Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are actively trying to undermine the Republican nominee for president. Longtime donors to both men believe the two have decided that Donald Trump is unlikely to win. Better, they’ve decided, to hasten his loss, both in order to smooth the way for a Ryan run in 2020 and also to save the party from Trump’s moral stain. Romney and Ryan are acting in tandem: Romney, with his incessant moralizing, is Bad Cop; Ryan, with his more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger critique, is Good Cop. Ryan is after all the future presidential candidate.
Virtually every day Ryan or Romney, and sometimes both, attack the nominee: Trump is intemperate! Trump is a racist! Our feelings are hurt! Romney in particular mounts the televised pulpit to denounce Trump as the antichrist and not fit for office. The effect couldn’t have been scripted more effectively by the DNC. His diatribes dominate news coverage of the race. Romney’s decision to weigh in on Trump’s comments about the Mexican judge drew blood.
And yet, take three steps back. Was this really a meaningful controversy? Compare it to Hillary’s resume: letting our ambassador and soldiers die in Benghazi when help was nearby and then lying to the families of the dead about the motives of the attackers; the ongoing scandal of the Clinton foundation, which took millions from dictators in exchange for favors from the U.S. government; the critical intelligence likely stolen by America’s enemies from Hillary’s private email server; her role in the IRS targeting of conservative groups before the last election. The list goes on. These are real scandals, ones that hurt the country. When was the last time you heard Paul Ryan talk about them? He’s too busy going on Meet the Press to tout his moral superiority to Trump.
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, seems positively deranged with loathing for his party’s presumptive nominee. If Romney had been this tough on Obama in 2012, he’d likely be running for reelection as president right now. It’s curious, since it was only four years ago that Romney was pleading for Trump’s endorsement, at a time incidentally when Trump was in full birther mode. If anything, Trump has moderated since then, and yet Romney behaves as if Trump is the reincarnation of Pol Pot, an evil despot who threatens civilization itself.
The irony of course is that America does in fact face a real and dire political threat: Hillary Clinton. Yes it’s unsavory to question the genealogy of a sitting judge. But is it really worse than another four or eight years of Democratic rule? Worse than the permanent entrenchment of Obamacare? Than Iran with the bomb? Than the certain loss of the Supreme Court for generations?
None of this means Trump isn’t badly flawed. Of course he is, and those flaws are on full display on every television screen and in every newspaper in America every day. There’s never been a more transparent candidate. But Trump is also a remarkable person with enough good qualities to offset the bad. Since hardly anyone ever mentions them, here’s a partial list:
He is hard working.
He is smart.
He is driven.
He sets ambitious goals for himself.
He is a good athlete.
He is a good debater.
He is well read.
He is a good father.
He is patriotic and willing to sacrifice his cushy life to take enormous abuse to save the country.
He is not afraid to be unconventional.
He is an amazing persuader and salesman.
He seems to finally be a good husband and a good ex husband.
His employees don’t appear to bad mouth him.
He hires women for important roles in a male dominated industry.
He is entrepreneurial, from steaks to tv shows to casinos and real estate.
Maybe most impressive, Trump is brave. When he thinks something, he says it. Trump owns his views, even when they’re outlandish. Try holding Romney and Ryan to that standard. For weeks, they’ve been earnestly working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Yet they still don’t have the balls to publicly endorse her. That tells you everything. They are losers. Sad!