With the retirement of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, it is almost certain that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be running for and likely win Hatch’s seat in November.
Recent polling has shown that Romney has an over a 69 percent approval rating in the state, including over 81 percent among Republicans, and would defeat the presumptive Democrat in the general election by over 50 points.
I voted for and support President Trump. I believe he has done immense good on many policy fronts for conservatives and America this past year, including cutting regulations, signing tax reform legislation into law, appointing constitutionalist judges and rebuilding our military.
Nonetheless, I think a voice like Romney’s is also very valuable for both the GOP and our country as a whole. Romney’s brand of aspirational and internationalist conservatism is one that is greatly needed now, due to the major policy challenges our nation faces on the economic and foreign policy fronts, as well as pressing political problems for the GOP.
America faces an increasing international global rivalry from Russia and China, as well as regional security challenges including North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, and the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We should remember it was Romney who predicted back in 2012 that Russia was – and would be – one of our greatest geopolitical foes. While that sentiment at the time was laughed at by much of the left, it has quickly turned out to be true.
Romney’s expertise on international affairs is undoubtedly one reason why President Trump seriously considered making Romney his secretary of state.
Romney’s diverse experiences and perspectives in business also are needed at a time when our economy is experiencing extraordinary transformation. Romney has been not only a governor but also a successful businessman, whether at the Olympics or in venture capital. He was exposed to the frontier strategic questions facing many different companies across all sectors.
At a time when many disruptive companies in technology and other industries are precisely the ones driving major growth in jobs, the stock market, and the economy – as well as creating product innovation – Romney’s perspective is desperately needed in a policy world that in many cases remains bewildered by these changes.
Furthermore, Romney’s successful turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics demonstrates an efficiency-oriented financial mind very much needed when voting on our federal government’s budget and structure. We see massive federal waste and a big deficit that continues to increase our national debt.
All of these points are well-known to Republicans nationwide who supported Romney’s 2012 race as the GOP nominee. They may be even more relevant now as our nation’s economic, public finance, and foreign policy problems have only worsened.
However Romney’s reputation has taken a sour turn these past two years among many Republicans as he emerged as one of the most vocal anti-Trump voices during the 2016 presidential primaries and general election.
It is true that Romney was harsh – including perhaps sometimes unfairly – to then-candidate Trump.
However since Trump was elected, Romney has changed his tone significantly. While Romney has remained critical of President Trump frequently and very ruthlessly at times, such as after Charlottesville, nonetheless Romney has also praised President Trump on issues that Romney seems to believe are in agreement with the aspirational and internationalist conservatism Romney espouses.
I imagine that Romney would act largely the same as a senator. I am no fan of “Never Trumpers” but I believe Romney is not and would not be one.
The primary reason for my belief that Romney would be even-handed to President Trump, as he has been since the election, is that I believe Romney is truly a man of integrity.
With integrity and honor, I trust Romney would be fair, upfront, and honest in his interactions with President Trump as well as in contributing his economic and foreign policy expertise to our national policy discourse.
Furthermore, we need more people of character in politics after what’s been a very disgraceful year for public virtue, due to the revelations about sexual misconduct in Hollywood, the media, Congress and elsewhere.
I also think Romney’s presence again on the national stage would bode well for Republicans hoping to rally around an aspirational conservative who can appeal to the middle and grow our party in our increasingly polarized time. I had hoped Ed Gillespie might have been such a person in Virginia, but sadly he lost his race for governor in November.
Whatever the feelings of Republicans nationwide are, it looks for the moment that Romney will likely be the next senator from Utah if he so chooses. As a supporter of President Trump, I welcome and applaud this prospect.