Opinion: Romney stands for failed politics of past

Raheem Kassam

Did you hear the one about the failed presidential candidate who took to the pages of The Washington Post to lecture someone in his own party who actually won?

If you haven’t yet, you soon will, because former Massachusetts Gov. Willard “Mitt” Romney is back in Washington, trying once again to advise his party — presumably on how to lose.

Romney has clawed his way back to semi-relevance by becoming a U.S. Senator from Utah, handing the media another useful pundit inside of the Republican Party to replace Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker.

It gives them no end of pleasure to know that Romney is the same person who ran and lost against Barack Obama in 2012.

Romney launched the first anti-Trump salvo of 2019 in his op-ed entitled “The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short.”

Romney’s interventions against Trump can only be described as an act of sabotage against conservatives in the United States today. They should be viewed as enemy political combatants in the same way the Democrat Party is.

Think about it.

While a Republican president is locked into a fight with the Democrats over America’s border integrity (i.e., an existential national battle), the likes of Romney who is attempting to wound him with friendly fire.

Romney argues in the Post that “[t]he world is also watching,” and that “America has long been looked to for leadership.”

Let the world watch. America has no obligation to keep carrying pails of water across thousands of miles in a futile attempt to put out the world’s raging geopolitical wildfires, and those leaders who are reportedly “watching” for establishment “American leadership” would do better by attempting to solve their own cultural, religious, financial, and military problems.

The Brazilians have already elected a Trumpian nationalist. So too the Hungarians, Poles, Austrians, and Italians. If the world is indeed watching America, it looks like they’re learning from Trump rather than staring wide-eyed into a concocted vacuum of leadership.

President Trump has himself urged other nations to mimic his stance. As he told the United Nations in September of 2017: “As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.”

 There are two core Trumpian philosophies. One: the art of negotiation (towards dictators), and two: an insistence that allies actually be allies, rather than protectorates or dependents.

How do you explain Romney's hostility toward the approach that the American people endorsed when they elected Donald Trump as their President? The nationalist right is winning, not just in America but across the world.

Professor Charles Kesler points out in his May 2018 essay on the character of President Trump that while Trump is a “wildcatter” who is used to high risk-high, high-reward situations, businessmen such as Romney made their fortunes off of exploiting other people’s losses.

This explains the dichotomy that the Republican Party faces in 2019.

The fight is between scrappy and messy winners, and those who cannot survive in the unpredictable wild. Most establishment politicians now fit into the latter category and serve to make virtue of their weaknesses.

In this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump calls out to the media as Mitt Romney leaves the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J. A nationwide survey of midterm voters found that about two-thirds of Mormon voters nationwide favored Republicans in the midterm elections, but approval for President Donald Trump lags behind. And as new U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney prepares to join the new Congress in January, most voters in the predominantly Mormon state of Utah 64 percent would like to see the senator confront the president, AP VoteCast found.

Romney, who was himself demonized as evil, greedy, and anti-women during the 2012 election cycle, is now attempting to gather the same grapes from the same thorn bushes the media did during his failed bid for president.

The idea of a fully reformed, nationalist-infused Republican Party in America is terrifying to the old guard for one simple reason: it puts them out of business for good.

Raheem Kassam is a fellow at the Claremont Institute, a writing fellow at the Middle East Forum, and the former senior advisor to Brexit leader Nigel Farage.