Romney Wants to Be Above Battle in Utah but Battle Keeps Reaching for Him

Friday, June 10, 2016

I don’t think Trump is qualified to be president. I don’t think it is possible for Trump to win the general election, his impressive string of Republican primary victories notwithstanding.  I’ve felt that way for a long time.

I began reconsidering that assumption this morning when I read a Washington Post article on how former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had convened his annual “ideas festival” last night in that one-percenters heaven, Park City, Utah.  The official name of the Mitt-fest is “Experts and Enthusiasts Summit,” or E2 for short.  (Please tell me you’re surprised I was not invited.)
The E2 Summit is “not intended to be a political forum,” according to the Post, “but rather is a Romney-designed version of the Aspen Ideas Festival.”  (Aspen, why don’t you ever call me?)

The Post article said:
“The E2 summit is the first of what will be many events in which Republican elites begin to talk and think about a post-Trump era, in the event he loses to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Many of the roughly 300 people assembling at the five-star Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley for three days of colloquiums and seminars will be thinking about who might lead their party after November…

“The event comes amid chatter in some Republican circles about ways to establish party rules that could somehow deny Trump the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month.  Those conversations underscore the continuing discomfort with Trump, yet have produced nothing concrete, either in terms of a clear strategy or a consensus alternative candidate.”
If Romney thinks Trump’s a goner, I’m scared.  Very scared. 

Mitt is an exceptional human being in so many respects but the trait for politicking is totally absent from his DNA.  On political matters, he has the opposite of “touch.”  Recall, please, how he went public March 3 with a scathing attack on Trump as a “fake” and how Trump promptly went up in the polls.

Juicily, the E2 Summit has led to speculation that folks in Romney’s camp are hoping to deny the nomination to Trump or to draw Romney into some new third party kind of try for the presidency this November.
“Romney has steadfastly refused to run again, though the reunion here of his friends and allies is expected to produce some encouragement from well-wishers for him to reconsider, as it has the previous two years here,” said the Post.

A Republican strategist, Rick Wilson, was quoted as saying, “We’re at the point now where Mitt is the last dog in this fight who can run a credible third-party effort.  There will be tremendous pressure on him.”
Republicans would be wise to devise a means of stealing the nomination from Trump and bestowing it on Romney next month.  Sure, there’d be a lot of screaming from the Republican rank and file, roughly 62% of whom voted for Trump in the primaries, but it would die down in a matter of weeks.  The Trumpophiles would then realize they’d rather have Romney in the White House than Hillary and Bill again.

With Romney as the standard bearer, the G.O.P. would win even if Romney lost because it would have been spared the damage to down-ticket Republican congressional candidates and the irreparable harm to its standing among minority voters and immigrants that would have resulted from a Trump candidacy.
On balance, there’s an excellent chance Mitt “Spotless” Romney could match up well in this race against Hillary “Server-in-Home” Clinton.

For a gleeful take on how Republican bigwigs could maneuver Trump out of the nomination, see an article published yesterday in the online version of The New Yorker, “How to Feel the G.O.P.’s Pain Over Donald Trump,” by John Cassidy:

For Cassidy’s benefit, Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio talk show host, offered a couple of possible methods (to screw Trump). “One was to make the first two ballots advisory,” Cassidy writes, “which would allow delegates who are committed to Trump to switch preferences on the third ballot.  Another was to require a supermajority of votes on the first ballot, which could conceivably prevent Trump from scoring a decisive victory.”
Further, Cassidy writes, “Once you grasp the idea that the G.O.P. conventioneers can make up their own rules, the possibilities seem endless.”

It is these possibilities that will likely keep Mitt tossing in his five-star bed this weekend.
Speaking of upright Republicans, I can’t understand why Geoff Diehl, a G.O.P. state rep from Whitman and a Trump supporter, has entered the fray as Trump fends off charges – from Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of all people – that he, Trump, was racist in his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel.  Then again, I can’t understand why Diehl, a very decent guy and a gentleman in every sense of the word, decided to support Trump, an obnoxious blowhard and natural-born bully, in the first place.

In an article today on the State House News Service, (“Diehl Stands by Trump Following His Comments on Judge”), Diehl was quoted as saying:
“I don’t understand why we talk about Mexico as a race.  Mexico is a country.  This is a nation.  We’re trying to have a secure border along the Mexican border, right?  He’s talking about the potential bias of the judge who’s worked clearly with LaRaza (a Latino lawyers association in California), who has efforts to try to get people into America.”




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