Mitt Romney’s Two Paths

Something happened in U.S. politics last week that shocked no one. No, I’m not talking about liberals blaming Americans en masse for the horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school. Nor am I referring to the press’s shameful effort to keep the Trump-Russia collusion narrative alive, even though Robert Mueller and his team have uncovered zero evidence to support that claim.

Instead, like water falling down, Mitt Romney announced he would seek public office. With Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) impending retirement and Romney’s popularity in Utah, his victory for Senate in November is all but a foregone conclusion. The latest polls show he has an astonishing 45-point lead over his rival, Democrat Jenny Wilson.

Though Romney won’t work with 47 percent of the population, evidently he will work with voters he deems acceptable—the voters of Utah. In his campaign kickoff video, Romney says he wants to bring “Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington,” adding: “Utahns are known for hard work, innovation, and our can-do pioneering spirit.”

As American Greatness contributor Kevin R.C. Gutzman quipped, “I hear a Massachusetts governor from Michigan is going to take Utah values to D.C. America: What a country!”

Rand Paul or Ben Sasse?
Romney’s inevitable victory may help to erase the sting of the 2008 and 2012 elections, where he was defeated by John McCain in the primaries and Barack Obama in the general election, respectively. And what he accomplishes in the Senate could markedly alter the public’s perception of the man.

Will he put aside differences with President Trump and work together in areas where they share common ground? Or is his pledge of being an “independent voice in the Senate” a euphemism for being a constant thorn in the side of the president and the more than 63 million Americans who voted him into office?

Will Romney be more like Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who works with Trump on the policies they share, stays mostly silent on differences in policy and style, and voices constructive concerns on important topics such as our massive budget deficits and bloated defense bureaucracy?

Or will Romney follow in the lead of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)? Though Sasse almost always votes with the president, he disagrees sharply with much of the Trump agenda and too often has made his own personal thoughts and feelings about the president’s public persona the focal point of his commentary.

From watching Romney’s announcement video, there is evidence suggesting the answer is likely to be “both.”

On immigration, Romney says, “Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world; Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion.”

If ending chain migration and the DACA program, securing the southern border, and enforcing federal immigration laws are sending “a message of exclusion,” then Romney is no different than the bipartisan open-borders politicians who have monopolized our so-called national immigration “debate.”

Romney’s preferred policy of importing low-skill immigrants only exacerbates cultural differences between peoples, continues to demoralize and infantilize low-skill Americans who are currently thought of as undesirables, and keeps immigrant families locked into low-wage jobs for generations.

And importing Utah’s lax immigration policies to Washington would continue the ruling class’s disastrous insouciance on illegal immigration.

A 2016 Pew study found that Utah has the 10th-highest illegal immigrant population in America. Salt Lake City has declared itself a sanctuary city and a decade-old state law gives illegal immigrants access to a driving privilege card.

These policies have predictably led to some particularly horrific crimes. Late last year, a twice-deported illegal immigrant living in Utah was arrested for raping a 7-year-old girl thousands of times.

How About the Common Good? 
While the people’s wish to limit both illegal 
and legal immigration is in the national interest, that decision is also perfectly aligned with our nation’s principles. As David Azerrad of the Heritage Foundation has written:

Our dedication to the proposition that all men are created equal should therefore not blind us to the fact that these same men, because of the diversity of political regimes and the power of deeply ingrained habits, are not all equally prepared to live as free men.

Romney also argues that the United States needs to be like Utah and export more than we import. If he’s talking about creating a self-sufficient and independent nation, thus allowing our statecraft to be guided by considerations not tied to necessity, that seems to be in line with an America First economic and foreign policy agenda.

Romney’s campaign maintains that he is a “statesman” and his candidacy will not be about protesting Trump. So it seems he will not don a pink hat and declare himself to be part of #TheResistance.

Let’s hope that Romney takes the better path and decides to choose the common good of the American people—not the neoliberal orthodoxies and “severe conservative” ideology he has voiced in the past.

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