete. Virtually every Republican in Congress came out in full-throated opposition to the idea. Romney, who’d been consulting with historians about how best to preserve the memory of the insurrection—­ he’d proposed leaving some of the damage to the Capitol unrepaired— was disappointed by his party’s posture, but he was no longer surprised. He had taken to quoting a favorite scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when he talked about his party’s whitewashing of the insurrection— twisting his face into an exaggerated expression before declaring, “Morons. I’ve got morons on my team!” To Romney, the revisionism of January 6 was almost worse than the attack itself.
…“There are deranged people among us,” he told me. And in Utah, “people carry guns.”
“It only takes one really disturbed person.”
He let the words hang in the air for a moment, declining to answer the question his confession begged: How long can a democracy last when its elected leaders live in fear of physical violence from their constituents?
…What he seemed to know for sure was that he no longer fit in his current party. Throughout our two years of interviews, I heard Romney muse repeatedly about leaving the GOP. He’d stayed long after he stopped feeling at home there— long after his five sons had left— because he felt a quixotic duty to save it. This meld of moral responsibility and personal hubris is, in some ways, Romney’s defining trait. When he’s feeling sentimental, he attributes the impulse to the “Romney obligation,” and talks about the deep commitment to public service he inherited from his father. When he’s in a more introspective mood, he talks about the surge of adrenaline he feels when he’s rushing toward a crisis.
But it was hard to dispute that the battle for the GOP’s soul had been lost…




Mitt is and always has been total shit. That his party has surpassed his shittiness (by orders of magnitude) does not alter that. A small shit taco is still shit even if everyone is feasting on the shit burrito party platter.

The same goes for Gore in comparison to those who ran after (and slick willie who ran before). They are all total shit (though Gore partially rehab'd himself after).

Like I keep axin' y'all... why do you relentlessly vote for total shit?

Your shit tacos are still shit even though a bit less in volume to the shit burrito party platter of the nazis.

Unless you actually LIKE shit. In which case... why don't you eat the party platter?



he has always been an oligarch mother fucker ... look i worked for a company in CT called Winchester Electronics that was bought out by a hedge fund that was founded by people that learned the ropes at Bain Capital. They decimated that company and sent EVERYTHING to CHINA destroying the lives of many US citizens that had worked for them for over 25 years. And Corporate Dems still wonder why Trump won. FUcking blows my mind.


money always does what money always does. the party doesn't matter.


In the land of the blind, the man with a seeing eye dog is king. The former presidential candidate who was surreptitiously videotaped calling 47% of the country a bunch of freeloaders and who chose Paul Ryan as his running mate can no longer stomach being part of a 49 member GOP caucus (that currently has a de facto Senate tie with the Dems). Plus, he likely would've faced a tough primary fight in a state he previously carried by landslide margins in both his presidential and senatorial runs.

His announcement yesterday, combined with McCarthy's announcement of a Biden impeachment inquiry, pounds a few more nails into the "bipartisanship" coffin. Any party in which the likes of Mitt Romney ha…


You sprinted right up to it... but skidded to a halt.

The "Any party in which ... Mitt ... has become persona non grata..." is truth (also true for any party where Mitt *IS* regarded as among their best, for that matter)

But you refused to say, also, that Any party in which the likes of Bernie is persona non grata and in which fucking doddering sleepy racist misogynist fascist joe is regarded as their best ALSO needs to be ruthlessly crushed.

You are correct that the democraps cannot and will never "crush" their brother fascists. They're carrying trump in their arms so that he can defeat joe in 2024 (as in 2016 and 2020)... cuz they THINK (hope lik…

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