I know some of you guys worry that I’ll be trolling you with “Romney 2016?” posts right up until the hour the polls open next November, but I promise you this:
You’re right. I will be.
Skip to 9:30 below for a choice snippet from Ann’s interview with Brian Kilmeade this morning. The magic is back:
“All I can say is, we are in New York City, Mitt’s been with me a lot today, over the last few days and we have been walking the streets and people are screaming out there windows, I mean people on the street, people stop us on the street, everyone is saying ‘come, get in, jump in’, we hear it, we get a lot of phone calls, people are calling all the time, from our past donors saying ‘it’s time to think about it again’. We are assessing, it’s not like we are making a different decision, we are on the sidelines, we made a decision in January not to jump in. Like everyone, we are mystified by this race and entertained at the same time but there’s a lot of ups and downs in a primary and we went through this too by the way in our race, a lot of ups and downs. It’s a long way from being over.”
“Mitt and I are not even ready to talk about it,” she insists. I don’t know about that — Mitt did a little talking at this morning’s “ideas forum” sponsored by The Atlantic:
Mitt Romney: “I will support the Republican nominee. I don’t think that’s going to be Donald Trump."
— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) September 30, 2015
Here’s a fun thought experiment for this, my thousandth “will Romney run?” post on Hot Air. What sort of deadline is he looking at realistically for getting in, and what would have to happen before then for Romney to seriously consider it? I think, if he’s going to do it, he’d have to make his move by the end of October. If he waits any longer than that, he risks his campaign getting lost in the holiday shuffle as voters’ minds turn to Thanksgiving and Christmas. He’d want to be at the debate on October 28th to take advantage of the huge Trumpian spotlight to reintroduce himself to voters. Meanwhile, the two most important preconditions to a Romney run have already materialized — Jeb Bush has grossly underperformed expectations and the GOP establishment increasingly seems in danger of having the nomination stolen away by a populist, be it Trump or Ted Cruz. The donor class needs a deus ex machina. Enter Mitt.
The question is, why on earth would they prefer Mitt Romney to be that hero instead of Marco Rubio with lots of Romney’s donor network behind him? Rubio’s implosion is the sole remaining precondition to Romney taking the idea of a run seriously, I think. Walker’s gone, Bush and Christie are struggling, and Kasich is unacceptable to parts of the base, but Rubio’s had two good debates, has kept his early campaign spending low, and is creeping into the top three or four of many polls. Apart from name recognition, which will change in time, there’s no reason to want Romney diving in and scrambling the race instead of sticking with Rubio for awhile and seeing how he fares. (Don’t say “immigration” either. If you think Romney 2016 would take the same hardline position as Romney 2012 on “self-deportation,” you’re kidding yourself. That’s the first perceived “electability” mistake that Romney would seek to correct if he ran this time.) Basically, unless Rubio collapses due to scandal over the next four weeks or so, I expect Mitt will sit quietly and wait for one or two of the other centrists in the race to fade before formally endorsing Rubio himself. I think that’s what he and Ann are “assessing” — whom to back and when — more so than any third run for the presidency.
But don’t hold me to that when I troll you about this again next week.