Mitt Romney is doing something nearly unheard of these days: He’s putting his country above his party. He’s voting his conscience when doing so comes at a cost. He’s not rationalizing weakness and timidity by prettying them up as virtues. He will vote to convict President Donald Trump, in an act of extraordinary political courage.
This decision would have negative ramifications for Romney in any era, but he faces particularly harsh consequences in this one, when political tribalism has never been more acute, when hating those who see things in politics differently than you do is fashionable, and when invective against perceived enemies is more emotionally powerful (and satisfying) than is affection for those you believe to be on your side.
We are living in the Era of Rage.
Mitt Romney knows this, and he therefore knows the attacks on him will be vicious. He will be accused of being a traitor not only by the president, a cruel and unforgiving man, but also by his fellow Republican lawmakers, the right-wing media complex, and even many of his constituents.
The truth is quite the opposite, of course. Romney, on whose presidential campaign I briefly worked in 2012, is doing something he believes is morally right even while knowing he will face quite a high cost, both professionally and personally.