There's something admirable and loopy about Mitt Romney becoming the voice in the Republican Party to take on Donald Trump. His relentless Tweets about how Trump should release his tax returns and taking him to task for hiding behind the excuse for an audit are spot-on and emphatic. Yet, it's near-impossible to read them and not always be thinking, "Really?? Mitt Romney is chastising a presidential candidate for not releasing his tax returns?? That's like the definition of the pot calling the kettle incredibly black" -- given that Mr. Romney famously, of course, didn't release most of his own tax returns when running for president. But still, if the virulent anti-Communist Richard Nixon can be the open to open the door to China, then Mitt Romney can be the one blasting Donald Trump to release his tax return. You go, Mitt.
And then watching him make a speech slamming Trump, as blunt and critical as any speech he many ever have made ("Donald Trump's word is worth as much as a degree from Trump University") is a remarkable experience. On the one hand it's incredibly admirable, having the former party leader take on the man in a position to be the new party leader. And on the other hand, it's hard to watch it and consider how self-serving it probably actually is. After all, I have a feeling that Mr. Romney has in his mind the possibility of being drafted at a brokered convention, and his speech is part of positioning himself for that.
(By the way, I've also heard the name of Paul Ryan bandied about for that...)
I think it's possible -- whether Mr. Romney or Ryan -- and I suspect there would be a lot of joy among many sane Republicans. I also think that as meltdown crazy as Donald Trump would be, and his supporters, who right now make up about 40% of the GOP, if the nomination was taken away from him at the convention, he and they would be monumentally more incensed if it turned out that the nomination went to someone who hadn't even been a candidate during the primaries. So much so that the angry rift in the party would likely be so massive as to doom them in the upcoming election, not only for the presidency, but House and Senate, as well.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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