Rumor of the day: Mitt Romney for Speaker?

No, the rumor doesn’t come from the voice in my head that’s been whispering “Romney 2016?” post ideas to me for the past three years. This is a real thing that’s happening, according to the political director of PBS’s NewsHour.

For the record, though, the voice in my head is totally onboard with this.

As every political nerd on Twitter will never tire of reminding you, the Constitution doesn’t require that the Speaker of the House be a member of Congress. Romney is eligible. And he’s a solid choice for this position because, er … he’d rather spend his days and nights consumed with the most thankless job in Washington instead of enjoying life with Ann Romney and his grandkids?

The logic, I guess, is that an elder statesman who’s challenged Obama directly in a national election might prove acceptable to both centrists and conservatives in the House as a temporary “caretaker” Speaker while things calm down and the caucus looks for a compromise choice in their own ranks. If nothing else, Romney’s shrewd criticisms of Obama on foreign policy, especially vis-a-vis Russia, would make him an able spokesman for the congressional GOP on international affairs like the Iran deal. He has high name recognition and most Republican voters like him personally, whatever they think of his politics. The part I don’t get is why, in a death struggle between conservative populists and establishmentarian centrists, the former would tolerate a Speaker who’s distinctly a member of the latter group. It’d be like naming Jeb Bush Speaker. Romney’s a sympathetic figure in many ways, but not so much that House conservatives are about to let him set their political agenda for them.

Semi-serious exit question: If Romney’s in the mix, why not Newt Gingrich? He’d probably be more broadly appealing to the House’s two factions than Romney would.

Update: Ah, now here’s an interesting point about Mitt.

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