How Does The GOP Solve A Problem Like Mitt Romney?
Mitt Romney did 50 percent of the right thing Wednesday and voted to convict Donald Trump on one of two articles of impeachment. It turns out Romney is the only Republican who believes Mike Pence should be president. People who are more easily impressed than I am are celebrating his "act of courage." George Conway practically swooned and said Romney's vote was "nothing short of inspiring." The other half of the Conway household, senior White House liar Kellyanne Conway, couldn't disagree more. She reminded her followers on Twitter that Romney is not president and Trump is, so THERE. She also tried to start the hashtag #AcquittedForever, which sounds like a 1990s rap album collaboration between the Wu-Tang Clan and O.J. Simpson. Unfortunately, like the Juice, Trump also strikes me as someone who can't keep his ass out of trouble for very long.
Donald Trump Jr., the oldest and dumbest of the president's children, started a hashtag of his own, #EvictMItt. He doesn't think Romney deserves to remain a member of the Republican crime syndicate. If only Trump Jr. could count, he might realize that Republicans maintain control of the Senate by only four votes (just three if a Democrat wins in November). Democrats would happily permit Romney to caucus with them even if he continued voting the same crappy way he does now. It's why they put up with Joe Manchin or even Kyrsten Sinema, who gave Trump a standing ovation at the State of the Union before voting to convict his ass the next day. That's our Sinema: Keeping it mercurial. Don't ever change!
Republicans whose names don't rhyme with Donald Trump Jr. aren't dumb enough to #EvictMitt. But is it possible to just repeal and replace Romney with an eager-to-serve Trump stooge? Some loyal Trump-ists have suggested that Utah #RecallRomney, which is certainly an idea someone -- for instance, a very stupid person -- might have.
Utah currently has no recall provisions. However, last week Republican Tim Quinn of the Utah House of Representatives filed a bill to allow residents to recall a sitting senator. Quinn insists he wasn't targeting Romney specifically. He just thinks six years is a long time for a senator to serve. He believes a recall would prove a good mechanism "to make any senator, current or future, a little more accountable to those who elected him or her." Quinn is apparently struggling with the key functional difference between the upper and lower chambers of Congress. Senators serve longer terms precisely so they aren't immediately accountable to the whims of the public -- the same people who briefly made Robin Thicke a star. This allows a senator to make the apparently controversial decision to remove a president from office who actively tries to rig an election. If Utah voters want to #EvictMItt themselves, they'll have to wait until 2024, when Romney is 77 and still in the prime of life for a Democratic presidential candidate.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a petty man, and I will forever consider Mitt Romney a spineless weasel who thought
brown people half the country were mindless parasites and who happily accepted the endorsement of a known birther conspiracy theorist (that was Donald Trump). We shouldn't define someone, however, by all the times they sucked, but we also shouldn't canonize them for the one time they didn't. The world is actually more complicated. So, I'm glad that on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, Romney denied Trump and the GOP the narrative they wanted -- a "bipartisan acquittal." Well done, senator.
However, I don't think Romney is the noblest senator (or Roman) of them all just because he defied his party and voted to convict. Sinema from Arizona took a bold stand, even if she has another 4 years to let the dust settle. Jones was already facing a difficult re-election in Alabama and likely sealed his political fate. That's impressive. I also don't care if Kamala Harris and Kristen Gillibrand represent California and New York, respectively. Death threats from the Trump deranged extend beyond state lines. There was never any question whether they would do the right thing in the end. That doesn't make them less courageous. It makes all 47 Senate Democrats truly heroic.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).