Mitt Romney Denounces Donald Trump, But It’s Likely To Amount To Much Ado About Nothing
Mitt Romney came out with a blistering speech denouncing Donald Trump, but it's unlikely to have much of an impact on the race.
Joining the chorus of Republican and conservative insiders who have seemingly suddenly woken up and realized that Donald Trump is on track to become the Republican nominee for President, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took to a stage in Utah today to denounce Donald Trump and urge Republican voters to back candidates who could stop him from becoming the nominee, although he stopped show of actually endorsing anyone:
SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, delivered a sweeping point-by-point indictment of Donald Trump on Thursday and implored Republicans to reject the businessman’s candidacy in an election “that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country.”
“Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney told nearly 700 people at the University of Utah. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”
Speaking in a stately college auditorium, there was little precedent for Romney’s remarks: Never before in modern political history has the immediate past nominee of a party delivered an entire speech condemning the current front-runner. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) – the party’s 2008 nominee – later said he shared Romney’s concerns.
Most boldly, Romney called for a scenario that likely would lead to a convention floor flight, recommending that voters cast ballots for Sen. Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida, for Gov. John Kasich in Ohio, and everywhere else, for the candidate best positioned to deny Trump a win.
From issues domestic and foreign to those of moral character and temperament, Romney called Trump ill-qualified to serve as president. His remarks to the university’s Hinckley Institute of Politics called out Trump for his many failed businesses, including airlines, vodka and a mortgage company. He raised concerns about Trump’s sexual exploits, his three marriages and his taunts toward the disabled, Mexican immigrants and female journalists and politicians.
“But you say, ‘Wait, wait, wait, isn’t he a huge business success? Doesn’t he know what he’s talking about?’ ” Romney said. “No, he isn’t. And no, he doesn’t.”
The 18-minute address was unlike anything other GOP presidential candidates have delivered. It served as a public airing of concerns Romney has shared in brief spurts on social media or privately to friends and supporters. The speech came at a critical juncture for the Republican Party, with Trump’s seemingly unstoppable march to the nomination setting off panic this week among party leaders fearful that the New Yorker’s ascendance could cost them the general election, spoil the chances for down-ballot candidates and irreparably tarnish the party’s brand.
Romney briefly considered running again before announcing early last year that he would take a pass. His speech in Utah, where he has a home, neither launched a fresh campaign nor served as an endorsement of any candidate.
“Instead, I’d like to offer my perspective on the nominating process in my party,” he said.
Dozens of national media outlets descended on the college campus to hear from the former presidential contender. The speech garnered national television coverage, with cable news channels devoting hours to the governor’s remarks. Even local television stations preempted regular programming to broadcast the words of a famous resident who led the city’s 2002 Olympic organization.
“In 1964, days before the presidential election, Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America that it was a ‘Time for Choosing,’ ” Romney said. “He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less-free path.
“I’m no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment, but I believe with my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing,” he said.
He faulted Trump for offering “very few specific economic plans” and said that “what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.”
On national security, Romney said that Trump’s “bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies.”
“The only serious policy proposals that deal with a broad range of national challenges that we confront today come from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich,” Romney said, referencing the other remaining GOP candidates.
“I know that some people want this race to be over,” he added. “They look at history and say a trend like Mr. Trump’s isn’t going to be stopped. Perhaps. But the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign.”
Romney urged Cruz, Kasich and Rubio to “find some common ground” and help the party “nominate a person who could win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism.”
Throughout the speech Romney repeatedly dismissed Trump’s personal behavior: “Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying. The greed. The showing off. The misogyny. The absurd third-grade theatrics.”
“Watch, by the way, how he responds to my speech today,” he added. “Will he talk about our policy differences? Or will he attack me with every imaginable low-blow insult?”
On Thursday Trump recalled that Romney “begged me, and I mean begged me, for my endorsement four years ago.” He added later in an MSNBC interview that Romney “failed in his campaign, it was a horribly run campaign. Republicans didn’t even go out to vote.”
Later, on Twitter, Trump asked: “Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago?”
Sure enough, Romney never mentioned in his speech that he had eagerly sought and received Trump’s endorsement in 2012. Ultimately, Romney traveled to Trump’s lavish Las Vegas hotel to hold a news conference and accept his support.
“Being in Donald Trump’s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight,” Romney said the day of the endorsement.
Aides said at the time that Romney embraced Trump, however reluctantly, to keep him in the fold and from bolting the party. Trump emerged as a vocal Romney surrogate, recording more than 30 “robocalls” and doing more than 50 radio interviews in states that held early primaries. Trump and his wife, Melania, also hosted a lavish 63rd birthday party for Ann Romney that doubled as a campaign fundraiser. More than 400 supporters paid at least $1,000 to attend the event at Trump Tower in New York.
But on Thursday, Romney left no doubt about Trump: “He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities mean that America would ceases to be a shining city on a hill.”
You can read the transcript of Romney’s speech, or watch the video:
As the article notes, the speech is certainly unprecedented in that I cannot remember the last time that a potential nominee for any political party’s nomination for President was so openly attacked by a previous nominee who is not himself a candidate for office at the time. Romney left little doubt about how he felt about Trump, his rhetoric, his behavior, and his policy positions and the words he used to denounce him were stronger, and delivered more forcefully, than anything we’ve heard from any of the men who are actually running for President this year at any point during the campaign. Moreover, the vehemence with which Romney attacked Trump was arguably stronger than anything we heard from him during the course of either the 2008 or 2012 campaign, whether it was directed at his primary opponents in those races or against President Obama four years ago. Perhaps the freedom of not being a candidate for office makes Romney feel that he has the liberty to be less concerned about being confrontational and less concerned about putting his message across in a way that may offend some people, or perhaps he does really feel as passionate about the Trump candidacy as he sounded in the speech. Whatever the reason, part of the takeaway from the speech has to be that one wonders how the 2012 campaign might have been different if the Mitt Romney we saw today had shown up.
Leaving all that aside though, I have to agree with Paul Waldman that it seems unlikely that Romney’s speech will amount to much of anything:
[T]here may be some Republican voters who don’t support Trump at the moment for whom Romney’s speech would be persuasive. But what the party needs right now isn’t to keep more voters from rallying to Trump’s side, it’s to persuade Trump’s current voters to abandon him. If they can’t do that, judging by polls showing Trump ahead in multiple states that will be voting in the next few weeks, Trump will wind up as the nominee.
And Romney didn’t tell Trump’s voters anything they didn’t already know. They know he’s bombastic, they know he insults people, they know he advocates war crimes, they know he makes scapegoats out of foreigners and immigrants. And guess what: not only do they not care, those things are exactly why they like him. Or at worst, they’re willing to look beyond what may make them a little uncomfortable, because they think Trump is a winner and voting for him is a way to give the finger to the Republican establishment.
So while Mitt Romney’s heart may have been in the right place, he probably just did Donald Trump a favor, by reminding his supporters of why they should stick with him.
Waldman is largely spot on here. Stopping Trump at this point, assuming that it’s even possible, would need to involve more than trying to unite a rag tag group of candidate supporters to vote strategically in primary states in such a way that Trump falls short of the majority of delegates he would need to win the nomination on the first ballot. This is especially true given the fact that there’s already plenty of evidence that at least some portion of the voters currently supporting candidates like Ben Carson, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz would be okay with backing Trump if their candidate were not in the race. What would be required is an effort that involves dissuading Trump’s supporter from backing him, and that just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Over the past seven months, Trump’s core group of supporters have stayed with him through a series of controversies such as his comments about Mexicans, John McCain, Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, a disabled New York Times reporter, and Muslims. Not only has Trump not seen his support fall appreciably through all of this, but in nearly every case his position in the polls has actually increased in the wake of each attack. Additionally, the fact that he was won ten of the first fifteen contests of the 2016 cycle and placed first or second in all but one of them suggests that stopping Trump is not going to be nearly as easy as some Republicans and conservatives seem to think it is going to be.
The other fact that would seem to blunt the force of Romney’s words is that they’re coming from, well, Mitt Romney. While Romney spent much of the 2008 campaign as the hero of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, by 2012 he was seen as the candidate of the “establishment” wing of the party and a nominee that conservatives accepted reluctantly after it was clear that none of the other options could possibly win enough delegates to get the nomination. Since losing the election to President Obama, Romney was largely forgotten and dismissed in Republican and conservative circles, with most conservatives citing him a yet another example of a “moderate” nominee who failed to win the General Election who wasn’t conservative enough. When suggestions arose that he might enter the 2016 race for the Republican nomination, the right largely dismissed him as a candidate faster than they dismissed Jeb Bush. Given all of that, I have to wonder what impact a speech from Mitt Romney is really going to have, especially one in which he didn’t even bother to put whatever political weight he still has inside the GOP behind a specific candidate.
Romney’s speech comes at the same time that Republican and conservative insiders are renewing their effort to try to stop Trump from winning the nomination notwithstanding the setback it suffered on Super Tuesday. Most recently, a group of Republican foreign policy gurus released a letter attacking Trump and saying that he would endanger American national security if elected President, another group of conservatives warned that Trump would irreparably damage the Republican Party’s efforts to reach out to minority groups, and the number of Republican officials and office holders who say they will never vote for Donald Trump even if he is the Republican nominee. And, of course, they are crafting the very contested convention scenario that seems to be the only way to stop Trump at this point, and one that is highly unlikely to succeed.
Romney’s speech might have had a more powerful impact had he made it four or six months ago, or if he made it as part of the endorsement of a specific candidate. As it stands, though, it’s likely to prove to have been too little, too late, just like the rest of the efforts of a clearly panicked Republican establishment.
Update In a tweet sent after his speech, Romney addressed the endorsement from Trump that the photo at the top of this page shows Romney accepting on February 2, 2012:
If Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 3, 2016
My response is all I have to say about that:
Four years ago, he was saying the President was born in Kenya. You accepted his endorsement anyway. https://t.co/AUwrBPS8ls
— Doug Mataconis (@dmataconis) March 3, 2016
Photo: Mitt and Ann Romney in Las Vegas after Donald Trump endorsed Romney for President, February 2, 2012
Of course, to be against Trump requires someone to be for. And I think the public have found both Cruz and Rubio to be wanting. There is the real problem. The “strong bench” that was bragged about a year ago has been rejected. Trump is winning, yes, but the others are losing.
And Trump responds in true Trump fashion:
“”I don’t know what happened to him,” Trump said during a rally in Portland, Maine. “You can see how loyal he is. He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would have dropped to his knees.””
Romney and the Republican elite are really talking past Trump’s supporters. Romney et al. are talking as if there was a shared understanding among Republicans about what it means to be a Republican and what the party’s goals are. There is not now and there was not the last time Romney ran or the time before that. The difference in the past was that the elite provided the only candidates, like Romney or McCain, and no one dared articulate the darker motivations of a substantial part of “the base.” That part of the base never cared about the higher goals of the party and don’t now. While Romney tries to explain to these voters that nominating Trump is not being a good Republican, these voters respond, “says you.” Its like a nun telling a group of thugs that they should be better gentlemen. It’s speaks well of Romney that he is willing to put himself out there for the good of the party, but it accomplishes nothing.
(Incidentally, I don’t think this elite/base disconnect is unique to Republicans.)
Was there anyone asking for Romney to make this kind of speech? Meaning, does he really carry some kind of cache among republicans?
And I must say this is a good snarking of Romney’s speech, including:
“[Trump’s] tax plan, in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and to honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt.
I agree — America should not vote for anyone with a tax plan like Donald Trump’s. So, Clinton or Sanders then.”
Mitt Romney is actually key to understanding how we got to where we are.
In 2000, John McCain should have been a completely acceptable GOP Presidential candidate but the party establishment and the conservative movement was in the tank for George W. Bush. They couldn’t make much of a case for Bush over McCain so they slimed McCain worse than any Republican primary fight in my lifetime until now.
In 2008, McCain was moving to lock up the nomination and the people who trashed him in 2008 couldn’t admit they lied about him for craven, petty, partisan reasons, so they needed to keep pretending he was unacceptable. That led them to elevate Romney as the supposedly “conservative” alternative.
That, and only that, is what opened the door for Romney to run and win the nomination in 2012, even though he’s a horrible candidate and not even a conservative in the movement sense of the word. And I genuinely believe that brow-beating the GOP voting base into supporting a socially-liberal, technically non-Christian plutocrat who truly sucked as a candidate was central to making Republican voters open to someone like Trump.
Or to put it another way, it’s entirely possible that if Republicans had been willing to rally behind McCain, the last 16 years of our politics would have been free of Trump, Romney, Obama and George W. Bush. That’s a pretty good deal, no matter how you look at it.
“Forget voting for your candidate to win. Just make sure that Trump doesn’t get a majority so that we can have a brokered convention. That I absolutely, solemnly pinky swear won’t pick me – Mitt Romney – as the nominee. No, I don’t have my fingers crossed behind my back. Why do you ask?”
Much of what Romney said is correct…but I think this is nothing but the last gasp before craven Republicans start lining up behind Trump and kissing his rear.
This is no epiphany on my part…Republicans are only interested in power and if they think Trump can give them that…then they are in his court.
This was a joke, right? There is no way the Republican establishment could be tone deaf enough to send Mitt Romney out for this job. What’s next, ads directed to Trump supporters saying “You’re right we are ignoring you?” Who are they sending out for the next speech, Hillary Clinton? She may be the one person less respected by the Republican base than Mitt Romney is.
I guess David Brooks was too busy to go out and give a “let your superiors choose a candidate for you” speech…
His argument started with Clinton being worse than Trump. So, obviously, it was doomed to failure.
Mitt Romney lecturing the GOP on “authenticity”?
What’s next? Hillary teaching ethics?
I feel Mitt and the establishment had Rubio’s back when they sent him to attack Trump, but then he failed badly, and now Romney had to come to the front for a fresh round of attacks on Trump.
I’ve never seen so many people afraid of a single candidate like this before. At least it helps people say in England to understand that Trump is a lone-wolf and is not fully backed by the establishment like they may have thought.
Trump is on his own. While many would be willing to help him, it persists that many doubt that Trump could take senior advice or that any advice would be enough to help him to carry it on, on a daily basis. Trump is like Bush on steroids.
Notice that the Trump fans are like the famous badger and “don’t care.” 🙂
Considering that Mitt is exactly the type of candidate Trump’s supporters are giving the middle finger to, this has me rolling on the floor.
I can just imagine the Beltway Republicans running around in a tizzy at this point. The peasantry are revolting! How dare they not follow our wise wisdom as to whom they should elect!
This is the exact argument made against Romney in 2012. Ironic?
I disagree. It was on par with the vehemence that he showed to “the 47%.” Of course, he didn’t intend for us to hear that.
@grumpy realist: True, the peasants stink on ice but for the establishment there is no double in case of trouble. It’s tough to be the Mitt.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: True. And just because Romney pisses me off, he said:
– 47% don’t pay income tax. True at the time, but dropping as the economy recovered.
– 47% won’t vote for Romney. False. 47% would vote for Romney (there is a god, and she has a wicked sense of humor)
-47% won’t take responsibility for their lives. Lie. there is no statistic on this.
– These three 47% groups are the same people. Complete BS. Probably half the 47% who didn’t pay income tax are Republicans and voted for Romney.
Off topic, but I heard last night that Christie’s approval in NJ is down to 27%. There’s that number again.
Has there been any analysis done on Trump’s margins in open vs. closed primaries? Given the record numbers we’re seeing in Republican turnout vs. Democratic turnout, I’m wondering how much of Trump’s support is genuine, and how much of the turnout in open races is being driven by “not Trump” votes (or, potentially pro-Trump votes for mischief).
It’s totally anecdotal, but I am seeing a lot of my friends admit to strategic voting this year, particularly friends who generally vote Democratic. Given the fact that Trump’s wins generally are in line with polling numbers, it’s probably not a factor but I am curious.
Romney’s speech might not have any impact on Trump’s ability to win delegates, but the message to thoughtful Republicans was quite clear: deny Trump the delegates outright, and we’ll fix this at the convention.
@Jen: Heck, if you really wanted to Stick It To The Republican Establishment, vote for Ted Cruz….
(thinks a bit)
Naah, I don’t want that jerk a million light-years near any sort of power. I actually would trust Trump over Cruz. Trump follows his own ego. Cruz follows his own ego, and is convinced that he’s Doing The Will Of God.
Which is more dangerous?
This might have had more impact if Mitt hadn’t taken off September and most of October in 2012.
He didn’t lose, he revealed himself as an establishment Republican, aka, a retarded Progressive. Going the same place as the Progressives but wanting to slow walk it.
The best analysis of Romney’s speech:
So…today the last Republican Presidential candidate called the next Republican Presidential candidate a liar and a con man, to which the next Republican Presidential responded that the previous Republican Presidential candidate wanted to blow the next Republican Candidate who, according to the guy in third place, has a small penis.
Meantime Obamacare has insured 20 million people, and cut the ranks of the uninsured in half.
This is fwcking amazing.
Where does one find the alternate reality in which conservative principles lift people out of poverty and help create opportunity for all???
I mean, there are legitimate arguments to be made in favor of (some) conservative principles, but this ain’t any of them. People who embrace conservative principles embrace them either because or in spite of the fact that those principles defend the barriers to lifting people out of poverty and creating opportunity for all.
After tonight’s Republican debate, and given the likelihood of a Clinton victory in the Democratic primaries, I can only hope her proponents around here are correct about her chances of victory over Trump.
I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. As a Sanders supporter, I have never intended to come off as a “BernieBro” or show any form of disrespect for Clinton. However, I have honest doubts about her ability to deliver. I’ve attempted to elucidate them here under various posts. I’ve been told these doubts are unfounded, but they persist regardless. Maybe I’m just an anxious, ultimately pessimistic person.* Maybe I’m sexist.** But for whatever reason, I remain unconvinced of Clinton’s invulnerability in the general election. I’ve argued to some length that preference for Clinton or Sanders is based on subjective measurements of image more than any objective understanding of psephology or political science. Those arguments apply equally to me as much as anyone.
So I hope you all are right about this. Because if you’re wrong, you are catastrophically wrong.
* I take medication for this, so the evidence is strong here.
** The judgment on this is a community-made one and not something an individual can determine in themselves accurately. Or perhaps they can and I lack the discernment to do so.
This is worth examining. Why is it that you have doubts about her ability to deliver? Is it her delivery, which can seem a bit wooden at times? Or is it something else?
I’m asking because I’ve heard others (friends who are Bernie supporters) say something similar, and I am curious as to what the root of this is, because my concern, at this point, is that this general election will be a mud-slinging fest of near-epic proportions. There is a point at which those independents/swing voters will check out entirely and choose, perhaps, to sit this one out.
Despite the fact that more people identify as Democrats vs. Republicans, Republicans have a consistently better track record during low-turnout years. Having any substantial portion of the Democratic base say, “eh, I dunno…I just don’t think she can deliver” IS a problem.
There’s a piece over on Salon titled “My Gen X Hillary Problem” that I do think carries some answer to this, but it’s not the whole problem. Clinton is more qualified for the office than three of the four remaining Republican contenders. But for some reason, she isn’t sparking with the base. Perhaps it is the air of inevitability, I do think candidate fatigue is a thing (I remain convinced this was part of Jeb!’s problem). The DNC had best figure this thing out and a way to address it, there is way too much at stake. No way do I want a Pres. Trump choosing 2-4 Supreme Court justices.
Republicans actually spent time in the debate talking about penis size. Fwcking amazing.
It’s like Jack was right up there on stage with them.
I live in Ohio. Clinton is more qualified than all four. Everybody’s concerned that Hillary took speaking fees from Wall Street, but nobody seems concerned that Cruz is married to a bankster and Kasich was a bankster.
I really worry about Hillary. It’s easy to picture Trump’s attack lines. A lot of the negative reaction to Hillary is driven by the 25 year assault by what really is a vast right wing conspiracy. (Well, conspiracy implies secret and this is out in the open for anyone who is willing to see.) Which doesn’t diminish that the negativity is real. But I don’t see this as a reason to support Bernie, god love him. The Republican Party is a giant character assassination machine. What else can they do, run on policy? They’ll unload on Bernie or anyone else, just as bad as on Hillary. Commie, old, anti-American, what did you do in Russia, comrade, no foreign policy experience, no executive experience. And of course no business experience. Ever notice that whatever it is their candidate has and the opponent does not is the most important qualifier for prez? You think the vilification of Obama is a one-of? It’s what they do.
@Jen: Partly it has to be how convenient the “outsider” narrative is against her, and Trump’s been running on it since the beginning. (Hell, Sanders gets some traction with it despite not being an outsider.) Running for an open seat controlled by her party for the last eight years puts her at a disadvantage. I keep bringing up a possible sexism disadvantage comparable to Obama’s race disadvantage, but if it exists I imagine it’ll be a weaker effect. Pretty much every comparison of “unfavorable ratings” between Clinton and Trump notes she is less disliked, but I also think a lot of the unlikeability of Trump is based on specific things he has said that people voting for him in the booth will wave away as something he didn’t mean whereas Clinton’s unfavorability comes from two decades of being in politics, not to mention the special level of mudslinging the Clintons attract.
Concerning turnout, I’m divided on this. I don’t put much stock in the idea of the Blue Wall, or “demographics as destiny.” I feel like she won’t be able to drive out enough voters because most will be voting “against Republicans” rather than for her, or “holding their nose” while pulling the lever. However, she obviously has strong support in the black community, and I can’t imagine Hispanics going for Trump in large numbers. Further, she definitely has a manic contingent of supporters like Obama did in ’08, so enthusiasm exists. I suppose my big grievance is that for the past ten months or so in the comments here, the main argument for Clinton has been that Sanders is a risky gamble while Clinton is a surer bet. Since then, Sanders has done better than most would have guessed back then even if he can’t win the nomination, and most of this was discussed before Trump became a factor. It does not bode well. Then again, I am a pessimist.
@gVOR08: Oh, I know what the attack lines will be. I worked in GOP politics a long time ago, and got out in the mid-90s because I saw where this was all headed.
I guess I’m wondering why Democrats think she won’t be able to handle this. She’s endured nearly 3 decades of sh!t storms, nasty accusations, etc. I’m accustomed to Republicans underestimating her. What puzzles me is the incremental rise in Democrats doing the same.
I have friends in Ohio, and lived there for a while myself. While Kasich has his detractors, I do think he is more qualified than the rest of the Republican field–his background is what used to be considered tailor-made for a White House run. My comment above implies that he is more qualified than Clinton, that was in error. What I meant was that of the Republicans, his experience is the only one that comes close to what she offers. I should have more caffeine before I try and think, apparently!
Or Ted Cruz winning the Mr. Congeniality Award?
Where was this Romney in 2012? This was an excellent heartfelt speech by a mainstream Republican who opposes prejudice and bigotry and believes in integrity and honesty. – In 2012 he was on every side of every issue, and Ryan only furthered that less than forthright image…
@Tillman: I am unsure of Hillary’s ability to deliver and I have given it some thought but I really can’t come up with anything better than my perception that she is terribly awkward on-camera.
Her SNL appearances are cringe-worthy, and during other times when she tries to be self-deprecating and easy going it just doesn’t feel sincere. If I was her adviser I’d tell her to stay far away from impromptu discussions and avoid smiling broadly. I have never seen a politician so bad at politics 101-type stuff.
For once, I think one of the names in your list doesn’t belong there. I think we all know what it is.
More importantly- given McCain’s belligerence, his presidency would have been a greater disaster than Bush’s..