Longtime Romney friend: He's standing by to rescue the party from nominating Ted Cruz

I told you last night, there was only one way for this year to end on Hot Air. May one word ring in your ears as the ball drops, my friends: Romneymentum.

Hopefully you’re all already liquored up sufficiently to dull the pain.

“I know exactly what Mitt’s going to do,” [Ken] Gardner, a real estate developer who helped bring Romney to Utah to lead the 2002 Winter Olympics, told the Deseret News. “I think over the next few months, a lot of things will happen.”…

“If it’s Ted Cruz that’s the candidate, he’s in. If it’s Jeb Bush, he’s probably not,” Gardner said.

He said Romney doesn’t want to cost fellow moderate Republicans Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie support at this point in the race.

That changes, Gardner said, “if it doesn’t look like they can do it.”

Later in the piece Gardner suggests that Romney’s bored by his retirement, which naturally means … he should run for president again? What?

Actually, I’m playing a little trick on Romney-haters by linking this piece. When you think about it, this is good news for you guys, not bad. Bush is already in the race and Chris Christie, who’s cramming on foreign policy and traveling the country to pile up favors before jumping in, will almost certainly follow soon. If only one of them were running, there’s a chance that that man would underperform early against conservative challengers, sparking the type of RINO panic that might draw Romney in as a savior. With two marquee centrists running, though, there’s zero chance that they’ll both underperform. One of two things will happen: Either one of them will consolidate most of the centrist vote at the other’s expense, propelling that man towards the top of the field, or they’ll split the centrist vote roughly evenly while some conservative champion races ahead. Even in the latter scenario, though, Romney would probably stay out and campaign on behalf of Bush or Christie (likely Bush) rather than jump in to try to usurp them as centrist champion. A late entry under those circumstances would simply be too risky. Instead of gobbling up Bush’s and Christie’s support, Romney might split off only a few voters, deepening the split among centrists and increasing the odds that Cruz is nominated. Imagine that it’s September 2015 and Cruz is pulling 25 percent with Bush and Christie each stuck in the mid-teens. If Romney then jumps in, you might well end up with him, Jeb, and Christie each pulling numbers in the low teens while Cruz remains basically unaffected. (Making a splashy announcement as the self-styled party savior and then fizzling would be hugely embarrassing for Romney too, needless to say, another reason why he’d be disinclined to do it.) The establishment impulse, wisely, is always towards consolidation, not diversification. Romney getting in would confound that logic. The day Christie announces, it effectively ends the “dream” of Romney 2016.

So there’s the “good news” for tea partiers as 2014 winds down — instead of nominating Mitt Romney again, your worst-case scenario only involves nominating, um, Jeb Bush or Chris Christie, who, by the way, already lead the field. Happy new year!

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Jazz Shaw 10:01 PM on January 31, 2023