Review of McKay Coppins, Romney: A Reckoning
This blog surely wins the prize for most consistently striking contrast between the posts and the comments.
"Few men who are tall, handsome, married to their first wife who they still dot over, and surrounded by a gaggle of grandkids — all, as far as we know, still identifying with their biological sex — are enthusiastic Trumpists." Not my observation AT ALL. Trump voters of my acquaintance and age cohort are precisely this, men circa age 60, conservative Catholics, married to their first wives, typically grandfathers. Not all are tall and handsome. Most are professionally accomplished.
Your vision of Trump voters is clearly mostly driven by your own contempt for him and them, and not data driven. Dig into the survey data more. You are the professional pundit around here. You can do better.
"Putting aside any questions of political strategy, I just really like Mitt Romney."
>This means that those who believe in freedom will have to behave morally worse than their opponents — that is, lie more, appeal more to base impulses, and violate democratic norms — to have any hope of accomplishing their political goals.<
I generally agree with this perspective. We are in a "cold civil war" in the sense that the left is willing to do whatever they can get away with, in order to get their way. Therefore, fighting back effectively requires a similar willingness to do whatever is most effective in hurting them. You've recognized in some of your other writing that when push really comes to shove in warfare, nations have to put aside such pesky concerns as civilian casualties in favor of simply crushing the enemy. I would say that a similar principle applies in the current political atmosphere of aggression. No matter how decent a guy he may be, someone that marched with BLM simply isn't the right person for the job we face.
“These people don’t have ideas about whether the Republican Party should be more right-wing or not, but rather want leaders who flatter them, and make them feel heard by expressing agreement with their conspiracy theories and Manichaean worldview in which elites are consciously scheming against them, whether through demographic warfare, collusion with globalist institutions, or Big Pharma implanting them with microchips and suppressing the truth about ivermectin.”
Of course, the global elite has a lot of stupid ideas. I count rabid support for mass non-white immigration among them. Ironically, open borders folks want tons more “riff raff” but I guess they assume that, contrary to Democrats who are more activist, these low IQ hordes will just mind their business while indulging in their oppositional culture and/or crime. Whites will just have to take flight again in exchange for Netflix.
Romney is the quintessential "smartest kid in the class" who frets that he is not respected or liked as much as he should be. Why are the dumber kids more popular than me?
Well Mitt, the reason you are not liked and respected by your peers is because you are a jerk. You are so self absorbed with your own genius and beauty that you fail to see that your interactions with others are perceived as fake or trite. You are seen as a very shallow person because you yourself exaggerate superficial differences.
Case in point. After 20+ years of Romney being on the national stage (Olympics, governor, presidential candidate, Senator) what is Romney remembered for? What of substance has the man won or argued or staked his reputation on? And the answer is his personal spats with Trump and with other Republicans. How sad. And if Romney senses this reality no wonder he is bitter.
But whose fault is it that Romney is defined as the man who mud wrestled with Trump? Contrast Romney with Thomas Massie. Massie disagreed with Trump and drew the ire of Trump. But Massie stuck to the substance of the policy he disagreed about. He disagreed with Trump on Covid bailouts but his concern was the policy and defending his position.
Romney, on the other hand, sees criticism of policy as criticism of him. Romney chooses to make policy disagreement personal. It is an attack of his intellect and righteousness and his honor! And so we see in Romney - a man of great talent - who is remembered for his petsonal jabs and snide remarks, and not for having made a difference in Washington. We can't even associate Romney with a policy position that defined his political career. We can only conclude the man believes in nothing but himself as a "good man" punished to live among so many men of inferior talent.
This piece perhaps overlooks foreign policy. The Republican Party establishment--which I do respect in many ways--got the Iraq War wrong. Maybe that can be blamed on GWB. But Romney did not inspire confidence in me in 2012 that he would not involve us in additional wars. Trump, on the other hand, clearly expressed that he would not involve us in pointless wars like the Iraq War, and he did not do so in practice.
I think generally, agreements between traditional hannania republicans and trumpists tend to fracture and breakdown along the question of, how much has institutional rot corroded America, and whether the situation can still rectified within the normal bounds of democracy or are extra democratic measures needed to prevent a ... Hard landing. Im pretty split on this question myself, and can see it the situation both ways. On one hand, Trump is Hitler and if he takes power (I mean real power, winning the election and making the nessescary personnel changes to cement it), we could be heading to unmitigated disaster. On the other hand, Trump is Franco, and after a brief
and brutal revolution, stops the communist death spiral that would have made Spain into a Stalinist gulag state. Idk
One effect that I think is in play (that is considerably independent of other factors) is that there's a substantial fraction of the population that genuinely likes Trump's belligerent style. I suspect this overlaps considerably with the "pugnacious Scots-Irish". But it does seem to me that there's a considerable constituency that sees the world in strongly zero-sum terms and favors interpersonal aggression as the model for interaction. I once joked "The way you indicate you disagree with your representative's vote on a bill is by threatening to kill his children." But I've seen in Salon the comment "Keep it up pinheads with your troublemaking, you keep saying half the people didn't vote for Bush, well half did and it's the half that believes in guns. I say it's time we settle things with them."
Within that context, all of the other Republican candidates have the failing that they're politicians, and at heart believe in settling disputes by political means, rather than by street fighting. There's no way they are going to pry away from Trump the supporters who crave belligerence.
ETA: I suspect this accounts for the popularity of the "invade Mexico to solve the drug problem" meme. That idea is obviously demented, so politicians embrace it in order to show that they *prefer* beating people up as a way to solve problems.
The GOP has long been an odd combination of economic and foreign policy elites, along with a horde of social conservatives. Granted, I personally am a fan of business and foreign policy elites calling the shots, but I also am one at some scale.
Our constant push towards small-d democracy is rooting out the final bastions of nobility in politics. In areas with less democratic pressure you can still see excellence rise up, but elected office seems to be where it all goes to die. This isn’t because our elites are necessarily worse, but because they are forced to conform to the style and desires of the proletariat if they want to be elected.
I still can't get over the fact that he marched with BLM.
A lot of stock put into a biography apparently about a guy sucking himself off, but putting aside whatever charm that may hold to some, "Romney is a natural aristocrat in the Jeffersonian sense" could not contradict the rest of the piece any more strongly. Jefferson, while living an aristocratic life in the sense of his opulent consumption of books, fine alcohol, and pet projects, was among the most populist of all the Founders, albeit one with infinitely more political cunning. A fundamental aspect of Jeffersonian thought was that the common prole who worked his own land *was* in fact a better and more moral human than those who worked the banks or political office. The Jackson era was the inevitable culmination of the Jefferson era's political dominance and the ever-aging Federalist administrative state, even though Jefferson had a few mild private criticisms of Jackson himself.
The problem with Nietzschean Liberals is that they want all the perks of the society that comes from being filled with a bunch of American flag-patterned-pants wearing Alex Jones listeners, without said proles themselves. The only 20th century political demographic with any interest in the exalted 19th century liberal values we enjoy today are the civil libertarians whose heyday began roughly circa the 60s, and who have been in rapid decline ever since Obama and the neocons made up.
The dream may be the NPR-sounding elitist who smoothtalks and IQ-mogs Congress into repealing Social Security and Medicaid, but in practice that never happens. Instead you get George Romney issuing the first mortgage-backed securities, expanding HUD, breaking records in new public housing for minorities, ending in what retrospectively and inevitably turned into a proto subprime lending crisis. You get fiscal conservative Mitt Romney taking the "moderate" position on public healthcare by pioneering the public mandate in Romneycare, to the delight of insurance companies. Hamilton is the much more obvious reference point; devalue the bonds of Revolutionary War veterans, convince them to sell the bottom to speculators (including many members of the government, the First Bank, and Hamilton's own family), then get the First Bank to buy them back at taxpayer's expense. Jefferson and Lincoln both understood that what makes a nation is its land and the men who work and improve it; Romney is just another parasite from the ideological lineage of Rooseveltism, generations of men powerful enough to seem smart just by asserting it.
Let's make this Real Simple, as Sen. Iselin would say.
1. "There is no politics without an enemy." Who is the enemy of our ruling class? The racist-sexist-homophobe white supremacist riff-raff of which you've heard tell.
2. Every ruling class has a Political Formula. Our rulers believe they are the Allies of the Oppressed Peoples against the White Oppressors.
You will note that there are three lies in the formula: First, the Oppressed Peoples aren't that oppressed. Second, the White Oppressors don't have the political power to oppress; third, the Allies are the ruling class and they are in it for themselves, not allies of anyone. The Oppressed Peoples are just Mascots of the rulers.
"where he fought to put civil rights into the party platform, pointedly refused to endorse Goldwater, and denounced “extremism and lilly-white Protestantism."
WTF Mormonism, you had one job:
Romney didn't resonate with me in 2012 and I voted Obama again. Didn't need this article to know that was a yuge mistake, but glad you took the time to write this so I could see Mitt through a more positive lens.
This review is all well and good, but you simply can’t put the race-IQ question in a box when assessing American politicians, except as a thought experiment.
Racial problems are the defining issue of our time, and Romney has, perhaps tragically if you want to be charitable to him, been brainwashed with absolutely insane ideas on that subject. So he marches with BLM. Maybe he’s well intentioned and talented, but nothing could be more disqualifying.
You have been fooled too easily by Romney's patrician air. When it comes to substance, the guy has flip-flopped on a lot of issues and, believe it or not, was even more hawkish than Trump on immigration at one point.
For more details and references on what I just said, check the latest Reason piece on him.