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Mitt Romney, King of the Human Centipede
If you wade into the sewer of social media, you’ll see a nausea-inducing wave of sentimental tongue-bathery for Mitt Romney, who has just announced that he’s going to retire from politics. He’s a good man! He’s a true conservative! He’s so wonderfully decent! Meanwhile, with remarkable timing, The Atlantic elevates the man to the greatest heights of alleged statesmanship, in a profile that casually frames Romney’s disagreements with other politicians like this:
Mitt Romney is such a good, decent, honest man that he instinctively and reliably knows in his heart how all doubts and questions about pharmaceutical products are insane conspiracy theories, and Hunter Biden’s “Ukrainian business dealings” are unquestionably beyond reproach. Pfizer would never tell a lie, you crazy Nazi!
This is why Mitt Romney is being celebrated today: his theatrical performance of responsible, mainstream behavior is impenetrably obtuse, which makes him good. If it’s the narrative, Mitt says it. His lips always match the favored noise. He’s a credulous idiot, so he’s loved. By pickpockets.
If you believe — if you’re for the slightest instant inclined to sort of maybe believe, for a tiny fraction of a second — that Mitt Romney is a “true conservative” in a capital city contaminated by mean MAGA Nazis, take a few minutes to watch Romney argue with Rand Paul over government efforts to get social media companies to remove posts and users from their websites. Akshully, Mitt explains, there’s nothing wrong with government officials telling private corporations what content they should remove, because government officials have First Amendment rights, so it’s not really censorship for government to tell corporations what speech should and shouldn’t be allowed.
Mitt Romney is statist to his bones, a casual authoritarian whose performance of pearl-clutching over “Trump’s authoritarianism” serves as a narrative cover for the endless march of actual authoritarianism. His interest in human liberty consistently hovers right around zero.
This man embodies the American problem, and he’s celebrated. Repulsive.
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