Is Romney poised for a comeback?
posted at 8:41 pm on July 31, 2014 by Allahpundit
I’m pretty sure the answer was, is, and will remain “no,” but if it’s a day ending in “y,” I’m willing to troll you guys by revisiting the subject. Matt Lewis makes the case:
Romney would similarly have to get real. No more phoniness. No more telling us what he thinks we want to hear. He would have to be utterly authentic, and he would have to show that losing caused him to encounter pain and reflection. (The good news is that the Netflix film, Mitt, already helped show this side of Romney.)…
People like comebacks. We can identify with the guy or gal who is struggling to redeem themselves (and nobody has ever identified with Mitt Romney before).
Ironically, Romney is almost tailor made to benefit from having lost before. What might be a devastating blow to most political figures — a blight on their resume — actually transforms Romney into a more compelling candidate. Having struggled and stumbled is, for Romney, at least, a feature, not a bug. The same could be said for Hillary Clinton, who only became a compelling candidate in 2008 when she lost her frontrunner status…
[Pat] Buchanan, whose sister was a Romney advisor, believes that Romney should take a page from the Nixon handbook. Having lost to Kennedy in 1960, and then having lost the 1962 gubernatorial election in California, Nixon was assumed politically dead. But he was revived by working hard for other candidates — he worked hard for conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964, and backed liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller’s candidacy in New York — just to name two of the many GOPers he hit the hustings for between 1962 and 1968.
Let me see if I can talk myself into this. Point one: Romney’s just seven months older than Hillary Clinton and has always seemed fit, energetic, and younger than his years. He’d be the same age as Reagan was on election day 1980. He’s not too old.
Point two: The big takeaway from the past six months of Republican primaries is that business interests are willing to spend big bucks to squash tea partiers before they can get traction. They’re tired of watching conservatives shutting down the economy and flirting with hitting the debt ceiling. They want someone sympathetic to them as nominee. There’s no one more sympathetic than Mitt.
Point three: Arguably, despite his record as a presidential loser, Romney’s still the most likable RINO on the Republican 2016. Ask yourself — if you had to choose between Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Mitt Romney, which one would you prefer? One guy has heavy baggage from his last name and will give away the farm on immigration; the second guy is boorish, has an anti-gun record (for which he’s lately tried to make amends), and smells of scandal. The third guy is Romney. QED.
Point four: Although it’s true that presidential losers are typically disqualified from future runs nowadays, Romney’s unusual in that he has a laundry list of told-ya-so’s he could run on a second time. The campaign commercials write themselves: First comes the clip of him saying something prescient about Russia or ObamaCare in 2012, then come the headlines from 2013-14 bearing him out, then comes the 2016 pitch (“a man of vision” or whatever). That sort of thing could, I guess, move perceptions of his candidacy from also-ran dismissal to “yeah, maybe we should have listened to this guy.”
Honestly, if he hadn’t run in 2008 and flamed out in the primaries, I think he’d be thinking seriously about it now. The main bar to another Romney run isn’t that he lost in 2012, I suspect, it’s that this would be three campaigns in eight years. A second bite at the apple doesn’t seem crazy; a third bite at the apple does, kind of. (And exhausting!) And if he did run, he’d (once again) be poorly suited to repel Democratic class-warfare attacks. Rubio, Ryan, and Mike Lee are building agendas aimed at the working class in hopes of siphoning off support from one of the Democrats’ core constituencies. A party that’s doing that doesn’t want to go into battle behind Mr. “47 Percent,” especially when Hillary will have no choice but to adopt Warren-esque populism for her own campaign, to appease progressives. How does Romney, who worked hard to undo his image as a centrist in 2008, then worked hard to undo his image as a social conservative in 2012, undo his image as a country-club Republican who sees the world in terms of “makers” and “takers”? And how does he improve with Latinos, who broke for Obama in a landslide because of his “self-deportation” comments?