Slate: Mitt Romney’s Mormon Mission

At Slate, I wrote about Mitt Romney’s Senate campaign (see an excerpt below. Also you can listen to piece read aloud (!) via Slate’s Daily Spoken edition… the reader’s mispronouncement of my name can be forgiven in light of the savior of the republic–Bob Mueller’s–own failure to pronounce our shared last name).

According to many, Romney’s “acceptance” of Trump’s endorsement seemed to undercut the main argument of the piece–that Romney sees his role in the Senate as a conservative–and constitutional–check on the worst of Trump’s anti-democratic abuses.

I read the tweet differently (yes, in 2018, even Romney’s tweets become exercises in close reading). I read it as consistent with the reporting, by McKay Coppins in particular, that speaks of Romney’s plans to keep his anti-Trump powder dry, at least until he gets into office.

Critics of Romney are right to be skeptical of any predictions that foretell of Romney–and Mormon pols writ large–becoming saviors of the republic, let alone champions of progressive politics. Yet, very practically speaking, if a vote comes before the Senate to convict Trump, Romney is much more likely to vote against the president than Orrin Hatch. For that reason alone, it’s worth watching Romney’s run carefully, and if you’re a fan of the Constitution, with a bit more hope.

Mitt Romney is finally going to Washington.

And Romney is going there on a mission: to bring “Utah’s values” to the nation’s capital, he explained in a video last Friday kicking off his campaign to replace the retiring Orrin Hatch in the U.S. Senate.

A Senate campaign launched from Utah is neither the starting point, nor the D.C. destination that Romney had long envisioned. A decade ago, the former governor of Massachusetts had hoped to make a trek to the White House south from Boston, where he built his sizable fortune and national profile.

But as Romney, the most famous Mormon in the world, might say, Heavenly Father had other plans. In the sleekly-produced video he released on Friday—filled with sweeping scenes of Utah’s rugged landscape—Romney defined the “Utah values” that he believes Washington lacks: balanced budgets and global entrepreneurism, personal responsibility, civility, and openness to (legal) immigrants.

Read the rest here.

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