Report: Romney appeared to ‘tear up’ talking to supporters about Trump

The success of Donald Trump in capturing the GOP nomination appears to have caused intense emotional distress in many otherwise sober figures.  The latest among the educated, well-spoken, dare-I-say elite Republican crowd to be driven to heretofore unprecedented pubic displays is Mitt Romeny, the 2012 standard-bearer. CNN reports that he actually teared up speaking to a crowd of “hundreds” of “well-heeled” donors and business partners at a 5-star luxury resort in Park City, Utah.

Mitt Romney on Saturday torched Donald Trump and the Republicans who failed to stop his climb to the party's presidential nomination, saying the current fortunes of the GOP are "breaking my heart."

Romney's condemnation, made here at the Stein Eriksen Lodge before hundreds of his donors and business partners, highlighted the ill will between the last two GOP nominees for president. (snip)

Romney's broadsides were warmly received by many of his allies, earning a 21-second round of applause when he wondered aloud about the future of the GOP.

"I find this so troubling, and I know a lot of folks are saying, 'Mitt just get off your high horse on this and get behind the guy.' But these things are personal. I love this country. I love the founders. I love what this country is built upon and its values and seeing this is breaking my heart," Romney said. The 2012 nominee was visibly emotional and appeared to tear up when making the remarks. [emphasis added]

What can account for the loss of emotional control on the part of a man so stoic that his opponents in presidential campaign were able to portray him successfully  as a stone-hearted monster?  I am honestly puzzled, but can only offer some hypotheses for further consideration.

Loss of control

The Republican Party has always been so predictable that it has been called the “stupid party” – by its friends.  An easily identifiable constellation of senior politicians, big donors, and consultants held sway so strongly that successful candidates for the nomination homogenized themselves, supporting the party’s doctrines, and eschewing attacks on any of the entrenched interests.

There could well be outrage that “our thing” (“cosa nostra” in Italian) has been stolen out from under these grandees.

 Revenge of the consultant class

The biggest losers in the success of Trump are the consultants that have had a stranglehold on GOP candidates at the national level. Despite a decidedly mixed record of success in winning the presidency, this small group of very wealthy professionals (they get a percentage commission on ad buys, which run into nine figures) has captured every modern GOP nominee – until Trump. He not succeeded without them, he violated all the rules they have proclaimed. Nobody got rich off of his ad buys. Compare an d contrast the Jeb! campaign that reported spent a hundred million dollars or so on advertising.

Trump’s success is a dagger to the heart of the future prospects of the consultant class.

Trump’s style

Donald Trump uses harsher language than Romney and many other highly educated and accomplished members of the GOP elite. He uses a compact vocabulary. He revels in displays of his wealth (especially in contrast to Romney who could not help but signal that he was a bit ashamed of his own wealth). While Trump might be expected to brag about an elevator in the garage of his home, Romney’s was treated as a revelatory scandal, and Romney made no attempt to counter that narrative.

The word most often applied to Trump by his upper class enemies is “vulgar,” a word steeped in elitism. Being vulgar betrays the values of the elites that cultivate discretion, understatement, subtlety, and seek to remain as invisible as possible. Check out the private jets at any airport frequented by elites, say, Jackson Hole, WY or Palm Beach, FL. Almost none of them have any personal or corporate identification on their fuselages, In contrast, Trump Force One, the used 757 airliner (which was cheaper to purchase than brand new high end smaller biz-jets) not only has the name TRUMP in large type on the fuselage, it has a flying T on the tail, which, to rub it in, has spotlights showing on at night as it taxis around air terminals.

Trump’s supporters

Face it: wealthy Republicans for the most part are uncomfortable in the company of the unwashed masses. Mitt Romney, a patrician, did not look comfortable in font a bales of hay, wearing jeans. Nor, I imagine, does he have a lot of country music on his mobile devise. In fact, I would be surprised if he even uses a pair of headphones to listen to any music.

While Trump’s support extends to all classes of people, the media has caricatured his fans as the uneducated and unsuccessful – losers. No doubt many in the elite accept this sterotype. 

And finally…

Trump’s policies

Trump falls well into the category that may be called “populist,” especially as regards trade. Globalism has been very, very good for the top end of the top end of the income distribution. But beyond this single issue, Trump expresses empathy for all of those who have not benefitted from the macro-economic trends. He doesn’t want to rein Social Security or other entitlements. This is anathema to the Paul Ryans of the party.

In foreign policy he is an “America first” sort of guy, which also makes cosmopolitans uncomfortable. They hobnob with counterparts at the top of other national societies, and, because America has dominated the world since the end of World War II, are a bit uncomfortable with muscular nationalism – it seem a bit unfair to those sophisticates found at the top of other nations.

All of these thoughts are preliminary.  I don’t know if there is something else at work that I just do not understand.

But something accounts for the extreme vehemence of Repucblican opposition to Trump.