Club for Growth now running attack ads against ... Mitt Romney?

Club for Growth now running attack ads against ... Mitt Romney?

He’s a Republican, he’s not up for reelection for five more years, and he holds one of the safest Senate seats in the country.

Not an obvious target for an attack by a right-wing group devoted to fiscal responsibility and shrinking government. But there’s a method to this madness. Even two methods, perhaps.

Before we get to that, though, take a moment to mourn the fact that yet another entity organized to advance traditional conservative goals now treats stooge-ing for Trump as part of its core mission. First it was the Freedom Caucus, now it’s the CFG.

Note that the Club for Growth was anti-Trump in 2016 before shifting to its new Trump bootlicker role in order to stay relevant, another not unfamiliar phenomenon on the American right. It’s hard to blame them on the merits: What’s not to like about massive deficits and protectionism if you’re a staunchly fiscally conservative group?

Snark aside, why spend money to attack Romney? What will they gain, apart from a flattering tweet by the president perhaps, by doing that? Liz Mair has a theory. This actually *is* about fiscal issues. It’s just that the Club recognizes that Utahns aren’t going to hound Romney about something as nerdy as tax rates so they’re offering a more viscerally tribal message instead.

Romney will know the real reason why they’re mad at him even if the average Utah voter won’t. There’s another theory, though: By punishing Romney, the Club is sending a message to other Senate Republicans not to follow his lead on impeachment. They don’t want to start running ads against Susan Collins or Cory Gardner or other Republicans who really are at risk of losing reelection next year, particularly before they’ve shown their cards on impeaching Trump. Solution: Hit Romney instead and let Collins and Gardner draw the natural conclusion about what might happen to them if they vote to remove the president. As if any Republican in the Senate needs A/V evidence of what awaits them from right-wing voters if they betray the tribe and oust Trump.

Per Gallup, there’s reason to believe this might put some pressure on Romney. Support for impeachment and removal among Republicans is actually down a point since June, from seven percent to just six, despite all of the Ukraine news over the past month. (Some other polls show support for impeachment rising among Republicans, it should be noted.) That’s the good news for POTUS. The bad news is that impeachment and removal is now favored by a majority of the population, including 55 percent of independents:

The highest number Gallup ever saw in favor of impeaching and removing Bill Clinton was 35 percent. Support for impeaching and removing Richard Nixon did top the 52 percent mark that Trump is at — but not until the very end of the Watergate crisis, when it reached 58 percent in August 1974. As recently as one month before Nixon’s resignation, it stood at just 46 percent. Trump is in very select company to have a majority of the population favoring his removal as president.

And Gallup’s not the only pollster this week showing that. Scott Rasmussen got a split of 50/38 when he polled the question a few days ago. Romney’s not going to sweat this ad, even in a red state like Utah.

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