Listen, I get it. We’ve all been waiting for the Superman scene. Our fingers are over-buttered, we’re more than halfway through our coke, and the climax of the film is nearing. The stock market woke up terrified. A chunk of the cast is indicted or in jail. The villain is becoming increasingly unhinged.
This is the Superman moment, right?
This is when he flies in cape-waving, hair slicked back as shiny as the hope he’s about to deliver. Right?
Lazy movie goers will confuse incoming Senator Mitt Romney’s essay criticizing President Trump’s comportment and general management over December’s events with the Superman scene.
But Mitt Romney is not our Superman, my friends.
Yes, his op-ed explicitly called out the President for failing to “rise to the occasion.” Yes, the senator-elect asked the President to “inspire and unite us.” And, yes, his hair is slicked back and shiny.
But when Mitt Romney promises to “speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions” that’s our clue to go refill the Coke.
This is not our Superman.
If we skip back a few scenes in the movie, we’ll remember Romney’s shiny, hopeful head of hair sitting next to another recognizable yellow hairdo in November of 2016. Romney called it a “wonderful evening” and enjoyed chocolate cake with President Trump to discuss the possibility of serving as Secretary of State.
After the meeting, Romney specifically credited Trump for having a “message of inclusion and bringing people together.” He said that their discussion about global politics was “enlightening and interesting and engaging.” He felt “increasing hope” about Trump’s “better future.”
Character change is expected in a movie. But, what is surprising about Romney’s aggressive shift and blatant hypocrisy after a couple of turns around the sun is that President Trump is the same character as Candidate Trump. Trump experienced no character change.
He has been the same character since he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015 and claimed that Mexican immigrants are “rapists.” Two days later when Trump criticized veteran John McCain’s heroism? Same Trump. When he fails to disavow David Duke? That’s the same Trump — the same actor Romey criticized as “disqualifying and disgusting” for failing to refuse the support of the KKK.
In fact, a year before their dinner — almost to the day — America witnessed one of the most disgusting scenes of hatred out of the villain: Trump’s character mocked and degraded a disabled journalist.
No one can forget the scene which most exposed the villain’s truly depraved nature. We could call this scene a flashback; the 2005 video of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women, about doing anything to them because of his celebrity status was not a surprising character reveal. It merely supported what we already knew about this chronic-philanderer. Pseudo Superman Romney should know. Or was Romney’s tweet about his concern for “our wives and daughters” an empty one?
Even after all of these revelations, Romney still sat down for chocolate cake with the racist, bigoted, rapist. Why? Because Romeney might become Secretary of State Romney. Let’s be clear that these “disgusting” character traits were truly not “disqualifying” for Romney after all. Not if there was something to gain.
The weakest characters in movies always sell their values for cheap. That’s why audiences don’t trust them. That’s why we shouldn’t trust Romney now. All it takes is one juicy rationalization to make them fold.
Mitt Romney is not our Superman. He is not the hero of the Republican Party, and his op-ed is nothing more than the first scenes of a campaign to replace Trump as the party’s nominee when the true climax of the movie finally arrives: enter the real Superman, Robert Mueller. See, Romney hopes he can point back to this empty essay and say, “See? I knew he was the bad guy! I always said so.”
Sometimes the hero of the film really is a surprise. Sometimes, an unpredictable Superman comes into the light.
But Supermans don’t sit down with bad guys for chocolate cake in exchange for a promotion to Secretary of State. Not when the nefarious bad guy is clear from the opening credits.