Not what’s said but when and how

January 9, 2019

We’re not quite sure why U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney felt compelled to make a splash as he re-entered the public spotlight as a new representative from Utah in Washington, D.C.

Or, more specifically, this particular kind of splash.

The former Republican presidential candidate wrote a guest column for the Washington Post that pointedly criticized his fellow Republican — President Donald Trump — for not rising to the character level a good president needs. “With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring,” Sen. Romney wrote.

He went on to write, “A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect” — implying, of course, that those are qualities that President Trump was lacking.

There are many American political conservatives — including those in Northeast and North Central Nebraska — who find themselves in agreement with much of what Mr. Romney wrote. No doubt, there are personality quirks, behaviors and tactics employed by the president that we don’t agree with.

But that’s beside the point, from our perspective.

Does it really do political conservatism in the United States any favors for one person within the ranks to attack another, especially when we’re two years away from another election? Doesn’t such criticism — when it’s presented in such a public way — only serve to strengthen the efforts of political liberals and so-called progressives as they continue to beat the drum against President Trump?

Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate — and helpful — to conservatism for Sen. Romney to seek out the president in a private conversation so that he could share some of his concerns? Perhaps a face-to-face conversation would have resulted in a more thoughtful response by the president instead of another tweet because he felt publicly blind-sided by Sen. Romney’s words.

There are times when we believe Republicans and conservatives are their own worst enemies. They shoot themselves in the proverbial foot. This qualifies as yet another example of that.

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