The likely candidacy of Mitt Romney for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Orrin Hatch has left-wing bloggers and tweeters all atwitter (pun intended) about:
A year later, though, Romney could once again put himself in the vanguard of GOP resistance to Trump. The announcement this week by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) that he would not seek reelection this year may mean Romney runs for the seat instead. That could revive the Mormon wing of the anti-Trump movement — which never quite coalesced in time to make a difference during the campaign but which could still cause Trump significant problems in Congress for the rest of his term.
As Exhibit A, I give you this WaPo piece, just quoted. The piece ends by conceding, “It’s far from guaranteed that Romney could — or would — lead this charge from the Republicans’ tenuous Senate majority….” But said concession comes only after building an extensive case for the opposite. Let’s be frank, if Romney runs, he is not going to do so in opposition to Donald Trump, nor is he going to act as such in the Senate. There are several facts one has to bear in mind.
Fact One – to say, “Mormon opposition to Trump is founded in a dispositional divergence,” is to say nothing remarkable, nor peculiar to Mormons. I think it is fair to say that most of the Republican party, particularly in D.C. is in a “dispositional divergence” from the president. So what? Most people live and work everyday with people that are in “dispositional divergence” with, it is just a fact of life. Romney particularly and Mormons generally do not live a life somehow cloistered from the realities around them. The first time I ever went to Salt Lake City, I left my hotel for a walk and there was an X-rated book store just two blocks away. So much for SLC being a “cloister.” I could go on with stories like that for hours.
Fact Two – rocky start notwithstanding, this administration has had a very good first year. I do not hear many Republicans griping about what has been accomplished.
The next facts to be considered are about Romney himself
You do not spend eight years writing about the man, his faith and his runs for the presidency without getting to know him some, and Mormons deeply. Fact Three – Romney’s deep and abiding faith and his incredibly wholesome lifestyle notwithstanding, the man is above almost anything else pragmatic. How do you think he governed, rather successfully, very blue Massachusetts? Mitt Romney made his fortune doing deals, which means he knows how to work with all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. (Oddly, I think I have heard that argument about someone else.) Romney is about getting things done.
Fact Four – the current Speaker of the House was Mitt Romney’s running mate. Rarely have running mates understood each other so immediately, nor cooperated so fully. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are incredibly compatible. From a seat in the Senate, Mitt Romney would be an invaluable asset for cooperation with the House. The House and Senate got a lot of good done in 2017, but with Mitt Romney aiding communication between Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, things could get extraordinarily good.
Put all that together and postulating that Romney will be some sort of chink in the GOP armor is wishful thinking at best. Yes, Romney would undoubtedly have style differences with the president. I am certain that should President Trump attempt to use his office illegally or immorally, Romney would speak out. But to date Trump has shown no inclination towards such, off-handed, tweeted bluster notwithstanding.
During the rather chaotic first months of the Trump administration the press spent a lot of time trying to drive a wedge between the White House and the Capital. They kept trying to get McConnell and Ryan to say things that condemned the president. They were unsuccessful in that effort just as they will be in this effort regarding Mitt Romney. Good things have happened in the first year of the Trump presidency. If Mitt Romney wants in on the action it is because he thinks he can help – nothing else.