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October 01, 2014

Romney on a 2016 Bid: "We've got a lot of people looking at the race. We'll see what happens."

So, hm.

Allah writes:

Not until today, having read the words of the man himself, have I sincerely believed he might run again. The RomneyWatch(TM) posts are fun to write but not because Mitt 2016 was a real thing -- I thought. They were fun because it wasn’t a real thing. It was a way to collectively pretend-scare ourselves, like playing with a ouija board.

I'm not as scared by this, but I haven't really taken this very seriously. I think Mitt's a good man and I think a good (if very flawed) candidate.

But because this didn't seem really real, none of us had to focus on those flaws. If Romney's candidacy was just a pretend hypothetical blow-off story, we could just talk about the good aspects of Mitt, and think again to the first hour of election night, when many of us still thought he would actually win.

If this is a Real Thing, though, then we have to talk about Romney's failings.

First: Perhaps the highest recommendation for Romney was the idea that he was a together guy, a numbers guy, a great CEO, who would implement a highly effective (if somewhat soulless) campaign.

His campaign was not highly effective. I'm sure John Ekdahl can tell you about that. A frequent taunt of Romney I see is "We hit all of our numbers," referring to the campaign's conviction that they did all the mechanical aspects of campaigning right.

But they didn't.

Add into that a base which was dragged into supporting Romney the first time -- shouting, with some degree of vindicated conviction, that Romney just could not win. I don't know how those who bitterly opposed Romney, but went along with the program reluctantly anyway, can be induced to not go absolutely Nuclear at the prospect of a second Romney candidacy.

I think DrewM's head would actually explode. I like DrewM. I worry about his head exploding. Heads shouldn't explode. It's not right.

And of course add in Romney's lack of any sort of emotional connection with the electorate. Perhaps his great humbling of 2012 makes him more "relatable;" but I don't know how much that gets you. Political charisma is something someone has or doesn't have. It's not fair that idiots like Obama have it, or scoundrels like Clinton, or that good men like Paul Tsongas don't have it.

But politics aren't fair.

I really don't know about this. I'm predisposed to liking Romney -- as the election went on, I came to actually like him and see the human inside of him -- but, putting that to one side, I don't know.

Allah discusses the implications for a Jeb Bush bid. Romney has indicated he wouldn't run if Jeb did. Does this mean that Jeb isn't running? Or does it mean that Romney had assumed Jeb would be a strong candidate but now, having seen the first few moves Jeb has made, has decided that Jeb isn't much of a candidate and so should not be the Center Right's representative in the 2016 derby?

Or does it just mean that Romney does in fact have "President Disease," as one wag put it, and won't be able to shake it until he either becomes president or is so thoroughly crushed that the idea becomes hateful to him?

I don't know. But I guess we have to start talking seriously about all this now.


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posted by Ace at 01:29 PM

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