In an era when voters are weary of negative politics and Capitol Hill gridlock, it is perhaps unwise for an incoming Republican lawmaker to attack President Trump immediately. But that is what soon-to-be-Sen. Mitt Romney did with a damning Washington Post op-ed, which vilified Mr. Trump, the same man who had endorsed Mr. Romney in 2012. Elite observers quickly read the tea leaves and declared that Mr. Romney now intends to emerge as the leading GOP foil to the president, and potentially challenge him in the 2020 presidential election.
Such speculation is just another addition to the perpetual political potboiler stewing on the D.C. stove. Things are already complicated. Mr. Romney, in fact, has already been suggested as a running mate for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on a hybrid “unity ticket” — one which reads “Biden/Romney 2020.”
All that aside, there could be some collateral damage here. The voters back home elected Mr. Romney to do their business in Washington, not revisit his presidential aspirations — at least, not just yet.
“Congress and Romney must hit the ground running,” warned a Salt Lake City Tribune editorial this week.
Mr. Romney’s surprise outcry does not help Republicans either, who must now unify against a wall of motivated Democrats. The GOP also needs to get in touch with its inner “Grand Old Party” — the one which takes care of business, stays on message and protects the interest of citizens.
“It’s clear Romney will be a destructive force in the Senate, playing to the liberal media which will praise him, and seeking to create a pathway to the presidency,” tweeted media kingpin Mark Levin on Wednesday.
“I’m disappointed in Mitt Romney. His defining act as an incoming Senator is to criticize Pres. Trump,” tweeted Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush.
The media, meanwhile, is delighted. News coverage of Mr. Romney’s op-ed was both “effusive” and “enthusiastic about Republican infighting,” wrote Kristine Marsh, an analyst for Newsbusters.org. ABC News analyst Terry Moran, she said, touted Mr. Romney “as the new leader of the anti-Trump Republicans.”
Talk radio host Ken Matthews, sitting in for Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, simply declared that Mr. Romney has now become a liberal “media puppet.”
Ironically, the incoming senator himself received ghastly press coverage when he ran as a well-mannered challenger to Barack Obama in 2012. News organizations mocked him for a stray remarks about “binders” full of women, and his purported ill-treatment of the family dog.
An Economist/YouGov poll released before Mr. Romney’s Senate run found that only 28 percent of Americans wanted him to go for the office; 41 percent had an unfavorable opinion of the candidates, 37 percent gave him the thumbs up while the rest of the respondents were undecided.
THE FINE CRAFT OF JOE BIDEN
Along with authoring a successful book, creating several nonprofit interest group and crafting a carefully calibrated series of public speaking engagement, the aforementioned Joe Biden is also carefully maintaining his image as a cheerful, capable, blue-collar kind of guy.
You know. For 2020, when he runs for president.
And there’s one more thing, this revealed in a New York Times analysis of Mr. Biden’s nascent campaign strategy. Forget “former” anything.
“When officials at the University of Utah invited Joseph R. Biden Jr. to speak there in December, Mr. Biden’s representatives listed a number of requirements for the appearance. His booking firm, Creative Artists Agency, said the school would need to fly Mr. Biden and his aides to Salt Lake City by private plane. It would have to buy 1,000 copies of his recent memoir for distribution to the audience. There would be no insertion of the word ‘former’ before ‘vice president’ in social media promotions,” The Times noted.
PINPOINTING THE POPULATION SURGE
New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that the six fastest-growing states in the nation are all in the South and West, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
Nevada and Idaho topped the list with a growth of about 2.1 percent each in the last year alone, followed by Utah (1.9 percent), Arizona (1.7 percent), Florida and Washington (1.5 percent each).
Population growth in the last year on a national basis stands at 0.6 percent, though since 2010, the U.S. population increased by 6 percent and now stands at 327.2 million.
The Census Bureau also said Texas had the largest numerical growth, adding 379,128 people, while Florida had the highest level of net domestic migration at 132,602. And of political interest: The voting age population age 18 and over also grew by 0.9 percent to 253,768,092.
Now that holiday hubbub is finally over, Regnery Publishing reveals a trio of books ready for release in the coming weeks, and of interest to conservatives pining for some thoughtful reading. They are:
“Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats,” by Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Luke Rosiak; “Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America,” by Commentary Magazine associate editor Noah Rothman; and “Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars,” by military historian Clint Johnson.
POLL DU JOUR
• 59 percent of Americans predict 2019 will be “a year full of increasing for U.S. employment”; 80 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.
• 54 percent overall predict 2019 will be a year “when the stock market rises”; 75 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.
• 49 percent overall predict “a year of economic prosperity”; 75 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats agree.
• 49 percent overall predict a year “when America will increase its power in the world”; 79 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree.
• 41 percent overall predict “a year of falling crime rates”; 48 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent overall predict “a peaceful year” with few international disputes; 41 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats agree.
• 11 percent a year of “political cooperation”; 11 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,025 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 3-12 and released Wednesday.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
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