Cal Thomas: Mitt Romney and authoritarianism in America

From the commentary: Mitt Romney and authoritarianism in America

Senators are briefed on U.S. defense readiness in Washington
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) arrives at a closed-door all-Senators briefing on the state of U.S. defense readiness with respect to China at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 15, 2023.
REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

A forthcoming biography of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) reportedly includes the former presidential candidate's view that his party is sliding toward "authoritarianism." The book, "Romney: A Reckoning," is scheduled for publication in October. The Guardian has published a story about its contents.

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In the story, author McKay Coppins is quoted as telling Axios he was surprised by Romney's "candor" and his sharing of personal emails and texts which tell of what he considers the party's wrong direction.

Romney lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama. Should Republicans now take advice from him about what he perceives as the GOP's "authoritarian" image?

Let's start with a definition of authoritarian. Among them is this brief one: "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom." Is that what Romney thinks Republicans favor? The last I checked the position of the GOP is advancing and protecting individual liberty, while the philosophy of the Democratic Party is sliding toward bigger government, ever-higher taxes and increased spending. That sounds more authoritarian to me.

The Romney criticism is part of an ongoing requirement by the left and their media allies for Republicans to prove a negative. These include allegations of racism from a party with a long history of that ugly behavior; favoring only the wealthy, who never pay their "fair share" in taxes; and wanting to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, a lie Democrats have successfully told for decades to dupe low information voters.


Is it authoritarian to want to roll back excesses from the left, such as abortion and the rest of the "woke" cultural agenda? Is it authoritarian to wish to weaken the power of the state over individuals? Is it authoritarian to hold criminals accountable and not release violent ones on low or no bail, resulting in many of them committing new crimes? Romney should be asked for examples of what he means.

Isn't it the Democratic Party that is sliding us into authoritarianism? Hasn't that party used the courts, especially the Supreme Court until recently, to impose radical views on the law — even making law — instead of deferring to Congress to pass laws and be held accountable to the voters? Why doesn't Romney criticize their agenda instead of heaping criticism on his party?

Writing in the fall of 2021, Washington Examiner commentator Zachary Faria said this: " (President) Biden , as any good authoritarian would, announced that governors no longer matter. 'I'll use my power as president to get them out of the way,' Biden said as he announced his ridiculous (and possibly unconstitutional) vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. ... When a Republican is in the White House, Democrats cheer on their governors as they buck the administration. Now that a Democrat is president, any states that don't buy into the Democratic agenda must be bludgeoned into submission."

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That sounds more like authoritarianism than what Romney is trying to sell.

Why does Romney consider his party sliding toward authoritarianism when most Republicans simply want to stop the Democrats' authoritarian slide? Consider what is being imposed on children in too many public schools. When parents rise up against what many consider propaganda they are called names, but no such names are given to those imposing their left-wing and secular ideology on the next generation.

See how this works? If you stand for proven values, you are right-wing, radical, extreme, out of the mainstream, fanatical and authoritarian. If you are from the left, you are "progressive" and seeking to "make the world a better place."

Those who control the labels get to define the issues. If that's not authoritarian, what is?


This Cal Thomas commentary is his opinion. He can be reached at

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