I watched Mitt Romney blister the daylights out of Donald J. Trump on Thursday morning and all but cheered at my TV set as I watched the speech.
Then I thought a bit more about it and realized: Didn’t the 2012 Republican nominee support many of the positions for which he’s now blasting the 2016 GOP frontrunner? And isn’t the party to which he belongs culpable of the things associated with Trump?
One example stands out. You’ll recall Romney saying four years ago that he would make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would “self-deport” themselves back to their home country. Now he says Trump’s anti-immigrant position is inhumane.
The New York Times noted: “He also listed Mr. Trump’s offenses — ‘the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.’ Did Mr. Romney have any sense of irony when he said those words? For far too long, they could have been used to describe many in his party: legislators, congressional leadership, its policy makers.”
There was much to commend Romney’s remarks Thursday morning. Perhaps the most skillful put-down related to Trump’s denigrating the heroism exhibited by U.S. Sen. John McCain during the Vietnam War. Romney noted the “dark irony” of Trump saying McCain was a “war hero because he got captured.” Romney said that while McCain was being tortured by his North Vietnamese captors, Trump was gallivanting with married women.
I want Romney’s remarks to stick. I want them to make Republicans think long and hard about the man who says he wants to be their party’s nominee.
The reverse of what I want might occur. Instead of forcing GOP voters to turn away from Trump, Romney’s scathing rebuke might solidify Trump’s support among those primary voters who want to send some kind of message to the party high command.
Think about this, too. Mitt Romney embodies the very public policies embraced by the Republican establishment that’s become Donald Trump’s punching bag.