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Outsiders vs. Insiders: What do Mitt Romney and Roseanne have in common? Neither acts for us

It didn’t get much media attention last week amidst the frenzy over Roseanne Barr’s racist Twitter rant (and subsequent cancellation of her revived TV sitcom), but none other than Mitt Romney caused a minor stir for revealing who he didn’t vote for in the 2016 election.

Katie Leach of the Washington Examiner reported, “The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate revealed in an interview with Utah's Deseret News that he chose to write in his wife, Ann Roseanne BarredRomney, in the 2016 presidential election...

“Romney, who is currently running for U.S. Senate in Utah, was no stranger to criticizing President Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.

“While he’s walked back some anti-Trump statements since hitting the campaign trail, Romney recently said that the president was not someone he viewed as a ‘role model’ for his grandchildren.”

In seeing this, one wonders whether anyone considers Romney a role model either. He’s either lying about his vote or suddenly transformed into a gigantic hypocrite just a month after the election when the 2012 GOP presidential nominee praised Trump to the hilt. In doing so Mitt cemented his legacy as an opportunistic rear-end kisser who would say just about anything to be loved and accepted by the politically powerful.

When the two met in New York during the transition to discuss the possibility of Romney becoming Trump’s secretary of state in December of 2016, do you think Mitt shared with the president-elect his actual candidate preference (i.e. his wife)?

Far be it from the former Massachusetts governor to ever fib but I doubt he took Trump by the arm and confessed, “Look, Donald, I didn’t vote for you. I can’t tell you a lie – I wrote in my wife Ann’s name on my ballot. She would’ve made a much better president than you – and if she’d won I wouldn’t need to be secretary of state – I could go anywhere I wanted with a huge entourage and pretend to be important, just like Michelle Obama did!”

Bit by bit Romney is fortifying his lofty place in historical lore as one of the more curious political figures of our time. Everyone’s aware he made a sizable fortune as a venture capitalist and then followed his father into politics to end up serving only four years in an elected capacity (he’s never run for reelection either). Other than his one term as Massachusetts governor (from 2003 to 2007) Mitt has expended much more time, fortune and energy pursuing office than actually representing people.

For the better part of eleven years now Romney’s been chasing the national political spotlight, mostly by running for president (he also tried for the U.S. senate in 1994 as a very wishy-washy pro-abortion “moderate” Republican). Along the way he’s flip-flopped on a number of positions to the point where hardly anyone can say for sure what he truly believes.

All we know is Mitt does some weird stuff. Writing in your wife for president? I think both my parents would make great leaders of the country but that doesn’t mean I’d vote for them when matters of such importance are on the line. For better or worse Donald Trump was the clear option in 2016 – Romney didn’t show a whole lot of backbone by sidestepping the issue.

Needless to say Trump has been refreshingly conservative and effective in the White House. Where’s the praise now Mitt?

Chances are Romney won’t suffer for his lack of candor in his Utah senate race, however (the only GOP primary poll available shows him with a 40+ point lead). The state’s largely Mormon population has never been wild about Trump, so Mitt’s disparaging comments about the president probably won’t have much impact on his chances to succeed Orrin Hatch in Washington.

But conservatives will be keeping an eye on Romney for sure.

Speaking of controversial comments, it’s old news by now but last week’s headlines were dominated by eccentric-to-the-core comedian Roseanne Barr. There’s no need to rehash but Barr tweeted out several seemingly unsolicited and unmistakably racist observations about Obama chief of staff Valerie Jarrett, whipping up a virtual hailstorm of media backlash that got Barr and her entire cast and production crew fired within the span of hours.

Reactions varied. Everyone agreed Barr deserved condemnation for expressing such ill-mannered views publicly, but did she really deserve losing her job over an (albeit stupid) opinion? Shouldn’t others have suffered the same fate for their boorish statements as well?

Longtime Republican Jen Kerns wrote at The Hill, “Just as [ABC] missed the punchline when it signed the ‘Roseanne’ revival, so, too, will the network miss the point entirely in its cancellation of the popular show. It is exuding the textbook elitist ‘Free speech for me, but not for thee’ mentality of which Americans have grown so tired.

“It was precisely this behavior by the media conglomerates that drove voters into the arms of the unvarnished then-candidate Trump. More than a year after his surprising election, the media’s hypocritical behavior continues to add more fuel to the fire for Americans who are fed up with the elites who allow the left to get away with slanderous behavior while feigning outrage if the same comes out of a conservative’s mouth.”

This is no fabrication. In her article Kerns provides a sampling of the obnoxious things liberals have said about conservatives and Republicans over the years that not only did not earn the perpetrators a pink slip, the speakers were then all-but lionized in liberal media circles for their bravery in showing up the non-politically correct traditionalist culture crowd.

To illustrate, Kerns additionally reported, “The left called Michele Bachmann ‘bats--t crazy,’ ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ called Sarah Palin ‘dumb,’ and Parenting magazine reported that Wonkette made fun of Palin’s Down Syndrome son. The left (including Kimmel) mocked first lady Melania Trump’s accent and lambasted her #BeBest campaign. They have previously bullied Barron Trump, a child.”

That’s not even mentioning the heinous slander concerning the Trump children and their families. Just the other day, for example, comedian Samantha Bee said Trump daughter Ivanka is a “feckless c**t.” Bee made the comments during her “Full Frontal” show which airs on TBS. Bee did apologize afterward but was she really sorry? Needless to say, Bee wasn’t immediately terminated by Time Warner (which owns TBS and CNN).

It begs the question: Is this all just a matter of degree? Is Roseanne’s racist comment x-times worse than referring to the First Daughter in such a disgusting sexual manner? Bee was speaking about President Trump’s immigration policies and suddenly turned on Ivanka because she had posted a picture of herself on social media with her young daughter. Is this any justification for what Bee said, apology notwithstanding?

The media jumps all over Trump – or any conservative – for every utterance even remotely interpreted as racist, sexist, homophobic, whatever. Remember last summer when the president took issue with “both sides” instead of singling out the vile white supremacists of Charlottesville for special condemnation (in the melee that led to the death of a young woman)?

Hair trigger sensitivity is what the left does best. If Roseanne (probably deservedly) got the axe for claiming Jarrett was the product of “apes” why isn’t Bee receiving similar treatment for using foul and offensive lingo about Ivanka Trump? Why are Republicans and conservatives always the targets of putrid verbal hogwash but liberals and Democrats get a pass?

And where does free speech factor in this continuum? For a country that supposedly honors an individual’s right to speak his or her mind above all else, how does it look to fire or censure someone for merely expressing an opinion? This is coming dangerously close to condemning (and virtually criminalizing) people for their thoughts alone. It’s bad enough that we all have to closely mind what we say in just about every public forum – church, the workplace, school, social media – are we nearing the time as a society when folks just won’t say anything for fear of losing their livelihoods… and friends?

Or is the racial divide in this country permanent? Patrick J. Buchanan wrote at The American Conservative, “For many, race has become a constant preoccupation. And in each of these incidents and disputes, the country divides along the familiar fault lines, and the accusations and arguments go on and on until a new incident engenders a new argument.

“The America of the 1960s, with its civil rights clashes and ‘long hot summers,’ was a far more segregated society than today. Yet the toxic charge of ‘racist’ is far more common now.

“And how much do these conversations correspond to the real crisis of black America? Here is a sentence culled from another [Washington] Post story this week: ‘Three fatal shootings ...over the Memorial Day weekend brought the (Ward 8 total) to 30 homicides so far this year.’ Are white cops really the problem in Ward 8, Anacostia, when 30 people in that black community have been shot or stabbed to death in the first five months of 2018?”

It's a legitimate question, one the left can’t answer and prefers to ignore because dead black kids in black neighborhoods don’t translate to media outrage and hissy fits about “intolerance” and “ignorance” of the “deplorables”. Whereas Roseanne becomes the bogeyman (woman?) of the hour for a couple sentences in a social media post, the real violence gets nary a mention on the evening news.

Perhaps our culture pays too much attention to the thoughts and views of celebrities. When it boils down to it, who really cares what Roseanne thinks about Obama or Valerie Jarrett? If Roseanne’s show offered her saying such things I can see where people would legitimately take issue – officially sanctioned racist entertainment isn’t condoned these days.

But in essence dolts like Roseanne only grant the all-race-all-the-time leftists a foothold on the American conscience. The Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons wouldn’t have a stump to stand on if Roseanne and her loudmouth celebrity ilk wouldn’t provide it for them. We can paint Valerie Jarett with any number of labels that don’t have anything to do with race, religion, national origin or place of birth. And we don’t need to refer to her using terminology like Samantha Bee either.

Terms like “liar,” “corrupt,” “self-interested,” “tool of the left” and “Obama stooge” would do nicely to depict what Jarrett is all about.

Thankfully not everyone thought Roseanne’s unhinging was a culture-reflecting deal for conservatives and Republicans. Pete Kasperowicz reported in the Washington Examiner, “Internet stars Diamond and Silk on Thursday rejected claims from the Left that Roseanne Barr's racist tweet represented the views of many of President Trump's supporters.

“’That's not the representation of the Trump base,’ Lynnette 'Diamond' Hardaway said on Fox News. ‘We're loving, caring people. We're not racists. We love God, we love this country, so how dare they say that.’

“’One tweet don't make you a racist,’ added Rochelle 'Silk' Richardson.”

Tell that to the ABC executives who fired Roseanne. So much for kneejerk reactions.

Heck, if former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice’s son can be an outspoken Trump supporter at Stanford, maybe there’s hope for the world after all. The sun will rise tomorrow. Conservatives will still look for watchable TV shows and truth-telling politicians – and won’t hold our breath.

In the big scheme of things Roseanne’s and Mitt Romney’s opinions of American culture and politics don’t really mean much. The world will little note nor long remember what they said – but it won’t forget what they’ve done. The culture war will continue – will it ever be won?

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