Mitt Romney, Sore Loser

Mitt Romney, after two unsuccessful bids for the US presidency in 2008 and 2012, is on the campaign trail again. This time not for himself, but instead for some hypothetical candidate to usurp the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. At this point, Trump has over 1500 delegates, three times more than Ted Cruz and well above the 1237 threshold needed for nomination. What woke Rip Van Romney out of his four-year slumber? At his Deer Valley, Utah summit last week, Mitt was wide-awake.

Mitt is quite upset about the Trump nomination. So much so that he says “Seeing this is breaking my heart.” CNN reports, “The 2012 nominee was visibly emotional and appeared to tear up when making the remarks.” Has Mitt been emotional and teary eyed when thinking about our $20 trillion national debt? Or Obamacare breaking the financial back of many Americans? Or a feckless Middle Eastern policy? Or the Clintons selling access and influence to anyone willing to write them a check? Or a record low labor participation rate? He has actually not had much to say about anything other than the Donald Trump nomination.

No, Mitt is concerned with “trickle-down racism," presumably because Trump wants to secure our border and questions the objectivity of the judge overseeing his Trump University lawsuit based on the judge’s membership in a La Raza Lawyers group.

Ordinary Americans who voted for Trump in the primaries are more concerned with homeland security rather than political correctness and so-called racism. This will be reinforced after the Saturday night massacre at an Orlando nightclub where an ISIS inspired terrorist went on a shooting spree, similar to recent events in Paris and Brussels.

Romney goes further, criticizing the other GOP primary candidates for not taking out Trump. “Their biggest failure was attacking each other and not the frontrunner,” according to Romney. Really? Did Mitt miss Cruz calling Trump a “pathological liar” and a “narcissist”? Or accusing Trump supporters of “acting like union boss thugs”? John Kasich warned voters of Trump, "He’s really not prepared to be president of the United States." Marco Rubio also had plenty to say about Trump, aside from references to his anatomy, “Trump basically offended everyone for a year ... a disabled journalist, a female journalist, every minority group imaginable, on a daily basis”. These candidates actually spent more time attacking Trump than each other.

Did Mitt ever look into the mirror after his 2012 defeat? After a strong first debate, he fell asleep. Why didn’t he seize the momentum and go after Obama on Benghazi, national security, the economy, and myriad other issues? He let Harry Reid accuse him of paying no taxes in 10 years without fighting back. Romney could have used his “47 percent” comment as a teachable moment, educating voters about progressive income taxes, government benefits, and the unsustainable economic consequences, rather than backpedaling.

I was not an avid Mitt Romney supporter, but honestly believed he would have been much better for the country than a second term of Barack Obama. Mitt was too moderate for my tastes, much like a Jeb Bush, supportive of big government, open borders, Common Core, and other issues near and dear to the Republican elites and donor class.

That being said, Romney would have suffered the same fate as the other 16 candidates if he chose to run in this cycle. The establishment may have coalesced around him rather than around Bush, Rubio, or Kasich, but in the end Trump would have still won the nomination, calling Romney “Timid Mitt” or “The Choker.”

Many Republicans held their noses and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Unfortunately fewer voters than voted for either George W Bush or John McCain. Did the Republican voters who stayed home in 2012 determine the outcome? Hard to know, as Obama received fewer votes in 2012 compared to 2008, but likely a major factor.

Turnout will likely be a key determinant in November. Staying home won’t help, yet that is exactly what #NeverTrumpers advocate, “Mitt Romney says that he will not vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as America’s next president.” Sorry Mitt, but those are your two choices. Unless you believe Gary Johnson is a viable candidate.

Funny what four years did in Romney’s perception of Trump. When Trump endorsed Romney’s 2012 candidacy, Romney had this to say about Trump, "An extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs." And regarding trade, one of Trump’s campaign issues, "One of the few who has stood up to say China is cheating." Has Trump changed on these issues or is Romney being a sore loser?

Elections are about choices. And we have a major one. A third term of Obama or a new direction for the GOP. A direction away from the losing GOP formulas of 2008 and 2012 preaching open borders, lousy trade deals, endless wars, and pandering to the donors and elites at the expense of ordinary and struggling Americans.

Sorry Mitt but you lost last time. You, too, have a choice. Get on board with the candidate, who while not your first choice, is one you praised when he supported your candidacy. Or you can be a sore loser, kicking sand and throwing a temper tantrum, which will serve only to further divide the Republican Party, electing a candidate who represents everything you say you are against. Work with Trump. Make him a better candidate. Help him beat Hillary Clinton.

Fifty years ago, Ronald Reagan gave “The Speech” and spoke of “A time for choosing.” Americans did choose, and poorly, Johnson over Goldwater, and the result was the rise of the welfare entitlement state. Another choice awaits not only voters but also Republican Party elders such as Mitt Romney, two George Bushes, Trump’s primary opponents, and influential pundits.

Many important issues face America, not the least of which occurred in Orlando over the weekend. Time to be a big boy. Sore losers are for the playground, not the national stage.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based retina surgeon, radio personality, and writer. Follow him on Facebook  and Twitter.

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