#NeverTrump Does Not Require Reflexive Opposition to GOP Policy

640px-Mitt_Romney_smiling

In the wake of Senator Orrin Hatch’s retirement announcement, all eyes are on Mitt Romney, who many expect to stroll severely into the seat. As a searing critic of President Trump since early in the 2016 primary campaign, a potential Senator Romney promises to be a much needed voice of principled (not partisan) opposition. Some aren’t so convinced.

This has been a common line against anti-Trump Republicans, and it’s a transparent red herring, for several reasons.

There are policy issues with the president, but most anti-Trump Republicans don’t oppose his policy (to the extent that is even his and not just what he’s parroting from advisers). #NeverTrump is about his character and his lack of ideology, not the bills he promises to sign.

And so far there aren’t many of them. It’s hard to identify a Republican voting record that differs substantially from a Republican president when we’ve only been through the first year of the first term and only a handful of policy bills have even been brought to a vote. #NeverTrump Republicans are still going to support repealing Obamacare, cutting taxes, increasing military spending, strengthening border security, and eliminating regulations. That doesn’t make their opposition toothless.

Other than The Wall™, Sarlin is exactly right. Trump doesn’t have policy for Republicans to diverge from. They have policy; he has Twitter.

To the extent there are policy differences between President Trump and a potential Senator Romney and other #NeverTrump Republicans, it happens to be that they are mostly non-legislative issues. Many Republicans oppose the Muslim ban, non-confirmation staff choices, and threats against the independence of the Mueller investigation. Members of Congress can’t do a thing about any of those.

Yes, Romney will continue to speak out against Trump when necessary. Yes, Romney will vote for standard GOP policy as a senator – policy that Trump himself couldn’t care less about. That’s okay. One does not undermine the other. Personally, I think he’s a much more natural executive or administrative leader, but I welcome his voice (when it speaks true) in any venue.

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