If you’re Mitt Romney and you’re studying the 2016 cycle with an eye to possibly running, then you might think the stars are aligning just for you.
In a way, even Jeb Bush’s early declaration probably acted to nudge Romney closer to running. If the Republican field had remained amorphous, Romney might have moved more slowly in making a decision—and with all decision points, the longer you wait, the more you inherently favor the status quo. But Bush jumped, the field suddenly began to gel, and that provided an impetus for Romney to make a decision sooner, rather than later.
On top of all that, as a political commodity Bush was genetically engineered to entice Romney to run. Like Romney, Bush has no obvious political or philosophical raison d’être for running—he’s an answer to a question no one is asking. Like Romney, he’s a creature of the establishment. And unlike any other possible candidate for the Republican nomination, Bush is the one guy who can’t argue that Romney is “the past.” Because Bush is from a political vintage even older than Romney’s.