Last Friday, the JFK Library Foundation announced on the “TODAY” show that it was presenting Sen. Willard Mitt Romney, R-Utah, with this year’s John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award. The former Massachusetts governor earned the award for his vote to convict President Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial. Romney was the only Republican to do so, becoming the first senator in history to vote to convict a president of his own party.
Pause for a second to take this in. The Kennedys are still considered political royalty in Massachusetts, even if former Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., failed in his recent bid to win a Senate seat like his great-uncles John and Teddy did. And here the family is giving huge props to a person who challenged Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat and lost back in 1994.
Thinking through Romney’s the political arc, has anyone gone through such a wildly positive transformation as he has in these last 10 years? Since 2012, Romney’s reputation among Democrats has gone from the plutocratic embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the GOP to the Republican Party’s moral center, the one conservative willing to do what’s right.
The evidence goes beyond the Kennedy award. In an Axios-Ipsos poll taken in the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Romney was viewed favorably by only about a third of Republicans nationwide. In contrast, 62 percent of Democrats surveyed approved of his recent behavior.
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