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The Dreadful Return of Romney

Daniel DePetris comments on the impending return of Mitt Romney to electoral politics:

Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and wealthy businessman, is reportedly preparing to announce his formal campaign to be the next US Senator from Utah. And with no serious Republican in the heavily-Mormon state willing to throw a hat in the ring to challenge Romney, it is a virtual assurance that he will win the election.

DePetris is right that the former Republican presidential nominee is a shoo-in for winning the election once he announces, but it’s less clear what the point of having Romney in the Senate is. The Senate has no shortage of ignorant foreign policy hawks, so he adds nothing there. The Republican majorities in both houses already more or less fully embrace his plutocratic policy preferences, and for the most part Trump is governing according to the platform Romney campaigned on in 2012. If his purpose is to become a tedious scold a la Joe Lieberman, I guess he can do that, but other than that I don’t see what Romney hopes to accomplish.

Utah would be be better represented by a local politician, and it would also be better-served by someone who hasn’t made a political career out of being an opportunistic fraud. It is typical of Romney’s self-serving style that he is crossing the country to fill an open seat for the sake of a comeback almost no one wants to see. Not everyone in Utah is thrilled by his interloping:

Just as the news broke indicating Romney will announce his candidacy for Orrin Hatch’s, R-Utah, Senate seat on Thursday, Utah’s Republican Party chairman slammed the former presidential candidate. “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here,” Rob Anderson said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, further accusing Romney of “using name recognition to win a seat.”

“I have two questions for Mitt,” Anderson continued. “First of all, why? And how do you expect to represent Utah when you don’t live here?”

Romney will probably win on name recognition and residual Republican support anyway, but he doesn’t have good answers to those questions.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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