On Tuesday, the Senate took a vote on a judicial nominee named Michael J. Truncale. He garnered 49 yes votes because three Republicans couldn’t be there to vote. There was one exception though.
Mitt Romney was the lone Republican to vote against Judge Truncale. Other moderates like Collins and Murkowski voted to confirm him.
You’d think Romney perhaps had some really important judicial reason for voting no. You’d be wrong.
For Romney, it wasn’t a matter of jurisprudence or legal qualifications, but remarks made about former Democratic President Obama Truncale made in 2011, calling him an “un-American imposter.”
In a written response to questions from Senate Judiciary Committee Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Truncale said that the comments were some of many made while in previous “capacities as a candidate for the United States Congress or as a political commentator” and that such opinions would be inappropriate for a judge to express.
Yes, Mitt Romney voted against a completely qualified nominee because he once said something negative about Barack Obama. You can’t make this stuff up. Never mind that Truncale made the comments in his capacity as a political candidate at the time (which would be expected), Romney apparently finds offending the former President’s sensibilities a bridge too far.
“He made particularly disparaging comments about President Obama. And as the Republican nominee for president, I just couldn’t subscribe to that in a federal judge,” Romney told the outlet. “This was not a matter of qualifications or politics; this was something specifically to that issue as a former nominee of our party.”
What is Romney even talking about? Since when it is the former nominee’s job to protect the virtue of the former President who handily beat him? This is world class level virtue signaling and is just stupid.
To be clear, I’ve got no problem with Republicans who oppose Trump or have differing opinions as long as they have a salient reason. Pulling muscles to virtue signal for Barack Obama is not a salient reason. I may not always agree with Ben Sasse, for example, but I always respect his stances because he holds them in a logically consistent way.
What Romney is doing here is just silly. Has he ever ran to the defense of Donald Trump when Democrats savage him? Who does he think he’s earning good will with and why would he vote against a qualified candidate just because they once attacked his opponent in a Presidential race? That’s an incredibly shallow and selfish reason to try to scuttle a Republican judicial nominee.
Barack Obama, for his part, has never taken any occasion to defend Mitt Romney and instead relentlessly attacked him throughout the 2012 election. This kind of self-serving, subservience by Romney is exactly why Republicans said screw it and nominated Trump. No one is expecting all Republicans to be overly brash like Donald Trump. Quite the contrary. But most are expecting some semblance of a fight to be put up, even in a principled, non-crude way. Romney never does and it’s why he’s not President right now.
Romney clearly has aspirations to make a run at the White House again but this isn’t going to get him there. Democrats will never actually respect him and Republicans are growing tired of the posturing. He forcefully speaks out against those in own party, including the President, but when’s the last time you saw a hard-nosed statement by him going after a Democrat? I can’t think of one. The constant berating of his own side, while always backing down from his opponents has grown old. It’s not impressive and it’s not fooling anyway.