[caption id="attachment_278336" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighs in on the Republican presidential race during a speech at the University of Utah, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Salt Lake City. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee has been critical of front-runner Donald Trump on Twitter in recent weeks and has yet to endorse any of the candidates. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)[/caption]
Mitt Romney gave his much ballyhooed speech today. I'm not sure exactly what its purpose was other than self-aggrandizement. It isn't like Mitt Romney is either an opinion leader or elder statesman within the GOP and especially among conservatives.
In a forceful, top-to-bottom indictment of Trump, Romney called on fellow Republicans to reject the billionaire businessman's candidacy in an election "that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country."
"Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud," Romney said in a Thursday morning speech at the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics. "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing the members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat."
"I understand the anger Americans feel today," Romney said. "In the past, our presidents have channeled that anger, and forged it into resolve, into endurance and high purpose and into the will to defeat the enemies of freedom. Our anger was transformed into energy directed for good. Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes."
Romney adds, "His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgement to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill," referring to Ronald Reagan's famous depiction of the U.S.
Watch the whole thing
LIVE from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at University of Utah.
Posted by Mitt Romney on Thursday, March 3, 2016
Are you ready to go out and vote for Mitt Romney as a third party candidate? No? Me neither. Why bored rich guy trying to cadge my vote is more offensive that another bored rich guy doing the same is never quite explained.
As I see it, the problem with speech is its message (you're stupid and you need me to save you from your own worst impulses) and its prescription (quit your tantrum, suck it up and get back in line). I really don't see either of those messages resonating outside the #NeverTrump folks. You are probably voting for Trump because you are really pissed off at the status quo and your personal prospects in the economy Barack Obama has created. When Mister Severe Conservative, himself, comes out to tell you you are wrong that probably makes people who weren't sure about voting for Trump much more certain that voting for Trump is the right thing to do.
It is also unclear on when Mitt Romney actually came to the conclusion that Trump was so unfit to be seen with in public. It certainly wasn't the case in 2012:
"There are some things that you just can't imagine happening in your life — this is one of them. Being in Donald Trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. I'm so honored and pleased to have his endorsement. And of course, I'm looking for the endorsement of the people of Nevada.
"Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works, to create jobs for the American people. He's done it here in Nevada, he's done it across the country.
"He understands that our economy is facing threats from abroad. He's one of the few people who stood up and said, you know what, China has been cheating. They've taken jobs from Americans, they haven't played fair, we have to have a president who will stand up to cheaters. We believe in free trade and free enterprise — but we don't believe in allowing people to cheat day in and day out."
While there is no doubt Mitt Romney has better table manners than Donald Trump, Romney is hardly qualified to be either the architect of or vessel for an anti-Trump movement. Have we forgotten the dissection of Romney's business practices in 2012? When Trump's Atlantic City widow meets the guy Romney killed by taking away his insurance in attack ads we can say that at least Donald Trump wasn't able to take away the widow's house.
The only thing that could make this worse would be if John McCain endorsed Romney's speech... oh, crap...
John McCain followed Mitt Romney on Thursday in blistering Donald Trump, warning that voters should think "long and hard" before making him commander in chief.
“I share the concerns about Donald Trump that my friend and former Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, described in his speech today,” said the Arizona senator and 2008 Republican nominee. "I would also echo the many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues that have been raised by 65 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders.”
While Romney is probably one of two or three people who could actually make a third party run anything more than an utter joke, would anyone actually vote for him? More to the point would move people vote for Romney than would vote for Hillary Clinton. Didn't we learn our lesson in 2008 and 2012?