How could I be so stupid?
You really pulled the wool over my eyes, Mitt
I mean, it’s not like I thought you and I agreed on a whole lot — our stances on most social issues are about as far apart as Salt Lake City and the Haight-Ashbury. And listen, Mr. 47 percent, it’s not like I don’t remember your more telling moments when you ran for president in 2008 and 2012.
Those tone-deaf gems of yours, like equating corporations with human beings, the binders full of women, and why can’t we open the windows in airplanes? Not forgotten.
And then there was your Sept. 14, 2012 Good Morning America appearance, when George Stephanopoulos asked you, “Is $100,000 middle income?” and you replied, “No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.”
Message received. I wasn’t going to vote for you in either of those elections, and I’m not your constituent now, so I guess you never cared about my feelings. But I want you to hear me when I say you hurt me, Mitt. Hurt me bad.
You raised my hopes, and then you crushed them.
During Trump’s impeachment hearings, way back in January and February when everyone (except the President and his minions, apparently) were still unaware of the corona-shaped doom that hovered over the nation, you shone like a torch in the darkness.
Alone of all the Republican senators, you voted to convict Trump on the first article of impeachment: abuse of power. There was undeniable pressure on you to tow the party line and to acquit him, in the way every other Republican senator did. But according to the speech you made explaining your vote, although this was the hardest decision you’d ever had to make, you could not deny your own conscience.
You took a lot of flak for that from your own party. And you certainly did not endear yourself to The Projector in Chief. Though it cost you political points, you stood out as a beacon of integrity, cracking the window (sorry) to let in a breath of oxygen laced with the possibility that there are still those in the Senate who are true statesmen. Even on your side of the aisle.
I swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker. You gave such an extraordinary and rare display of political and patriotic courage that I thought it meant you really were the exception to the get-in-line, follow-the-leader-right-off-the-cliff mentality of your Republican peers in the Senate.
I was so carried away that I proclaimed my admiration for all the world to see in an article for Medium.com (“An Open Letter to Mitt Romney: I Never Thought I’d Say This, But You’re My Newest Hero.”) You can click here to read it if my misguided praise gives you pleasure.
See, I’m not just hurt. I’m humiliated.
That’s what happens when we invest our confidence, admiration, and trust in someone who betrays us. It’s part of discovering our heroes have feet of clay — although I have to say in this case that what’s filling your loafers right now smells a lot worse than clay. If you attend any of the services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I hope you stand out of the way of any stray lightning; I imagine that she, gracious lady that she was, isn’t any happier with you than I am.
When the chief powdered wig, Mitch McConnell, couldn’t wait the length of a heartbeat following the news of her death to begin crowing about her immediate replacement, I was innocent enough to believe you might once again stand up to the pressure. I didn’t for a minute think you’d be so fast to hitch your wagon to his dark star.
I get that a third Trump appointment to the Supreme Court looks like the golden key to realizing a number of regressive, conservative dreams, such as overturning Roe v. Wade, abolishing gay marriage, and ditching LGBTQ protections in the workplace. Demolishing those rights are dreams the majority of Americans do not share, but recent history shows that doesn’t matter much. During the impeachment, the Senate Republican membership (except you) who together represent 153 million Americans outvoted senators representing 168 million Americans.
It’s not big news that the Senate has no problem with imposing a tyranny of the minority. And I had no reason to think that you did either, given that the ideological tide is mostly flowing your way. But I did think you’d draw the line at empowering the Trump/McConnell demonic duo.
Almost singlehandedly, with your announcement that you’re in favor of voting on Trump’s pick ASAP, you’ve just given him and Mitch a green light to seat the next Supreme Court jurist. And you’ve done that with less than six weeks to go until the presidential election — an election in which early voting has already begun in some parts of the country.
You’ve done this, despite Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish that her replacement not be chosen until after the new president is seated. Despite the former, fervid statements by your Republican colleagues that they’d never do such a thing after denying President Obama a vote on his SCOTUS pick, a full nine months before the end of his second term. Despite the fact that Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.
And despite the fact that he was, in fact, impeached by the House of Representatives.
I actually thought I could count on you, Mitt. But it seems you dwell in the same shame-free zone as the rest of your cohort, willing to subvert democracy in the interests of hanging on to your own position and power.
Wasn’t I a dope.