Jay Meehan: Seeing through Romney’s Never-Trumper facade
These days, Mitt Romney, the Junior Senator from Utah, must get high-centered in front of his closet wondering which of his many skins would best suit his latest fluctuation.
When one is in the business of “perfect positioning,” adornments matter. Of course, when compared to the likes of Orrin Hatch or Mike Lee or, Lord help us, Donald Trump, there remains a bit of gloss on the ol’ veneer.
When he first began slouching toward the weatherbeaten Hatch’s Senate seat a while back, there really wasn’t much doubt that it was Trump’s expansive recliner that was actually in his crosshairs. 2018 wasn’t his first rodeo and recognizing a proper platform from which to attempt yet another run at the White House came easily.
Not that there isn’t entertainment value in watching him tread water in Trump and Utah’s always in flux Sea of Morality. As long as his chiding of The Donald’s questionable ethics and spirituality are only brush-back-pitches and not of the knockdown variety, they’ll continue to love him in these parts.
There he is, Mitt Romney the lily pad, perfectly still in the water, just biding – or is that Biden – his time. Not taking on any issues that might offend his Citizens United PAC money-flow constituency should the sheer mountain of Trump political gaffs tip the scales his direction. No dummy, he!
Why take a chance when you’ve got all the bases covered? Just keep adding enough Obama, Hillary and Pelosi fuel to the fire to keep an ember or two aglow and, as long as you stay clear of those annoying “What-would-Jesus-do?” inquiries and just wait for Trump to stumble further, who knows what 2020 might bring.
Lest we forget, Mitt is as “Teflon” as any Reagan you may find lying about. He is the same chameleon who referenced Trump as a “phony” and a “fraud” before the great notion of running for office again came calling.
One wonders if it slipped his mind that, historically, the confluence of perception and honesty have proven to be rough waters when negotiating Republican primaries. Don’t you just love it when it’s well within the range of imagination for, among the party base, our Mitt to be considered too far left?
But not to worry. Scuttlebutt has it that there may yet be another Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games on the horizon. And with our collusion-rich, back-slapping, pocket-stuffing, corporate camaraderie already in place, hard telling not knowing if our hero might yet be called upon to once again don his white hat.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at one of Mitt’s positioning summits. In many ways, it’s probably safer to mock Agent Orange from within the snug harbor of the sect-formerly-known-as-Mormon than from elsewhere on the ever evolving political landscape of the Right.
Not that the Party of Trump has a monopoly on skullduggery within the ranks of due process but they certainly haven’t had much trouble keeping up with and expanding upon the historical shenanigans of the left. In fact, they have taken it into realms heretofore inconceivable to all but the most unenlightened among us.
Lest we forget the quite-less-than-subtle backtracking Senator Romney has performed since the 2016 presidential campaign, his was one of the leading voices calling for Trump to release his tax returns due to the obvious political bombshells that were contained therein. Of late, he’s been rather silent on the subject.
And although the good Junior Senator has yet to endorse Trump for reelection, the equilibrium that exists between the two reeks of back-door politics. Where shortly prior to being sworn-in to office, Romney unleashed an op-ed consisting of an anti-Trump tirade that had primary challenger tongues all awag, he seems to have modified his stance.
I know, why pick on Romney when there are so many other juicy morsels to be had from the current buffet table? Well, the closer we get to an actual party convention with the usual suspects all aligned, the more he shapeshifts into the conniving politician we recognize from the past.
If all he’s going to offer the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party, as vocally-mute as it has become, is nothing more than a sporadic rolling-back-of-the-eyes, he might as well fully commit to Trump’s misogynistic, white supremacy, neo-Nazi stance now. It’s common knowledge that he’s already staked-out his own turf within the “all power to the rich” branch.
You have to wonder which still-closeted skin he will slip into this time around. Mitt Romney! He treads water, therefore he is!
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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