Mitt Romney has come back from irrelevance to lead the hopeless Never Trump movement into battle. The perennial loser has made a name for himself letting the Republican Party down repeatedly. In 2008, he was defeated by longtime United States Senator John McCain, but would secure the nomination four years later. Both Senator McCain and the former Massachusetts Governor had a liberalism problem. Neither had conservative credentials, let alone any appeal to libertarians.
After failing to defeat President Barack Obama, Romney seemed to largely disappear from politics during the President’s second term.
Then 2016 happened.
The current election cycle was destined for the heir to the Bush throne, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. After falling flat begging his supporters to clap for him, Bush was over before he began. United States Senator Marco Rubio, a budding young moderate with oratorical prowess, hoped to catch fire.
As candidates came and went, it became increasingly clear that the loud-mouthed and vulgar businessman in Donald Trump was the man to beat. Those who were greatly opposed to the Trump candidacy needed a leader the party could unite around and stand up to a man widely perceived as being a big, bad bully.
That hero was going to be Mitt Romney.
The problem is with Romney leading the Never Trump movement, it set it up to fail. He is not known for his leadership skills, but his politcking ability. His political reputation involves having a number of perspectives on any given issue that change with time to suit the time. For example, Romney ran for United States Senate against the late Ted Kennedy in the nineties and did so trying to run to the left of him.
Running to the left of Kennedy would take talent and effort to accomplish.
Even as Governor, Romney continued his liberal streak. He took the defense of women’s rights position in 1994 against Kennedy, stating abortion beliefs shouldn’t be imposed on others. As Governor, he was endorsed by NARAL Prochoice America. These views changed in time for Romney to run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Though all was not conservative in his candidacy for President either, where he was also known for siding with neoconservative policies in support of the surveillance state. He further encountered trouble when he tried to position himself as a legitimate opponent to government-run healthcare, despite running his own program in Massachusetts.
Firm positions can be difficult for Romney to handle.
This was on full display when Romney took center stage in the middle of the spring to denounce the evils of Donald Trump and declare he had to be stopped. He talked up the need for a conservative alternate, despite he himself not really knowing what it is to be a conservative. The worst part about this entire press conference was how he destroyed a movement already destined to fail from the beginning.
Instead of endorsing a single candidate as a way to herd the Anti-Trump crowd behind one person to stop Trump, he said checked the “All of the Above” box and said any of them would be better than Trump. He was encouraging a divided vote instead of a united front.
If anything, this helped Trump.
Mitt Romney lost. He couldn’t beat Ted Kennedy running to his left and he couldn’t beat Senator John McCain trying to be a better big government warmonger. He couldn’t beat President Barack Obama, who had become a controversial figure by continuing the surveillance state and signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Now in a moment where Trump could have been stopped, Romney again failed.
The conservative movement needs someone with firm integrity who has a grasp on their personal principles. That person isn’t Mitt Romney.