Mitt Romney is not only leaving the Senate, but burning bridges behind him as he goes. In a new biography of the Utah senator, Romney calls out several of his Republican colleagues for not voting for last year’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was hailed by anti-gun media as the first major piece of gun control legislation to be signed into law in 30 years.
Mediaite has published an excerpt from McKay Coppins’ new tome featuring Romney’s complaints about his fellow senators, in which he called out Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson and Utah’s Mike Lee for allegedly putting politics ahead of his favored policy, with Johson allegedly calling the bill a “lose-lose” and Lee fretting about having to cast a “bad vote” in a tight re-election race.
Romney was also quoted as saying: “I have come to recognize that the overwhelming consideration in how people vote is whether it will help or hurt their reelection prospects. … Amazing that a democracy can function like this.”
Romney just realized this, huh? He’s spent his entire life surrounded by politics, including his dad’s time as a lobbyist before becoming governor of Michigan when Mitt was a teenager, and he’s shocked and surprised to learn that one of the considerations of how politicians vote is whether it will help or hurt their re-election campaign?
I’ve got news for Mitt: that’s exactly how a representative republic is supposed to work. If you’re out of step with the voters, you get voted out of office. Sure, you can take a “principled stand” in support of an unpopular position, but you shouldn’t expect to be rewarded by your constituents for it.
Whittaker Chambers described this phenomenon well in a letter to William F. Buckley in 1958, shortly after the GOP suffered embarrassing defeats in the mid-term elections. He was speaking solely of Republicans, but what he said holds true for both political parties.
If the Republican Party cannot get some grip of the actual world we live in and from it generalize and actively promote a program that means something to the masses of the people, why somebody else will. Then there will be nothing to argue. The voters will simply vote Republicans into singularity. The Republican Party will become like one of those dark little shops which apparently never sell anything. If, for any reason, you go in, you find at the back an old man, fingering for his own pleasure some oddments of cloth. Nobody wants to buy them, which is fine because the old man is not really interested in selling. He just likes to hold and feel…
I think we’re witnessing that phenomenon to some degree when it comes to the GOP and abortion policy at the moment, but that’s probably a topic best left for another website. When it comes to gun control, however, it’s pretty clear that the voters in the constitutional carry state of Utah weren’t exactly clamoring for more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. According to Romney, Mike Lee was concerned about casting a “bad vote” in a tight race, but on Election Day last year Lee ended up handily winning re-election after voting against the Senate’s gun control bill; defeating Evan “Egg McMuffin” Mullin by more than 10 points.
Lee’s Senate seat is secure and it’s Mitt Romney who won’t be seeking re-election next year. While it wasn’t one of Romney’s stated concerns, I suspect that one of the reasons he decided not to seek another six years in the Senate was the prospect of losing a contested primary. The good news for him is he will soon be free to open up his own dark little shop that has few, if any customers interested in what he’s selling, and the even better news for Utah conservatives is they’ll have the chance to nominate a candidate who actually listens to their constituents’ wishes instead of currying support and favor with the denizens of D.C. and the national media.