Like Father, Like Son: Mitt Romney Shivs Donald Trump Like his Dad Knifed Barry Goldwater
Former Massachusetts governor W. Mitt Romney told “Face The Nation” host John Dickerson Wednesday that his conscience would not allow him to vote for his party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump, reports Atlantic.com.
“It’s a matter of personal conscience,” he said. “I can’t vote for either of those two people,” he said at the Aspen Ideas forum, co-sponsored by Atlantic and the Aspen Institute.
Romney also allowed that his wife Ann would be an ideal president and he could write in her name, or failing that, he would write in the name of a third-party candidate.
It is interesting, though, that Romney stressed his conscience. Not so much as his own conscience, which has tacked left and right more times than a yacht off Nantucket, but rather, the 50-years-back dig at Barry Goldwater, the senator from Arizona and the author of the 1960 book Conscience of a Conservative.
In the 1964 race for the Republican nomination, Mitt’s father George Romney was the governor of Michigan and was well-respected as the successful CEO of American Motors. That’s when Romney-père ran what would now be called the #NeverGoldwater movement.
Goldwater was not backed by what Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) called the “kingmakers” of the Republican party. But Goldwater was a popular force speaking up for the New West and what was developing as a more robust conservative movement out of the shadows of Dwight Eisenhower.
The heir to Eisenhower Republicanism was supposed to be New York’s Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, but he had the unwanted blessing of his mistress’ baby born being right before the California primary. The event cost him the primary and the nomination, spawning the joke: Only Rockefeller could make motherhood a liability.
After the Rockefeller collapse, Romney-père’s first overt move was in June 1964, when he spoke to the Republican Governors Association meeting in Cleveland. “I will do everything in my power to keep [Goldwater] from becoming the party’s presidential nominee.” Understandably, the governors asked their colleague where he had been hiding during the primaries.
The governor of Michigan was not alone in opposing Goldwater. Former Eisenhower White House aides Arthur Larson and Maxwell Rabb formed “National Citizens for Johnson and Humphrey.” Also, Charles Taft, the brother of “Mr. Republican” Robert Taft, organized “Republicans and Independents for Johnson.”
Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald claimed he had discovered an obscure new political faction: Republicans for Goldwater.
While Romney-père kept his pledge not to lift a finger in what he called the “suicidal” Goldwater campaign, he got himself reelected governor and took the pole position for the 1968 race.
Now Romney-fils is doing to Donald J. Trump what his father did to Goldwater.
However, at least the father was looking out for his own political career, while the son has no political career left, so his preening machinations are more akin to vandalism – or proxy sabotage for his 2012 running matter, House Speaker Paul ‘any willing worker‘ Ryan.
In Aspen, Romney told the interviewer that his family was begging him to run, and that he will not run.
After Goldwater’s landslide loss in 1964, who was accompanied by GOP losses in the House, Senate and in state and local races, the newly reelected governor of Michigan did invite Goldwater to work with him on lessons learned from the 1964 campaign. Rationally and unsurprisingly, Goldwater declined to serve as a fig leaf for Romney’s ambition.
Do we have to wait until after Nov. 7 to learn lessons from June 2016?