C’mon, you know I had to blog it. The only thing better on a slow news day than “Romney 2016” silliness would be a big new poll on atheist gay marriage. Don’t let me down, YouGov.
He lost a Senate race in Massachusetts, then won the governor’s race before losing the 2008 primary, then won the 2012 primary before losing the general election. His whole career is a story of incrementally failing upward en route to the White House. The next step, I guess, is winning the general election — at the bottom of the ticket. Then, after two terms as VP, he’ll finally be positioned in 2024 to win the presidency as a 77-year-old.
And he’ll probably still look better than most 60-year-olds when he does.
In his upcoming book The Queen, directed at Hillary Rodham Clinton, [Hugh] Hewitt said that Romney has the influence and status of former Vice President Dick Cheney, making him a formidable campaigner and White House partner.
That, he added in the book provided to Secrets, will force Clinton to make an equally top-notch pick, not somebody like Joe Biden, the “lovable dolt” chosen by Barack Obama…
The influential Hewitt, heard in 120 markets, wrote that the eventual nominee “ought to ask Romney to serve as their VP for their first term, and only their first term — thus borrowing the 2012 GOP nominee’s immense credibility, fundraising lists and organizational expertise for a first term — and yet assuring the loyalty of all would-be successors through the selection of VP Romney’s replacement in the summer of 2020.”
A Bush/Romney ticket won’t work, as Matt Lewis notes, given that they’re both in their 60s and that the two don’t seem like they’re big fans of each other. A Rubio/Romney ticket could work, Lewis argues … except that there’s a 24-year age difference between them, five years more than the difference between Obama and Biden. Offhand I can’t think of any president/VP pairs where the number two was more than 20 years older than the number one. And that might be a special problem for Rubio, who’s not only one of the youngest candidates in the field but looks much younger than his age. Having a seasoned patrician around who was once nominated for president himself will make it easier for critics to attack Rubio as a boyish novice when he screws up.
Walker/Romney seems a bit more plausible, but there’s a problem there too. The GOP establishment is desperate for a way to cut into Democrats’ advantage with Latinos, especially if the rumors are true about Julian Castro being groomed to serve as Hillary’s VP. A Walker/Romney ticket would be a straight-from-the-mold pairing of two midwestern Republican white guys and Walker knows it. I’d bet cash money that if he’s the nominee, his VP will be either Rubio — quite likely given the importance of winning Florida — or Susana Martinez. And if that same identity-politics logic holds for the other top-tier candidates in the field, in which a Latino simply must be on the ticket to give Republicans a fighting chance, then Romney’s only options are Bush, Rubio, and Cruz. If Bush/Romney’s too old and Rubio/Romney has too much of an age gap, then it’s Cruz/Romney or bust. Show of hands: Who thinks Ted Cruz, Mr. Anti-Establishment, is going to saddle himself with a donor-class favorite who lost the last election handily and who’ll spend most of campaign 2016 explaining away his remarks about “the 47 percent”?
One more point. Why would a candidate like Rubio, whom Romney likes and whose advisors are reportedly being wooed by Rubio, need to put Mitt on the ticket to benefit from his “immense credibility, fundraising lists and organizational expertise”? Hewitt’s right that Romney retains some valuable political assets from his run in 2012, but presumably he’s willing to share some of those assets with his candidate of choice even without a VP quid pro quo — especially if a contender whom Romney disfavors, like Rand Paul, looks poised to win the nomination. Romney’s probably going to go all-out for the party during the general election provided that the nominee isn’t too far right, simply in the interest of retaining some influence over the GOP and the new president. Only if he refused to help the GOP unless he’s placed on the ticket would putting him on there be worth considering, and even then a charming pol like Rubio could probably talk most of Mitt’s donors and staffers into being good soldiers and helping him defeat Hillary. Just hard to see the upside here.
Exit question: Who’ll be Romney’s VP once he jumps in the race and defeats all comers for the nomination himself? C’mon, you know I had to.