It has been over five years since Mitt Romney and Barack Obama shared a stage to debate the foreign policy questions of that day. By now you have heard the story, Romney said that Russia was our greatest geopolitical threat and Obama and his team laughed. Romney wanted to basically re-fight the Cold War but the 1980s called asking for their foreign policy back.
Fast forward to November 2016 when Donald Trump was elected and the Democrats started seeing a Russian agent behind every street corner and a Russian bot on every disagreeable Twitter account. Frustrated with Trump’s “bromance” with Putin and initial softness on Russia, but doubting Democrats’ sincerity on their newfound belief that Russia is the mortal enemy of Western Civilization, some conservatives and Republicans began reminiscing the days of Mitt Romney.
Now fast forward once more to last week when Mitt Romney announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate in Utah.
Mitt Romney’s stock has gone way up since 2012 in some conservative circles. He was right about Russia and Putin. He is a great family man who does not have the extramarital affairs or other baggage that Trump possesses. He was viciously attacked as being responsible for the death of a man’s wife and the Vice President told a black audience that he wanted to put them back in chains. He is a good and decent man who was victimized by other conservatives who insisted on “purity tests” who now defend every character flaw and un-conservative policy that comes from Trump.
All of these may be true, but Mitt Romney’s time has come and gone and it is time for conservatives to move on. It is also true that Mitt Romney may be the only person who has changed his political positions more often than Donald Trump. When he ran against Ted Kennedy in 1994 he was pro-abortion and pro-gun control. In 2012 Mitt Romney’s position on immigration was such that he was praised by Ann Coulter and was criticized by Donald Trump for being too harsh. In 2018, they have swapped places on immigration and, after some feuding over the past couple of years, Trump has once again endorsed Romney.
The most glaring example of Romney’s lack of fixed principles, however, is healthcare. Trump has indicated that the fight to repeal Obamacare is over, which it surely is not. Much was made, rightfully so, about the fact that Trump said in a Republican debate that he thought the Canadian health care system was great, but many raised doubts about RomneyCare or whether Romney would have the political courage to sign the repeal of his legislative god-child.
Yes, Mitt Romney was right about Russia and Obama was wrong, but he is not running against Obama. Mitt Romney’s personal life makes him a better role model than President Trump, but he is not running against the president either. It is also true that too many criticized Romney as being a RINO while giving Trump the benefit of the doubt while he flipped and flopped all over the country during the primaries.
Mitt Romney may be a good guy, but he is more responsible for the rise of Trump than he is the conservative answer. Ignoring Mitt Romney’s lack of fixed political principles made it easier for some to justify Trump’s constant flip-flopping. We mock the left for still clinging onto Hillary Clinton’s bandwagon over twenty months since the election, but it is time for conservatives and Republicans to get off the Mitt Romney bandwagon as well.