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Jul 08 2014

Mitt Romney in 2016?

I have a $50 bet with a friend of mine who thinks Mitt Romney is going to run for the Republican presidential nomination again. We made that bet a few months ago and he quickly admitted it’s a long shot. But now a case is being made by a former Bush administration official that Romney should run again.

Will Romney be different from these other failed nominees? Could he defy the odds and make a comeback presidential bid capturing the GOP nomination after all the doubt, second-guessing and blame that accompany such a loss? According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, many Americans seem to think so—45 percent of voters said the United States would be better off today with Romney as president.

That was also the question on not just the minds but the lips of many at a recent private gathering in Utah known as the E2 Summit, Romney’s now-annual retreat for high-profile politicians, policymakers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, top bundlers and, of course, a core group of long-time Romney loyalists. (Disclosure: I served in multiple roles in the 2012 campaign, including adviser to the economic team, television surrogate and fundraiser.) Although the subject was not on any agenda or the topic of any speech or breakout session, virtually every meal, cocktail hour and coffee break included quiet ruminations over whether Romney could successfully run again…

When Republicans don’t hold the presidency, they tend to nominate “the guy who last ran” (think Nixon ’68, Reagan ’80, Dole ’96, McCain ’08 and Romney ’12) and reject newcomers not yet tested at the presidential level. If this formula were to repeat, then the mantle would likely pass to Romney’s 2012 running mate Paul Ryan, but he isn’t showing any leg for a presidential run. Newcomers like Jeb Bush and Rand Paul—or for that matter Marco Rubio, Rob Portman and Bobby Jindal—would have to overcome this historical pattern.

Should an opening emerge, Romney, like Nixon, will have a massive legacy infrastructure at his disposal to seize the opportunity. Impressively, Romney is the only Republican who can roll into any major money center like New York, Los Angeles or Houston and mobilize his fundraisers on demand, and he is doing so with regularity.

The one thing entirely missing from this analysis is whether he could actually win the White House. There’s also no mention of the furious backlash from the conservative base that would occur if Romney were the nominee again. Could he make a run? Sure. But I suspect the result would be very bad for the GOP. Romney is a terrible campaigner. He comes across as completely inauthentic, a political Ken doll without a soul. And he comes across that way because that’s what he actually is.

33 comments

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  1. 1
    scienceavenger

    According to the latest Quinnipiac poll…45 percent of voters said the United States would be better off today with Romney as president.

    Or put another way…

    2% fewer voters today think America would be better off with Romney as president than thought so in 2012…[yawn]

  2. 2
    Kevin Kehres

    I hatehatehatehatehate with a passion “analyses” of any stripe that look at bogus “historical trends”.

    It’s like predicting the outcome of a sporting event based on what the team’s name did 20 years previously, when none of the players were in anything but diapers.

    Romney can’t win the nomination. If anything, the “adult” wing of the Republican party has been even-further diminished over the past few years. The anarchists Tea Partiers are in charge.

  3. 3
    colnago80

    Certainly in the last 100 years, Nixon is the only failed presidential candidate who lost a presidential election (as opposed to failing to win the nomination) who came back to win the nomination later on. Reagan in 1976, McCain in 2000, and Bush 1 in 1980, all failed to win a nomination but came back to run for president in a later election. Bush 1 and Reagan were successful, McCain was not. However, when one looks at the lineup in the Rethuglican party, it doesn’t look too promising for them. Compared to Cruz, Jindal, Ryan et al, Rmoney doesn’t look too bad. His main competition would probably be Jeb Bush, if he chooses to run. Another problem for Rmoney is his age. He’s the same age as Hillary Clinton so another Rmoney candidacy wouldn’t be able to use her age against her.

  4. 4
    eric

    That was also the question on not just the minds but the lips of many at a recent private gathering in Utah known as the E2 Summit, Romney’s now-annual retreat for high-profile politicians, policymakers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, top bundlers and, of course, a core group of long-time Romney loyalists

    You mean the top 1% that Romney catered to during his last campaign would vote for him again? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

  5. 5
    Tabby Lavalamp

    According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, many Americans seem to think so—45 percent of voters said the United States would be better off today with Romney as president.

    It all depends on how you define “better off”. If you mean a GOP congress that wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to keep your president from doing a damned thing and a senate that would be willing to work on confirming appointments, sure. Other than that, I can’t think of a single bloody way in which the US would be better off under a Romney presidency.

  6. 6
    colnago80

    Re Kevin Kehres @ #2

    My impression is that the adults in the Rethuglican Party are starting to line up behind Jeb Bush. If it’s Bush against the clown car, he might well win the nomination, just are Rmoney did in 2012. Despite his bobble on Terri Schiavo, Bush might be their best hope.

  7. 7
    Modusoperandi

    Romney? How? Cliven Bundy’ll be a RINO by 2016.

  8. 8
    Reginald Selkirk

    Long shot? This is nothing compared to the bet that Luis Suarez would bite someone during hte World Cup.

  9. 9
    Reginald Selkirk

    colnago80 #6: My impression is that the adults in the Rethuglican Party…

    There are no adults left in the Rethuglican Party. If you are willing to set back and let your clown car be driven by the likes of Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, you are de facto not considered an adult.

  10. 10
    Kevin Kehres

    @2…now now. Be fair. The E2 doesn’t just cater to the top 1%.

    It’s right there in the name — it caters to the top 2%. Multimillionaires can hang out with billionaires, you know.

  11. 11
    dugglebogey

    I have it on good authority that everyone that signed the “Draft Mitt” petition was actually a black person from Mississippi.

  12. 12
    colnago80

    Re Reginald Selkirk @ #9

    Now, now, there are a few adults left in the party. Given the glut of nutcase candidates occupying the clown car, their support for Bush could well be as successful as it was in 2012.

  13. 13
    raven

    We have a black president. (Actually, he is half black, half white.)

    But are we really ready for a Reptilian shapeshifting president?

    I’m not. Romney seemed to have as much empathy and charm as any old sociopath.

    His record as a Mormon bishop was simply terrible by normal human standards. Among his other accomplishments, he threatened to excommunicate an unmarried pregnant woman if she didn’t put her kid out for adoption. (This BTW, is standard Mormon procedure.) She decided that she would rather leave the church and keep her kid. (In other words a twofer.)

  14. 14
    D. C. Sessions

    Could he make a run? Sure. But I suspect the result would be very bad for the GOP.

    As distinct from Santorum? Christie? Cruz? Rubio? Jindal?

    Wait! I have it! Gingrich!

  15. 15
    busterggi

    Romney MUST run, just look at all he has achieved in the past few years.

  16. 16
    Randomfactor

    Romney will have one advantage in 2016: The years when he had to pay the penalty for tax evasion probably won’t show up on the returns he’s expected to make public, two years from now.

  17. 17
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oh look. Mittens will have competition if he runs. Or maybe that should be “competition”.
    http://redalertpolitics.com/2014/07/02/rick-perry-looking-seriously-2016-presidential-bid/

  18. 18
    smhll

    The relatively mild Jeb Bush, who doesn’t sound like a hateful racist and speaks fluent Spanish, might be a smart choice for the GOP for the general election. But there’s no chance he could stand out and attract votes from the extremists who vote in the primaries.

    I like to think that the media could do a better job of exposing Romney’s fault’s if he ran again, considering they’ve already done lots of research. I’d like to push harder on Bain Capital’s business practices and on Romney’s personal tax strategies.

  19. 19
    scienceavenger

    @2 You’ll love my favorite bogus historical trend: Human mascots beat other-animal mascots in the Super Bowl about 2 to 1, and this has maintained itself for decades.

  20. 20
    Modusoperandi

    scienceavenger “@2 You’ll love my favorite bogus historical trend: Human mascots beat other-animal mascots in the Super Bowl about 2 to 1, and this has maintained itself for decades.”
    100% of all winning Superbowl teams got more points.

  21. 21
    marcus

    Ed ” He comes across as completely inauthentic, a political Ken doll without a soul. And he comes across that way because that’s what he actually is.”
    It has been purported that, unlike Ken, Mittens does have a penis and digestive system, though we have been unable to verify. However, they do seem to be very similar in the intellect department.

  22. 22
    d.c.wilson

    What? No love for Rick Santorum? His second place finish in the 2012 primary should put him in an excellent position for a 2016. Of course, he has to contend with pesky details like not being able to win an election even in his own state any more, but still!

    I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Romney took another run in 2016. He comes off as a guy who truly believes that the presidency should be handed to him on a silver platter.

    2016 is going to be a real circus that will make 2012 look cerebral by comparison. The establishment GOP appears be settling on Jeb Bush and the fact that they think their best bet is another Bush shows how pathetic the rest of the field is. The teabaggers are probably going to run in several different directions, trying to decide which among several (Ted Cruz, Randy Paul, Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann) is sufficiently hateful and batshit crazy for them to support. My gut tells me one of the clowns will pull a Ross Perot and sabotage any chance the republicans have of relaiming the White House. Which would be a good thing.

  23. 23
    Doc Bill

    The main problem with Rmoney is that he doesn’t stand for anything. He’s not a leader. In the previous campaign Rmoney was led around like a monkey on a leash. He’d say anything to anybody, what they wanted to hear but you could never pin him down on issues or anything specific. He tried to be an “average Joe” but he’s anything but an average Joe! Rmoney 2.0 won’t be any better. He still has no vision, still doesn’t lead, lacks conviction and sincerity.

    Unfortunately, the Republicans hooked up with the anti-intellectual religious right as a means of getting elected, but the nature of that beast culled out the sensible leaders and potential leaders.

    What about Huntsman?

  24. 24
    D. C. Sessions

    What about Huntsman?

    The guy who was eliminated before Bachmann and Cain?

  25. 25
    rabbitscribe

    #22 DC: I concur. Santorum is the guy who did second-best last time, and would fit the recent pattern perfectly. I would not be a bit surprised if Mittens ran again.

  26. 26
    Doc Bill

    Yeah, Huntsman, the guy who was eliminated before Vaccine Causes Retardation and 999. That guy.

    I think the elimination of Huntsman says more about the state of the Republican “apparatus” than it does about Huntsman. He seems like a reasonable, smart guy. Didn’t duck the evolution question and seems to me like an old time Republican from the intellectual tradition.

    If you’re going to be pro-business you’ve got to be pro-science. We’re not going to grow the economy with coal mining jobs, it’s going to be data mining and creating new, energy efficient technologies.

    Somewhere out there, there has to be a moderate Republican who will stand up to the Tea Party anti-intellectuals, demonstrate leadership and say in his best Fred McMurray voice, “Follow me!” Either that or the entire country goes Appalachia and we just give up.

  27. 27
    Modusoperandi

    Doc Bill “What about Huntsman?”
    That’s adorable. You’re adorable.

  28. 28
    D. C. Sessions

    I think the elimination of Huntsman says more about the state of the Republican “apparatus” than it does about Huntsman.

    I totally agree. To the extent it says anything about him, he has a right to be proud.

    Now: has the Republican “apparatus” changed? If it has, has it changed in a direction more amenable to a Huntsman nomination?

    If not, is there anything remotely resembling such a change likely by 2016?

    He seems like a reasonable, smart guy.

    Again, I agree. Which leads me to wonder why he would subject himself to a repeat.

  29. 29
    vereverum

    @ raven 13

    But are we really ready for a Reptilian shapeshifting president?

    You mean another don’t you? We’ve already had at least one. Or so they say….

  30. 30
    anubisprime

    The rethugs have only losers to to put forward.

    They are riven by internicene hatreds and neith the the GOP base not the Tea party have any obvious standard bearers…just barking lack lustre and dated fools…in both camps equally.

    They are just going back to what they had before…apparently…they have learnt absolutely nothing in four years except how unpopular they are outside the circle of misogynistic, anti-ghey, anti-science, anti-poor, anti-Democrat. anti-Obama, pro-jeebus, pro-guns, they boastfully refer to as the core values of their base vote.

    But they ignore that…cos well they pray everyday and jeebus is a comin ‘n’ stuff cos that is their faith.

    And nuthin’ trumps ‘faith’…maybe delusion but that is another story!

  31. 31
    Pierce R. Butler

    … Romney is the only Republican who can roll into any major money center like New York, Los Angeles or Houston and mobilize his fundraisers on demand, and he is doing so …

    IOW, Romney’s already running – or working yet another grift for fun ‘n’ profit.

    Here’s hoping he takes those buzzards for millions – and buys new car elevators with all of it.

  32. 32
    Pierce R. Butler

    Oh yes, re: my # 31 – if that report pans out, Ed Brayton already owes his buddy $50.

  33. 33
    wpjoe

    It was the bankers and Wall Street people that wrecked the economy in 2008. We’ve just managed to dig our economy out of that hole. The bankers got bailed out, but the people got squat. If the GOP wants to nominate a rich, aloof Wall Street guy again, they can do it, but it has to be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve heard in a long time.

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