Which brings us back to Romney. Had the nominee been a man of some standing within the party, we could reasonably expect him to stay in the public eye: Bill Clinton’s been out of office for twelve years and we still can’t get rid of him. Nor Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, for that matter. GOP presidents 41 and 43 headed back to the bushes upon the expiration of their terms, but John McCain, thanks to a safe Senate seat, continues to speak out on matters of national policy, as Susan Rice knows so well.

Instead, Romney waved good-bye after he lost — which we were assured by Dick Morris and Karl Rove wouldn’t happen — and went home to La Jolla (a ritzy San Diego northern suburb, where the weather is perfect and the beach is right outside the door). Why? Surely the former Bain Capital turnaround artist has something interesting and worthwhile to say about the “fiscal cliff” and the dire economic straits in which the nation currently finds itself. Or is it that, having lost a Senate race to Ted Kennedy in 1994, the 2008 nomination to McCain, and the 2012 race to Obama, his opinion is no longer considered worth much? Or perhaps it’s that the “severe conservative” of 2012 only became a Republican in 1993, and his philosophical bona fides were always suspect to a great many on the right…

The reason no one speaks for the GOP is that there’s nothing to speak for — no principles other than accommodation, and thus no message. And until it gets one, something at once fundamentally American and electrifyingly appealing, it’s not going to find its voice.