George Romney was only governor of Michigan for six years, but he was one of the most important figures in our modern political history. He was the moving force behind our current State constitution. He had the brains to recognize that a modern industrial state needed a state income tax, and the guts to fight to get one enacted.
Try to imagine a Republican doing that today. He was also a man of integrity, who refused to support his party’s presidential nominee after Barry Goldwater refused to support Civil Rights legislation. The result was that an astounding 700,000 people that year voted for a Democrat for president and for Republican Romney for governor.
I came to know Romney reasonably well after he retired from politics, and had several long interviews with him at his Bloomfield Hills home. I didn’t always agree with him, but admired him. He sometimes had a terrible temper, but he was capable of appreciating and liking people he politically disagreed with, such as labor leader Walter Reuther.
Democrats hate our President more than they love our country.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) March 31, 2018
You might be tempted to think that maybe she hadn’t had coffee yet, except that Mormons don’t drink coffee. Or perhaps that she was early for April Fool’s Day. Except that she clearly meant it, and as of last night, hadn’t taken it down.
If you wanted ten words to illustrate what is wrong with politics in this country, you couldn’t do better than this. For McDaniel isn’t just anybody; she is chair of the Republican National Committee, officially, the highest ranking member of her party in the nation. And she basically accused half the country of being unpatriotic.
Well, I could fill this essay with what Democrats said about that, but I think it makes more sense to quote her fellow Republicans. Bill Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard, is about as tough a neocon as they come. He’s a fierce Republican partisan who never met a war he didn’t like, and is proud of his role in killing President Clinton’s health care plan. But hours after McDaniel’s tweet, he sent one saying,
“This recklessly divisive and remarkably demagogic tweet might lead to the judgment that (she) loves her president more than she loves her country.”
John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, is just as conservative as Kristol. After McDaniel’s infamous tweet, Podhoretz sent one that was more like a sigh:
“There was a time when party chairs weren’t blitheringly stupid,” he wrote.
Fifty-four percent of people who voted in the last election voted against Donald Trump.
But she seems to be a true believer in the man more than her party. President Trump reportedly asked her to stop using the Romney part of her name, and she mostly has.
That should give Republicans pause. What’s more disturbing is that we once had a country where, when a young congressman called the other party the “enemy,” he was taken aside and told they weren’t the enemy, they were the “opposition.”
That doesn’t seem to be the country we have any more.
Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s Senior Political Analyst. Views expressed in his essays are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.