“Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”
That is how Mitt Romney replied to Ashley Parker of the New York Times when she asked if he’d subject himself to the hellish torment of running for president for a third time. Despite those 11 noes, and a whole lot more in various other interviews, there is renewed speculation that Romney is at least considering another presidential run. And I for one am delighted. Though I’m not quite ready to bust out my Romney 2016 kazoo, there is a case to be made that it’s time for another Romney campaign.
I realize that not everyone feels this way. Ramesh Ponnuru, an old friend and colleague for whom I’ve been mistaken on more than one occasion, is singularly unenthusiastic about a third Romney go-around. The problem with Romney, according to Ponnuru, is that “he never seemed to grasp the reasons the Republican Party has performed poorly in recent years,” the main one being that many middle-income voters don’t believe that the GOP cares about their economic interests. Ponnuru reminds his readers that after the 2012 election, Romney explained away the result by saying that President Obama had offered voters “gifts,” implying that there is something ignoble about appealing to citizens’ wants and needs.