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Romney Quits, Tattles on Senate Travesties
“A very large portion of my party really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters on Wednesday that he’s not going to run for re-election.
At about the same time, The Atlantic Magazine released a teaser for the upcoming biography Romney, A Reckoning, by McKay Coppins due to be released in October. The article’s premise is supposedly following the Senator’s thinking in his decision to retire.
It just so happens that a big part of his reasoning had to do with former President Donald J Trump. A few liberals have interpreted Romney’s anecdotes with a sentiment holding him to be “one of the good ones.”
In retrospect, from reading the Atlantic excerpt, one might think the Senator from Utah was an upstanding moral character. He was treated as a pariah by his peers, metaphorically left to sit by himself in the cafeteria after he disparaged Trump.
Except when you contrast most of his actions from the details of his journals and emails, he was willing to go along to get along. He sought to commiserate on strategy with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a cynical man who thrives in the spotlight of the chaos he engenders.
From reading the Atlantic article, you’re led to understand that Mitt Romney’s strong belief in American exceptionalism guided him to the conclusion that this period in civilization was ending, based on history that says the descent into autocracy is a precursor to the end of an era.
The biographer describes a map on the Senator's office wall, a 1931 edition Rand McNally “histomap” charting the rise and fall of civilizations.
The Egyptian empire had reigned for some 900 years before it was overtaken by the Assyrians. Then the Persians, the Romans, the Mongolians, the Turks—each civilization had its turn, and eventually collapsed in on itself. Maybe the falls were inevitable. But what struck Romney most about the map was how thoroughly it was dominated by tyrants of some kind—pharaohs, emperors, kaisers, kings. “A man gets some people around him and begins to oppress and dominate others,” he said the first time he showed me the map. “It’s a testosterone-related phenomenon, perhaps. I don’t know. But in the history of the world, that’s what happens.” America’s experiment in self-rule “is fighting against human nature.”‘
He was upset when Leader McConnell didn’t respond to a test message warning him of threats prior to January 6.
In case you have not heard this, I just got a call from Angus King, who said that he had spoken with a senior official at the Pentagon who reports that they are seeing very disturbing social media traffic regarding the protests planned on the 6th. There are calls to burn down your home, Mitch; to smuggle guns into DC, and to storm the Capitol. I hope that sufficient security plans are in place, but I am concerned that the instigator—the President—is the one who commands the reinforcements the DC and Capitol police might require.
He was upset that fear was a controlling force in decision making when it came to President Trump’s guilt or innocence when it came to impeachment over Jan 6.
One Republican congressman confided to Romney that he wanted to vote for Trump’s second impeachment, but chose not to out of fear for his family’s safety. The congressman reasoned that Trump would be impeached by House Democrats with or without him—why put his wife and children at risk if it wouldn’t change the outcome? Later, during the Senate trial, Romney heard the same calculation while talking with a small group of Republican colleagues. When one senator, a member of leadership, said he was leaning toward voting to convict, the others urged him to reconsider. You can’t do that, Romney recalled someone saying. Think of your personal safety, said another. Think of your children. The senator eventually decided they were right.
As dismayed as Romney was by this line of thinking, he understood it. Most members of Congress don’t have security details. Their addresses are publicly available online. Romney himself had been shelling out $5,000 a day since the riot to cover private security for his family—an expense he knew most of his colleagues couldn’t afford.
Sidebar: Threats mount against prosecutors and FBI agents working on Hunter Biden probe Via NBC News
“We have stood up an entire threat unit to address threats that the FBI employees’ facilities are receiving,” Jennifer L. Moore, then an executive assistant director of human resources for the FBI, told the House Judiciary Committee in June. “It is unprecedented. It’s a number we’ve never had before.”
“It’s going to be about 10 people when it’s finished,” she said. “We are still in the process of staffing it right now. But their sole mission on a daily basis is threats to FBI employees at facilities.”
Moore told lawmakers that threats to FBI agents and facilities had more than doubled — there were more in the six months from October to March than in the previous 12 months.
It wasn’t that Sen. Romney had changed his mind about booting people off food stamps (or whatever Randian scheme was afoot), the prospect of chaos endangering his legacy (and I’m assuming wealth) was a wakeup call.
What Romney, through the biographer, does say confirms all the worst speculation about the inner workings of the Senate in general and Republican Senators specifically.
At the end of the first impeachment trial, McConnell put pressure upon Romney to vote to acquit. He didn’t bother to defend Trump’s actions, arguing instead that protecting the GOP’s majority was a matter of national importance. McConnell believed Trump would lose the election, and it would be apocalyptic for the party if the Democrats took control of the Senate: Medicare for All, Green New Deal, statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. Romney was unpersuaded and ultimately became the only GOP senator to vote to convict Trump after the first impeachment.
“A very large portion of my party,” he told me one day, “really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.” He’d realized this only recently, he said. We were a few months removed from an attempted coup instigated by Republican leaders, and he was wrestling with some difficult questions. Was the authoritarian element of the GOP a product of President Trump, or had it always been there, just waiting to be activated by a sufficiently shameless demagogue? And what role had the members of the mainstream establishment—people like him, the reasonable Republicans—played in allowing the rot on the right to fester?
Once Trump announced his 2024 campaign, Romney considered and rejected running for president as an independent; he talked with Joe Manchin about forming a new political party, ultimately he realized the futility of standing alone in the Senate chamber trying to hold back a still-rising tide.
But it was hard to dispute that the battle for the GOP’s soul had been lost. And Romney had his own soul to think about. He was all too familiar with the incentive structure in which the party’s leaders were operating. He knew what it would take to keep winning, the things he would have to rationalize.
“You say, ‘Okay, I better get closer to this line, or maybe step a little bit over it. If I don’t, it’s going to be much worse,’ ” he told me. You can always convince yourself that the other party, or the other candidate, is bad enough to justify your own decision to cross that line. “And the problem is that line just keeps on getting moved, and moved, and moved.”
The story of Mitt Romney’s decision to quit is important. It tells us more about the intentions of the people who aim to take over this country, and should serve to motivate us to greater efforts to turn back the modern-day Huns intent on wreaking havoc.
Right-wing media figures prepare for “spiritual war” in 2024 by claiming their opponents are demonic entities Via Media Matters for America
Right-wing media figures are ramping up apocalyptic political rhetoric that literally demonizes LGBTQ people, perceived political enemies, and progressive causes, with some absurdly suggesting that demons are using portals to enter Earth and wage “spiritual war” against humanity.
Rhetoric about “demonic” influence and an existential, “spiritual” war has become a hallmark of right-wing punditry and Republican politics ahead of the 2024 elections, as Christian nationalism grows in popularity among Republican voters. Language that demonizes and dehumanizes political opponents has been a staple of right-wing commentary for years, but these recent accusations are not simple rhetorical flourishes; a number of media figures have begun to warn their audiences about occult rituals from the left and supposed portals to hell from which demons would enter the Earth. Last year, Trump ally and provocateur Roger Stone even claimed that a “Satanic portal” had opened over the White House after President Joe Biden took office.
This sort of framing, which posits that political enemies are literal “demons” waging a “spiritual war,” stems largely from a right-wing Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. For years, the NAR movement has reportedly sought “to take dominion over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus.
Biden Plans Democracy-Focused Speech After Next G.O.P. Debate Via the New York Times
President Biden is planning to deliver a major speech in Arizona later this month on what his campaign says are ongoing threats to democracy, with the address scheduled the day after the next Republican presidential primary debate.
The speech would underscore previous efforts by Mr. Biden to focus attention on the cause of democracy. He delivered speech in Philadelphia last September that attempted to frame the midterm elections as a “battle for the soul of this nation,” an echo of his 2020 campaign slogan and another speech in Washington days before the midterm elections.