Mitt Romney, Where are You when We Need You?

To think that this writer would ever utter those words!

No, one must not think that he has gone over to the dark side; he, himself, would never pull the lever beside the name ‘Romney’ in a voting booth. But consider the hapless Republican voters.

The United States is still more than two years away from its quadrennial contest to see what rich, out-of-touch, usually white and usually male candidate will be the next one to occupy the White House. While the Democratic Party candidate and that of the GOP are often compared to Tweedledum and Tweedledee, one can generally find a germ of both sanity and reasonableness spewing from their obnoxious mouths. But now the Republican voter faces a sad dilemma; we will look at a few of their current choices, and that dilemma will become clear.

Donald Trump. Leading the pack in the seemingly endless race to gain the nomination for president is this former one-termer, but what a busy one-term it was! Trump was impeached twice, once for ‘incitement of insurrection’, not something most presidential candidates would want to be associated with. At least nine of his close associates have been convicted of crimes.

And, of course, Trump never conceded the election that he lost (leading up to the attack on the Capitol Building and his second impeachment), and is still under investigation in Georgia for trying to thwart the will of the people. And, according to the Washington Post, Trump told over 30,000 lies in just over four years. Now, one does not expect honesty from one’s elected officials; sadly, that is something that has gone the way of the Dodo bird. But 30,000? That is impressive indeed.

Ron DeSantis. A distant second according to recent polls is none other than the illustrious governor of Florida. He offers an alterative to Trump: he has not been indicted. So for voters who want to ban books about race, LGBTQ+ issues, and unsanitized U.S. history, DeSantis is your man. Don’t want your children learning about Rosa Parks? Vote DeSantis! Does the thought of LGBTQ+ students not being bullied offend you? Vote DeSantis! Do you turn in horror, shame and embarrassment when you view Michelangelo’s statue of David? Yes, vote for DeSantis!

Mike Pence. We are now scraping the bottom of the Republican barrel. There is an old joke attributed to Thomas R. Marshall, vice-president under Woodrow Wilson: “Once there were two brothers: one ran away to sea, the other was elected Vice-President, and nothing was ever heard from either of them again.” Oh, would that be the case here! Pence was elected Trump’s vice president, and wasn’t heard from much during that four-year disaster. But during that time, and prior to it, he did make a name, of sorts, for himself. Let us note some of his pearls of wisdom:

“If there’s alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me,” he said. “It’s about building a zone around your marriage.” The ‘best-looking brunette’ he was referring to was his wife.

Children from households with two working parents have ‘stunted emotional growth’.

“Our president, he leads by asking questions and he listens. And I believe that reflects the kind of humility that will enhance your ability to be a leader.” Yes, humility is a trait often associated with Trump. Right.

Being gay is a choice.

And last, but not necessarily least (it would be difficult to know which statement, or lack there of, is most egregious), following the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, he refused to say the words ‘Black Lives Matter’.

Mike Pompeo. Trump’s former Secretary of State brings the meaning of ridiculous to a new level. In November of 2022, after Trump’s defeat and when he himself was probably dreaming of moving into the White House, he said that the most dangerous person in the world was Randi Weingarten. Ms. Weingarten, for those who don’t know, was the President of the American Federation of Teachers. The entire quotation is worth reading:

“I tell the story often — I get asked ‘Who’s the most dangerous person in the world? Is it Chairman Kim, is it Xi Jinping?’ The most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten. It’s not a close call. If you ask, ‘Who’s the most likely to take this republic down?’ It would be the teacher’s unions, and the filth that they’re teaching our kids, and the fact that they don’t know math and reading or writing.”

Yes, those poor children, having to learn from their big bad teachers that gay people exist, that discrimination is real, and that the history of the United States is not all a fight for glorious freedom. There is a lot in there about barbaric cruelty, savage racism and a whole lot of unfairness with the rich exploiting everyone else for their own gain, but heaven forbid that impressionable children (even of high school age) should learn about it.

So, back to Mitt Romney. In this sea of absolutely bizarre candidates, some of whom weaponize Christianity as a mask for their own hateful attitudes, doesn’t he begin to sound reasonable? Yes, he is white, elderly and super-rich, and doesn’t seem to have any but the vaguest idea that there are people in the U.S. whose homes don’t have elevators for their cars, but by comparison, he is almost a statesman. Imagine him on the ballot during what promises to be an ugly primary season. Non-MAGA Republicans would at least have someone to vote for.

This writer has intentionally not discussed the Democratic side of the upcoming election in this essay. He will briefly rectify that omission now.

It appears that, despite his lack of popularity, Joe Biden is hellbent on seeking re-election. It is whispered that he believes he is the only candidate who can beat Trump (has it really come to this in the U.S?). The alternatives are many; there has been talk about California governor Gavin Newsom, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, and even Vice President Kamala Harris (please see the old joke about vice presidents, above).  But no, we will have another elderly, white, out-of-touch man who has spent his entire adult life as a Washington insider; yes, just what the world needs.

This writer has long since repented of voting for the lesser of two evils, recognizing that even the lesser evil is still evil. Although he has not lived within the U.S.’s borders for many years, he retains his citizenship, and now always votes third-party, wanting a candidate he can get excited about, despite the fact that said candidate never has a chance of victory. But as long as people keep voting Democrat or Republican, a third party will never gain sufficient support to change the direction in which the U.S. has long been heading: straight for the cliff. So while the Democrats accept the seeming inevitable nomination of Joe Biden, and the Republicans continue to self-destruct with Trump, this writer will, in all likelihood as he has done in the last few elections, pull the lever by the candidate marked ‘Socialist’. Since he will have to witness the constant, destructive craziness of the U.S., regardless of the party in power, he might as well follow his conscience in the voting booth.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Propaganda, Lies and False Flags: How the U.S. Justifies its Wars.