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Mitt Romney Whines About Decency but Does Nothing to Save It

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney dine at Jean Georges restaurant, November 29, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

I’m honestly not sure if Mitt Romney is a good example for Republicans or the worst. While Trump stooges like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham make no pretense about being in the pocket of Trump, Russia, and big corporations and seem literally gleeful about taking away the rights of Americans, Mitt Romney continues to pretend he has some moral high ground, in the model of the Bush-era “compassionate” conservative. But of course, he never actually does anything to fight back against the Trumpian evils he decries.

Take today, for instance. Romney issued what amounted to a very fancy notes app tweet (graphic design is his passion) about how toxic political discourse has become. He correctly bemoaned the crude conduct and comments of President Trump and his posse, but made sure to both-sides it and call out … Keith Olberman???

Now, in one sense, Mittens is right. It’s wrong to call Trump a terrorist. Terrorists work outside and against governments. Trump is the government, right now. It’s much more accurate to call him a fucking Nazi.

But then again, Olbermann makes a point in that Trump is terrorizing our country and tearing it apart, and people like Mitt Romney who claim to be against that are doing nothing to stop it.

But to get back to the greater point, Romney’s call to “lower the heat” is completely maddening.

This isn’t about rhetoric, Mitt. It’s about fundamental rights and the part that wants to destroy them and the people who, weirdly, don’t want to see us descend into fascism and won’t tolerate the misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and hate Trump represents. The problem here isn’t the tone, it’s the Donald Trump is a monster enabled by other monsters.

This isn’t politics as usual, as much as Romeny would like it to be. And it’s pure performance from him to condemn Trump in one breath and then say the left is just as bad. It doesn’t work that way. Nancy Pelosi ripping up Trump’s State of the Union was an act of defiance against an illegitimate, criminal, corrupt, evil man. Saying that it’s all gotten too loud and rowdy from everyone is like blaming the person being stabbed for screaming too loud.

It’s clear that Romney is playing his own political game here, distancing himself from Trump, rhetorically if not in policy, yet again so he can run for President in 2024 under the pretense that the Republican party and Trump are substantively different. Because this isn’t about actual principles or morals, it’s still just about politics and power. Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the actual dangers Trump poses; he wants to see Roe v. Wade go away as much as any other conservative hack, and he’s going to vote to confirm the woman who could make that happen.

Mitt Romney isn’t a hero for standing up to Trump because it takes more than sternly worded letters to take down dictators and demagogues, but that’s too much for Mittens. After all, he doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. It’s right there in his name.

(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.