Utahns and anyone else who is conservatives should not be surprised that Sen. Mitt Romney (R. Utah) didn’t vote along party lines in the $1.7 trillion spending bill/omnibus. He did vote along party lines but not with the party to which he was affiliated. Romney explained his reasoning on Twitter:
Let me tell you if you can’t handle a political time-share pitch.
It would be cheaper to pass it this year than the next.
Republicans don’t have the organizational skills to put together a speaker or budget.
To pass a budget they need Senate Democrats.
Although $1.7 trillion may sound like a lot, it is only 1/3 of total government spending. Social security, Medicare entitlements, and Medicaid are the real culprits in debt.
The Electoral Count Act will end attempts to reverse elections.
There are some positive aspects to the bill.
Utah makes some money from it.
According to the Law of Averages, there are many good things in bills that make it easier to pass. There are also a lot of bad things. This is, of course the price Americans have to pay in order to pass a bill of 4,000+ pages that contains items Congress should have been working on for a whole year.
Did you see the jab at Republicans? Republicans cannot pick a speaker so they can’t make a budget. Sir, it’s not like all Republicans want to rush a bill through to get political favors or to gain points on Sunday morning talk shows. It is not meant to be difficult for a republic to work. Mitt, for crying out loud, why don’t we just caucus already with the Democrats?
Romney stated that he would run again if he decided to do so. However, he hasn’t yet decided if he will let his hair down to enter the contest. It’s not as unlikely as you might think.
It’s true, despite what uninformed pundits or news outlets might tell you, Romney isn’t popular with Republicans in Utah. “Romney,” a synonym for “flip” or “fetch”, is fast on its way to becoming the standard Mormon swear word. His chances of making it through a convention are slim. He didn’t bother to go to the GOP state convention. However, Utah’s convention/caucus system is endangered.
In the beginning, candidates had to stand for their seats. This meant that candidates had to meet with elected delegates in groups or one-on-one to present a pitch and win the nod. The caucus/convention system is long under attack. Utah allows people to collect the required number of signatures in order to be on the ballot. Mike Lee won the convention but his left-leaning opponent had enough signatures for him to be in the primary. Her supporters did everything they could to subvert the convention process and get her the nomination.
Keep in mind, however, that Mike Lee won his re-election bid. Evan McMullin, aided by Democrat money as well as a sympathetic press, gave him a run for the money. Utah is no longer the conservative bastion it once was, especially in the area of media. Take this headline from Deseret News: Utahns call for Sen. Romney’s protection of Dreamers. If you click the link, you will see that there were about 19 protesters at the event. The headline would suggest that thousands of Utahns support DACA. Most people don’t bother to look below the headline.
It is logical that Romney votes with the donkeys and leans to the right. He bets on Democrats staying in power for the near future. He also believes that Utah will continue to drift blue, and that he might be able ride the fence to victory. He just might.