Mitt Romney burst into his role as the junior senator from Utah with an op-ed criticizing Donald Trump’s character, or lack thereof. Though the piece was treated as a bombshell, it was the usual mild-mannered, more-in-sadness-than-in-anger critique that Romney specializes in.
Taking on the president of his own party as his first act drew strong reactions from most elected Republicans and every conservative pundit. I suppose I should throw in my two cents. Although I agree with Romney’s criticism, the op-ed was the kind of unforced error that ended my former senator’s political career.
Like Romney, Jeff Flake is an eminently decent man more concerned with policy minutiae than party loyalty. But the only times he was roused to comment on the rough-and-tumble of partisan politics, his targets were on the right.
Every good politician should ding his own party when they mess up, but they need to accept that the other party is much, much worse. Flake never unleashed on Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi; he saved his ineffectual wrath for members of his own party.
Perhaps Mitt is setting himself up as the anti-Trump, opening a lane to the GOP nomination in 2020 if Trump goes south. But if he wants Republican voters to support him, he better spend a lot more time focusing on the real target.
Romney should keep a tally in his day planner: Every criticism of Trump merits at least 25 criticisms of the braying donkeys trying to push socialism on America. If he’s unwilling to take the fight to the left, there’s no reason for anyone on the right to support him.