Even Mitt Romney thinks Republicans have gone too far.
The former Republican presidential nominee found himself at center stage for the first time in such a public manner since his November election loss to President Obama.
He addressed more than 200 donors at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party. The media got a peek at his prepared remarks – since gone viral – in which he urged a better way to beat the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, than bringing government to a screeching halt.
One can imagine an audience fully anticipating the usual party-line rhetoric that has promoted useless filibusters, blockage of presidential appointees to the National Labor Relations Board and what has become a chronic threat over the debt ceiling.
It was Romney’s turn to speak truth to power to a misguided Republican base. And, to Romney’s credit, he didn’t mind ruffling a few of his party’s high-powered political feathers. They should listen. Carefully.
In a warning message to congressional Republicans, Romney advised against forcing a government shutdown. That likely scenario will occur on Oct. 1 if Congress fails to approve a short-term funding bill. There is no reason to want such a doomsday scenario other than Republicans falsely believing that it will stop Obama’s signature health care law.
Shutting down the government is unlikely to stop the law, which House Republicans have voted 40 times to repeal. Becoming the party of “no” isn’t working. But it seems to have become the ill-advised strategy of high-ranking and high-profile Republicans.
Romney didn’t call out any names, but the prime suspects are well-known, including potential 2016 presidential candidates. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have urged their party not to vote for any year-end spending bill that includes money for the president’s health care law.
Romney’s opinion may not weigh heavily with a party on an out-of-control course, almost mindlessly focusing on opposing the president at every turn. Plus, as the losing candidate in last year’s presidential election, his counsel is likely to carry little weight. Still, he wants his party to “stay smart,” pull back on the throttle and back candidates who can win.
He’s right. The nation would be better with a strengthened Republican Party, instead of one weakened by myopia.