Ross: Mitt Romney leaving politics unveils an intimidating truth

Sep 14, 2023, 8:31 AM | Updated: 8:53 am

FILE - Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, heads to a vot...

FILE - Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, heads to a vote before a national security briefing on Ukraine, at the Capitol in Washington, March 16, 2022. Romney will not run for reelection in 2024. The former presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor announced his intentions in a video statement Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Utah Senator Mitt Romney announced Wednesday that he will not run for reelection in 2024.

Kind of a surprise since he’s only 76. Which, as Senators go, is barely middle age.

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Not only does Romney have all his hair, but he can talk without freezing up or trailing off and is in excellent physical condition.

In his statement, he said it’s time for the Baby Boomers to step aside, which is true, but it turns out there’s also something else.

In a profile in The Atlantic, it’s clear that one of the reasons he decided to leave is the spreading atmosphere of intimidation.

Romney has been a target of the MAGA wing of his party ever since he voted to convict Trump in the first impeachment, that’s when he began to sense how deep the dysfunction went.

He found that some of his Republican colleagues were, like him, disgusted by Trump’s behavior but dared not say so, not because of loyalty but because they feared for their personal safety and the safety of their families.

Integrity is replaced by intimidation.

And intimidation is certainly having a moment, isn’t it? Threats to judges, prosecutors, election workers, plus all the graffiti, open carry, and aggressive driving, we’re surrounded by the same message. Don’t mess with me. Don’t get me angry, you never know what I might do.

Romney is a bipartisan negotiator in a place that no longer has any use for such people. Because voters don’t elect politicians to study issues and negotiate solutions, they want their politicians to come pre-programmed to take symbolic votes intended to score points against the other side.

All while the country just drifts along with no budget process, no attempt to fix immigration, no plan to make childcare more available. We don’t even have a spare ferryboat!

Instead, it’s endless arguments about abortion and gender and guns and race and who should be blamed for all those homeless people.

There’s no room for a Senator like Romney because it’s not about compromise, it’s just football. And in football, you don’t negotiate over the end zone, you block and tackle and fake and intimidate. And if you’re not prepared to take a concussion, or tear your Achilles, or to be hit so hard your heart stops, it’s time to get out of the game.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Mitt Romney leaving politics unveils an intimidating truth