I wholeheartedly endorse Ross Douthat’s take on the Romney speech.
Imperfect messenger? Of course. But what is he supposed to do, sit around wringing his hands in private like so many others? Trump supporters always say that attacking Trump only helps him, but the empirical evidence for that is dubious. (Did it help him to get attacked in Iowa? Or hurt him that he wasn’t attacked in New Hampshire?) Of course, if everyone took the advice not to attack Trump, he would coast to the nomination basically untouched, which would suit Trump’s supporters just fine. Romney has a megaphone, and has gone out and used it. Good for him.
The speech was also well done, a sustained and substantive critique of Trump that didn’t just mock or dismiss him. This, for instance, is a rare attack (for anyone in the political arena) on the implications of Trump’s policy positions:
First, the economy: If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into a prolonged recession.
A few examples: His proposed 35% tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war that would raise prices for consumers, kill export jobs, and lead entrepreneurs and businesses to flee America. His tax plan, in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and to honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. So even as Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.
At least Romney is out there doing what he can. Others should follow his example.