OPINION

Noriega: “RINO” Mitt Romney leaves behind a legacy of saving America trillions

Oct 4, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: Oct 24, 2023, 4:06 pm

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”— Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has long been called the pejorative RINO, an acronym for “Republican in name only.”

That’s in part because of the blood feud with Former President Donald Trump, whom Sen. Romney twice voted to impeach.

This, to some Republicans, was the kiss of death to his conservative credentials.

As Sen. Romney announced that he would not run for a second term in the U.S. Senate, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from many conservative Republicans.

But a RINO?

I researched Romney’s voting record and I was surprised how often his voting record aligned with Trump.

According to polling website FiveThirtyEight, RINO Romney voted with Trump policies 75% of the time.

Sen. Mike Lee, whose conservative credentials have never been questioned, only voted with Trump 73.2% of the time.

President Calvin Coolidge once said, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”

Romney killed one of the worst bills I’ve ever seen. You’ll remember it as the “Build Back Better” bill and its $3.5 trillion dollar price tag.

I believe Romney’s work to kill this legislation should hang around his neck like a Congressional Medal of Awesomeness. I just made up that award, but I think there’s a future in it.

The original BBB legislation and its journey

Republicans and Democrats both agreed that the nation’s roads and bridges needed an upgrade.

That’s called infrastructure and everyone agreed that is something that the federal government should invest in.

Then, President Joe Biden took a good bipartisan idea and set it on fire.

He changed the definition of infrastructure from roads and bridges to free community college, daycare, pre-K, healthcare and climate change.

He called this “human infrastructure.”

Again, with a $3.5 trillion dollar price tag— a quick reminder that a trillion is a one with 12 zeroes — 1,000,000,000,000.

This was at the height of COVID-19 when the federal government was spending money like drunken sailors.

The Democrats had the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. They could push through any spending as long as they stayed together.

Enter Sen. Romney and his cape.

RINO Mitt Romney reached across the aisle

Sen. Romney, having been shunned by his party for his Trump disloyalty, made friends with Democrats.

He found two allies in the Senate— Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Both saw the danger in adding trillions to the national debt under the dubious auspices of “infrastructure.”

Manchin and Sinema would incur the wrath of their fellow Democrats, but with Romney at their side, they stood strong against their own party.

Much to the president’s chagrin, they negotiated a true infrastructure bill.

Wading into the mud

“Folks, too often in Washington, the reason we didn’t get things done is because we insisted on getting everything we want,” said President Biden. “Everything. With this law, we focused on getting things done.”

Instead of shouting angrily from the cheap seats, Romney waded into the mud and got something done with a couple of Democrats.

He lessened the potentially fatal financial blow to a mere bloody nose.

The total cost of the bill was $1 trillion but with just $550 billion of new spending.

Romney and his “penny saved is a penny earned” approach saved America $3 trillion.

Congress has become so stubborn and entrenched that they refuse to work together. The only way major legislation gets passed is when a single party owns the House, Senate and White House.

Then the party in power rams it down each other’s throats — see the Affordable Care Act or the Trump tax cuts.

Sen. Romney crossed the aisle and worked the way the founding fathers intended.

If Sen. Mitt Romney is a RINO — I’ll take that RINO.

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Noriega: “RINO” Mitt Romney leaves behind a legacy of saving America trillions