A Romney 2016 campaign will be even further removed from the late Bush years, which were a disaster and an electoral albatross for the GOP. The further Republicans get away from the heart palpitations of the Dow’s collapse, the better they will do.

And Hillary Clinton is beatable. She will be a stellar fundraiser, and she’ll command partisan loyalties. But it is easy to see her falling short of Obama with downscale voters and the left. She’s a softer target than Obama and makes more mistakes on the hustings. It’s also possible that her coziness with moneyed interests will attract a more formidable, third-party challenger from the left who can bring the energies of the Occupy movement to bear on 2016.

Is Romney the one to take her on? He seems like a man who senses a heavy burden of destiny on him. The scene in the extremely sympathetic documentary Mitt in which he says he has done little in comparison with his father showed an eye-watering humility. “He’s the real deal,” Romney says, while talking down his own achievements in a way that discomfited his own sons.

It’s easy to imagine the man from that scene framing his loss in 2012 as the kind of purifying humiliation that prepares him for the awesome responsibility of the White House.