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Cometh the hour

February 6, 2020

In early November 2018 my friend Catherine was here for a visit. We’re both political junkies, so it was hardly surprising that, on the evening of November 6, we parked ourselves on the sofa after dinner and switched on the television to watch the results of the US midterms.

There was some wonderful news. The Democrats had swept to victory in the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi would once again be the Speaker of the House (although I didn’t realise that night quite how much I would come to adore her). The Republican stronghold had cracked. Hurrah! The odds of the Dems also taking over the Senate weren’t impossible, but they weren’t good.

At one point in the evening we both started to clap gleefully. Then we stopped clapping, looked at one another and shook our heads. Then one of us said what the other was thinking: “You know times are bad when you get this excited that Mitt Romney has just been elected as a senator in Utah.”

As lily white as Romney unquestionably is, he’s not completely lily white when it comes to Trump. Yes, he did issue dire warnings during the Republican primaries about the terrible consequences of choosing Trump as a candidate. But then he allowed himself to be publicly wined and dined by the President-Elect, who dangled the role of secretary of state in front of him, before laughing and yanking it away. Not Mitt’s finest moment. But give him his due. He took a leaf out of Elizabeth Warren’s book. When Obama chickened out of appointing her the head of the consumer protection agency she’d just set up, Warren didn’t roll over and play dead. She said, “Screw you. I’m running for the senate in Massachusetts.” (A state where Romney, as governor, had introduced a very popular government option for health insurance, which, as the 2012 Republican candidate, he denounced as a terrible mistake.)

So Romney ran for the senate in Utah and won. Whatever one may have thought of him in the past, his election meant that there was once again one Republican senator (following the death of John McCain) who would not dance mindlessly to Trump’s tune.

Yesterday Romney made history. He became the first US senator to vote for the removal from office of his own party’s president.

Today every other Republican senator and congressman hates his guts. Not because he listened to the evidence presented at the impeachment trial and found Trump guilty, but because his doing so revealed them to be the spineless, quivering supplicants they are. For everyone in the United States and around the world to see.

There’s an old saying: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. In the past this has occasionally been true (FDR, Churchill during world war two, Martin Luther King Junior spring to mind), but these days the man tends not to show up.

How much of Romney’s guilty verdict was based, as he claimed, on the oath he took before God and how much was revenge doesn’t matter. Nor does the fact that his verdict made no difference to the preordained outcome of the sham trial.

There was no shilly shallying “yeah, he did it, but…”.  (Yes, Susan Collins, I’m looking at you. I hope Stephen King runs against you as the Democrat in Maine, you useless turd.) Romney stood up and (more or less) said the son of a bitch is guilty and should go right to fucking jail.

I knew there was a reason I clapped when I heard he’d been elected in Utah.

From → Columns

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