I don’t doubt Romney’s sincerity. But I do think he and those close to him are fooling themselves that he can simply proclaim that he is running a new and different campaign — one based on foreign policy and poverty, according to Politico — and that will be that.
It’s literally impossible for me to imagine such a scenario. The reason Romney is in the position he is — nationally known, a massive fundraising network — is because of his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Those are the pluses of having run twice before. But, there are also significant minuses in having done so. Does Romney think either his Republican opponents or, potentially Hillary Clinton in a general election, are going to just let the whole “47 percent” thing drop? Or that the car elevator, “severely conservative” and the picture of him with money coming out of his suit jacket are going to disappear?
Um, they won’t. The second Romney declares — and, even now as he moves toward a candidacy — all of the things people didn’t like about him will start to creep back to the front of their minds. The image of him as an out-of-touch plutocrat, which the Obama team so effectively painted, will linger no matter what Romney says or does as a candidate. And, unlike in 2012 when he was seen as the de facto frontrunner due to his close-but-no-cigar bid in 2008, the logic (or lack thereof) for why he would choose to run again in 2016 would make him a puzzle in the eyes of many Republican primary voters. People don’t usually vote for puzzles.