Even for Romney, this is awfully Romney.
And oddly timed. A warning about the wages of bitter partisan rhetoric would have made more sense last week, after news broke of the kidnapping plot against Gretchen Whitmer. Why’d he save it until today?
He’s getting creamed for it by both sides on social media in the hours since it was published (for different reasons, of course) but there may be a common thread to the backlash. In an age of toxic cynicism and partisan ruthlessness, neither right nor left knows how to react to an earnest appeal for a more civil politics. It’s almost unfathomable that a politician could mean it sincerely; to the extent that he does, the impulse is to sneer at him for being so naive or “soft” and to search for an ulterior motive as to why he published it. If one can’t be found, he’s attacked anyway for some other discrediting sin, like hypocrisy. Or “both sides-ism,” which is the left’s big problem with this statement.