weather icon Clear

Jim Hartman: Mitt Romney’s ‘re-engagement’

Mitt Romney “re-engaged” politically on Feb. 16 by announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate from Utah. Romney is widely seen as a “favorite son” in Utah, despite having been born in Michigan and spending most of his adult life in Massachusetts, including serving as governor (2003-2007).

A cum laude BYU graduate, he’s credited with salvaging the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics following a scandal. He’s resided in Utah since 2013.

Romney will have no serious GOP opposition for his party’s Senate nomination. Early polling in January has Romney with an overwhelming 64 percent to 19 percent lead over Democrat Jenny Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County Council. Even 18 percent of Utah Democrats say they would vote for him.

President Donald Trump aggressively lobbied 83-year-old Senator Orrin Hatch to seek an eighth Senate term to block Romney’s candidacy. But Hatch chose to retire and Trump has now endorsed Romney. With Trump and Romney having vigorously clashed in the past, a prospective Senator Romney can be expected to be Trump’s biggest intra-party competing force.

Mitt Romney would enter the Senate with more power than any freshman senator in many years. Some Republican senators are already touting him to head the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2019.

Romney announced his candidacy on the same day the Justice Department indicted Russians for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He was right about the Russian threat in 2012, and Democrats who are now echoing him when it serves their political purposes against Trump owe the former GOP presidential nominee an apology. They derided his claim that Russia was a major geopolitical foe. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were proven wrong.

On March 9, a Wall Street Journal analysis of now-deleted social media posts revealed that Russian-backed online “trolls” flooded social media to try to block Romney from securing a top job in the incoming Trump administration.

Then a contender for secretary of state, the operatives called Romney a “two-headed snake” and a “globalist puppet,” promoted a rally outside Trump Tower and spread a petition to block Romney’s appointment to the top diplomatic job.

The revelation comes alongside a new report in the New Yorker that alleges the Kremlin pressured then President-elect Trump to consider a candidate more favorable to Russian interests. President Trump ultimately appointed former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief Rex Tillerson, who said he had a “very close relationship with” Russian President Vladimir Putin, to lead the department.

President Trump’s firing of Secretary of State Tillerson and the resignation six days earlier of Gary Cohn, the president’s top economic advisor, underscores an ongoing perception of chaos and turmoil at top levels of the Trump administration.

Republican fears of a growing anti-Trump “blue wave” in November were given credence on March 13 with the special election U.S. House victory in Pennsylvania of Democrat Conor Lamb, a district President Trump won in 2016 by a 20 percent margin.

Republicans may look to Romney’s leadership in 2019 and beyond with the many uncertainties of the Trump presidency looming ahead.

Romney has expressed consistent and fully informed views on domestic issues — taxes, trade, guns, education and immigration — as well as being a proven serious student of foreign policy, evidenced by his correct assessment of Russian intentions.

Jim Hartman resides in Genoa, Nevada and was a Mitt Romney delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2012.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Thomas Knapp on universal basic income: a totalitarian state’s dream scheme

Andrew Yang’s small but solid polling in the Democratic Party’s 2020 nomination race shows that “Universal Basic Income” has gone from a fringe idea to an idea with a foothold in the popular consciousness.

Thomas Knapp: ‘Nuance’ in politics, public policy?

In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry called his ever-shifting position on the war in Iraq “nuanced” as a way of explaining why he was for it before he was against it and why his prescriptions for its future kept changing.

Thomas Knapp: Cybersecurity, decentralization, diversity and strength

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the New York Times reports, fears “ransomware” attacks against America’s voter registration systems in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Tim Burke: Census stakes high when it comes to communities, politics

This past weekend marked the Labor Day holiday and the traditional end to summer. It also means that we are inching forward on bringing 2019 to a close and the beginning of 2020. 2020 is a census year and that will have far-reaching effects on communities and in politics.

Ray Hagar: Congressman Amodei talks Trump, Nevada and more

Nevada’s 2nd U.S. House District Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, is a Republican who says he tries to represent all of the people in his district, not just the ones in his political party.