Romney’s Senate Run Will Be a Comedy of Errors, Even if He Wins

It’s going to be, as they say, a hot mess.

Even if Mitt Romney becomes the next United States Senator from Utah, his road to November 6 will be paved with covfefe. If Romney does win, it will be an indictment of the gullibility of the Utah electorate, an embarrassing example of a state that will vote for any hack with an (R) after his name. (Well, they did vote for Orrin Hatch over and over…)

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of Romney’s ill-fated challenge to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Romney swore up and down that he was a sincere moderate, that he would be more pro-LGBTQ than Kennedy, that he’d protect a woman’s right to choose. He insisted that he was an independent during the Reagan-Bush 1980s. Cross my heart and hope to die, Romney told Bay State voters. Back then, Massachusetts residents were wise enough not to buy his shtick, voting for Kennedy in November 1994 by a 17-point margin.

Sadly, eight years later Massachusetts voters fell for Romney’s sophistry and snake oil: in November 2002, Bay Staters apparently horrified by the thought of a competent, highly qualified Democratic woman in charge—sound familiar?—voted for Romney over Shannon O’Brien by five points in one of the worst miscarriages of political justice in Bay State history.

It’s been fifteen years since Romney was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, and residents of the Commonwealth have yet to forget the loathsomeness Romney brought to the Corner Office. Romney was a grotesque Governor, spending the latter half of his term running around the country bashing Massachusetts residents. Other than scorning same-sex couples and disavowing climate-change policies he had previously helped to enact, what did Romney really accomplish? (Romneycare doesn’t really count, does it?)

Romney was a fraud as governor and a fraud as a presidential candidate, and as the old saying goes, a leopard cannot change his spots. The very fact that Romney is running for the seat Hatch plans to vacate shows the level of contempt he holds for Utah voters. He assumes those voters don’t care about integrity, consistency, credibility. All they want, he figures, is a warm Republican body in that seat.

Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps Utah voters couldn’t care less about Romney’s actual fitness and soundness for office. However, by putting Romney in the Senate, those voters will have proven that they did not learn from history.

Romney is, at bottom, a less vulgar version of Trump—and it may be that the end of the day, that’s what Republicans in Utah (and elsewhere) actually want. Romney’s supporters cannot articulate the man’s overarching vision. No one can, of course. Yet it may not matter.

Romney is clearly willing to humiliate himself in the name of victory. Certainly, he was willing to grovel to fossil-fuel interests seven years ago when he abandoned his previous position acknowledging that climate change was human-caused, and mocked the need to take action on climate change at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Lust for power can make someone do the most degrading of things.

Romney’s campaign will be gloriously degrading and morbidly funny. He’s the class clown that doesn’t know he’s a class clown. It can be argued that he, even more so than Donald Trump, is the single most pathetic figure in modern American politics. Even a likely winner can be a loser.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.