If today’s Mitt Romney, who studiously guided viewers through the dark recesses of Donald Trump’s life and views today, had been the one who ran for president in 2012, he would’ve won.
Until recently, Romney had avoided the frenzied fever of the present presidential campaign. He, like many elder statesmen before him, saw a need to preserve the dignity of the presidential office and those who have sought the position. This same sense of decorum largely kept President George W. Bush on the sidelines during the ruinous past eight years. Yet, this sense of decorum must sometimes be sacrificed in order to preserve the dignity of the presidential office.
Mitt Romney likely lost the respect of millions of grassroots GOP voters who are angry as hell and find an appropriate mouthpiece in Donald Trump. For them, Mitt Romney’s admonishment of Trump will prove Romney is part of the condescending, paternalistic elitist class that will chide, and if need be, coerce, the childish masses back into line. But reputation is not character. Sometimes, reputation must be sacrificed on the altar of character.
That is what Mitt Romney did today. Believe it or not, the author of the misguided “Romneycare” intrusion into health care, who only belatedly became a guardian of the unborn, is a man of principle and compassion. Unlike some politicians, he genuinely does care about the future we give our children. Some might accuse him of being a Jimmy Stewart-like anachronism. But every so often, we need to suppress our chronological snobbery just long enough to see Mr. Smith off to Washington.
When Ronald Reagan looked into the eyes of Mikhail Gorbachev, he saw a good man. When John McCain looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin, he saw three letters: K-G-B. Likewise, Mitt Romney has looked into the eyes of Donald Trump. What does he see?
He sees a man who will use economic nationalism—trade wars and entitlement expansion—to bring about economic ruin. He sees a man whose irrational temperament and gross oversimplification of foreign affairs will destroy our standing in the world. He sees the product of our brand-obsessed society—a walking, self-produced Madison Avenue brand in a loosely-coifed suit. And the truth behind the brand is a veritable financial trail of tears.
When Mitt Romney looks into the eyes of Donald Trump, he sees the undoing of Reagan’s era of hope and the ordered liberty at the heart of our founding. In modern history, progressive incompetence – to the degree we have seen in recent years – has not paved the way for responsible reformers, but for tyrannical fixers who promise greatness…or else.
For eight years, we have watched progressive policies make a common recession a “Great Recession,” just as they did during the Great Depression. We have watched moral equivocation in American leadership give way to moral chaos in the key theaters of foreign affairs. We have watched cultural decadence and deception give way to cultural decay. All in the name of “change.”
Mitt Romney bucked the historical trends today – we are America, after all – and laid out a sobering dictum: The damage done by President Obama is not as grave as its remedy under a President Trump.