Strange new respect, Romney edition

The New York Times is nothing if not predictable. In the age of Trump, it has become even more so. Having pioneered the “strange new respect” profile genre — i.e., the laudatory profiles of Republicans or conservatives who “get above their raisin'” to join the sanctified line of the Democratic Party — the Times owed Romney, and the Times has now delivered.

Before we get to it, however, let us digress to note that the “strange new respect” genre derives from “The Greenhouse Effect.” Indeed, I may be misapplying it in this case. As the linked Wikepedia entry explains (footnotes omitted):

The Greenhouse Effect is a theory of Supreme Court justices’ behavior, first proposed by Hoover Institution economist Thomas Sowell and popularized by D.C. Court of Appeals Senior Judge Laurence Silberman in a speech to The Federalist Society in 1992. Here, the word “Greenhouse” refers to Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times for 40 years. Silberman used the term to postulate a tendency of conservative Supreme Court Justices to vote with the liberals more often as their careers progress due to a desire for favorable press coverage. He said “It seems that the primary objective of The Times’s legal reporters is to put activist heat on recently appointed Supreme Court justices.”

End of digression.

Mark Leibovich pays tribute to Romney “Romney, defying the party he once personified, votes to convict Trump.” Leibovich scored an interview with Romney, from which he quotes liberally in his account, but this is the highlight of his account:

As Mr. Romney revealed on the Senate floor how he would cast his votes, Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, dabbed at his eyes.

“I had an instinct,” he said afterward, “that this might be a moment.”

It’s almost funny. On that much, however, we can agree. This is a moment. It is a Times moment of the kind with which we have become familiar to the point of nausea.

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