As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Romney’s Rousing – and Cruel – Last Hurrah

It’s a remarkable thing in politics how fortunes change and how just a smal twist of fate can completely alter a politician’s trajectory and the future of the nation.

During the 2008 Republican convention, I went into a large restroom in the stadium soon before John McCain was to give his acceptance speech. In walked a guy who looked familiar. I thought, Isn’t that . . . ?

At first nobody recognized him. But after a bit, someone did. “Hello Senator,” the person said, addressing former Sen. George Allen of Virginia.

As you may remember, in 2006, Allen was cruising toward a easy reelection until he insulted an Indian-American opposition operative by using an apparent slur, “Macaca.”

He went on to defeat in an campaign that was expected to be a springboard to an auspicious drive for the Republican nomination in 2008.

This whole convention could have been his. This moment, that of the acceptance speech, his crowning as the Republican standard bearer. Instead, there he was in the men’s room, barely noticed.

Romney wavesMitt Romney this afternoon arrived on stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting, which I was covering, to a  sincerely felt roar and a standing ovation. The packed house then listened intently and regularly punctuated his remarks with thunderous applause.

Romney was gracious and tried to be upbeat – “I utterly reject pessimism” – describing leaders who represent the future of conservatism and, perhaps, the republic. Classy as always, he tipped his hat to his former running mate – “I applaud the clear and convincing voice of my friend Paul Ryan” – evincing none of the chilliness that often develops between running mates who lose.

And he talked about his abiding passion and true his reason for running: America’s greatness and the need to preserve it. For him, the quest for the presidency wasn’t so much about conservatism, it was about the country. But that cost him, because GOP voters know the nation needs conservatism.

It was, of course, not the speech to CPAC Romney wanted to give. He had hoped to be preceded by the sounds of “Hail to the Chief” and deliver a bold assertion of his plans to resurrect a nation staggering at home and increasingly disrespected around the world.

“I’m sorry I won’t be your president, but I will be your co-worker and and work shoulder to shoulder alongside you,” he said.

That’s unlikely.

CPAC really seemed to love him only in defeat. His reception was far louder, for example, than that given today to Bobby Jindal, who supposedly represents the future. But Jindal hasn’t proven himself to the public yet either as a man or a politician. Romney has demonstrated at least the former – that he’s a gentleman who loves his country.

Many polls were wrong last year, and President Obama pulled out what to Republicans and Romney himself was surprising win amidst a presidency pockmarked buy failures.

And so fate made its fickle will known, and Romney was here today not to begin his presidency, but to bid farewell.

50 Responses to Romney’s Rousing – and Cruel – Last Hurrah

  1. The pain of “what could have been.” Given the fact that we had a choice of two people last November – no other wishing could make it otherwise – Romney would have certainly been a much better President that the current occupant. It’s doubtful that he would have gotten much past the brain dead and lazy liberal Senate leaders who control that chamber but it certainly would have been much more productive than it currently is. But, we’re stuck with a true waste of an opportunity who is fueling the tailspin of our great country. Unfortunately, our grandkids will look up to us, after we come home from work at the office at the age of 76, or 79, or 83 wondering why we haven’t stopped working and ask us how we could have been so stupid to vote for socialism.

  2. Romney is a good human being, great business person, a gentleman, sadly in a time of sound bite candidates. The reception to Jindal is not unexpected. He has done good things but, lets be honest. The CPAC crowd is not ready to support a candidate of Indian heritage. Their reaction/reception would be polite but they would not vote for him without some substantial, pack breaking accomplishment.

  3. I knew Mitt Romney wasn’t a conservative from the beginning, and he was the last person on my list of candidates. Once he was nominated I grew to respect him and thought he really could turn this country around. Sadly, he listened to the Republican consultants who totally changed his direction to moderate establishment mode after the first debate. Romney never again questioned Benghazi after he was ambushed in the second debate. By the third debate, I couldn’t tell the difference between them on foreign policy.

    Mr. Romney is a good man and he would have made a good president. I was heartbroken when he lost the election. In my opinion he lost because he listened to the Republican consultants. Pat Caddell ripped the Republican consultants into shreds at CPAC, and mysteriously no video or audio of his speech is available. Good thing Rush discussed Caddell’s speech on his show today…

  4. Just reading your words makes me sad, Keith, especially the last line. I try not to look back – couldn’t bear to watch Mitt today as my heart is still broken. The contrast between good and evil has never been so stark. Mitt, the do-gooder; Obama, the domestic terrorist. Humility vs. narcissism. The list goes on.

    They say that ‘when God closes a door, He opens a window’. For me, that ‘door’ was the re-election of Obama; the ‘window’ was the election of Pope Francis – an authentic man of the people. It will be interesting to watch the dynamics between the Leader of the Catholic Church, a humble man and assumed the vows of poverty, and the Leader of the Free World, a egomaniacal narcissist, who took the Oath of hyprocisy, self-indulgence and greed. We shall see.

  5. None of this is about Mitt Romney…it’s about the fact that most of us still want to believe that Santa comes down the chimney and leaves lots of shiny things under the tree.

  6. Keith:
    Congratulations on getting officially noticed.

    I see the sidebar is an ad for “Support President Obama’s Agenda” paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

    Looks like Big Brother is keeping an eye on you. Keep up the good work.

  7. What a nice piece – a pleasant read. Thanks Keith. As long as we are reflecting…

    “And so fate made its fickle will known.” True, if you define fate as the will of the American people. Many wonder, what it, what America, would have looked like had McCain (or any Republican) had served the last four years. Better? Full tilt recovery? All good?

    The difficulty, the reality – one can only guess what “would have happened”, what decisions “would have been made” with respect to the fiscal meltdown, and any resulting recovery.

    Ole RT is labeled here for sure. So, ever wonder what “we” see / feel / observe? Many of us who are center and center left often get tired / amused by the relentless whining / bashing / whining / bashing… More often than not, a conversation is simply not possible – not even wanted…

    IMHO, no one has a clue what “should have been done” for any President entering office in 2009… Forget assigning / allocating blame… Just look at the preceding 7 months worth of economic data… In aerodynamic terms, we were in a flat spin… Stick pressed forward and a lot of left rudder? Sorry Goose… So were all of the other airplanes around the world…

    The right wing / far right / Tea Party / Libertarian – label du jour… All you get for a fix is grow / maintain national defense budget, cut spending everywhere else, reduce regulation, and lower taxes – the “market” will take care of everything… Sounds great. Wonder how that would have worked out… What? Great you say? America would have bucked up, strapped in, and would have risen to the occasion? Yeah, OK. Sure. Why not. I have a guess how those policies would have played out, but we’ll never ‘really” know.

    So, the beatings continue. President Obama is doing a remarkably terrible job at being a socialist. The “machine” that is free enterprise is flush with cash and have record profits. We all know the 1% number on the wealth index… Wonder what’s broke behind the curtains… Most folks that comment regularly on this Blog can say well: we woulda, shoulda, coulda done better had we “won in 2008” and “done things right” – whatever those “things” are. We “coulda” been at 4.0% unemployment, had a balanced budget, and retired our deficit had “we” only won in 2008. Yeah. Sure thing. Same for 2012.

    Fine. What those who post here are not saying, what they never say, never articulate, never explain, never posit, or otherwise engage in civil debate or discourse is:

    “WHY”. Why the right wing grand fiscal / economic / geopolitical policies would work better than those this administration has and is implementing. Oh, that takes work and may require an adjustment in approach, attitude, understanding, beliefs, world view, political leaning – you know – change…better to rant and bash…

    A plug, I hope Keith does not mind (the likelihood someone read this far is marginal at best anyway).

    Want to debate? Read some good stuff? Comment? Learn? Ask? Reflect? Ponder? Dive Deeper? Do have a peek. You should hear the screams…

    ~ RT

    • RT:

      Some of us do read all the way to the bottom, and find we get a more diverse education from the comments in many articles than from the articles themselves (more diverse foundations of information).

      And many of us appreciate good-natured humor, education, enlightenment, and the truth, no matter where it may lead.

      • @Gracemc: Agreed. How sad. The poor creatures and wonks who actually read that “technical stuff” so they can “try” to make some sense of the world around them… Pitiful, hopeless little creatures economists are… I am suitably spanked…

        For a more enlightened read, we can read you gracemc…

        *** Grace on Immigration Policy ***
        gracepmc November 7, 2012 at 3:42 am
        The fault is not with Romney who is a good man who loves this country and wanted to try and save her. The fault lies with every American.illegal and fraudulent voter who wanted obama as president. This will be a vulgar 4 years and barrack obama will dance on Americas grave.

        *** Grace on Constitutional Law & Citizenry ***
        gracepmc November 7, 2012 at 9:42 am
        Yeah, how sad it is that some of us will fight to defend the constitution, limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom.

        *** My fav – Grace demonstrating her vast knowledge of economics and market conditions… ***

        gracepmc November 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm
        Well, the Revenge President feels that he has his mandate from the blacks, hispanics, women for abortion and contraception, and assorted catholics and other takers and hypocrites and therefore higher taxes are part of his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. So, the takers are in control of economic policy and the market responded accordingly.

        • What an arrogant, small and nasty person you are. How much time you must you have on your hands, to go back and pull quotes from old threads, just to mock and ridicule another poster.

  8. Romney is that rare thing, maybe non-existent in Washington and certainly non-existent in the current WH, a decent man. It’s a disturbing thought that maybe the majority in this country does not value decency. Romney and Ryan were so decent that they couldn’t comprehend that anyone would not be, and so they angered me when they in their turn called the current occupant of the WH a decent man.

  9. How sad. Imagine this country could be on the road back to greatness, instead we slide further into mediocrity with Affirmative Action Barry at the helm, ready to blame others for his blunders.

  10. Some of these comments beg the question, “What are we – 12?”
    I voted for Romney – he lost by whatever means – it is over. If we keep looking back, we will never see where we sre going.
    Buck up, people – 2014 is right around the corner and we need to get our ducks in a row right now.

  11. The only people who never learned the lesson were the rich, elite, martini-clinking, cocaine-sniffing RINOs in the beltway haughtily laughing after Romney destroyed yet another conservative in the primaries. Using his massive war chest he attacked not the issues, but the character of each candidate and destroyed them peicemeal. But there was no foundation. Only cash, bank accounts, and drunk RINOs tweeting after each conservative defeat.

    Like Ford, Bush II, Dole, Romney was sold to the electorate as a conservative and was anything but. An anti-gun, pro-government Socialist, Romney was an inarticulate speaker, hamstrung by pedigree and unable to clearly define anything, having surrounded himself with the usual staid, rich, elite liberals, not a single conservative among his ranks. He was rewarded with a crushing defeat in 2012.

    Tom Landry stated in 1976 after the Cowboys had been beaten by the Steelers in the Super Bowl. Landry would return the next year and defeat the Denver Bronco’s:

    It is only in defeat where character is built. It is only in defeat where one can truly learn from past mistakes.

    Rand Paul 2016.

    • Funding comes from Congress, not the Executive Branch. Obama had nothing to do with aid to Israel. Obama has yet to send down a budget, although it is required by law for him to do so. So the funding didn’t come from Obama, it came from the representatives of the American people.

  12. The GOP needs to take a step back and re-evaluate how they select a candidate to run on their ticket. The 2012 election was a mismanaged cattle call. While the debates were good, after the first 89 or 90, they all sounded the same.

    The GOP should divide the country into 4 primary elections, with each primary having states from each section of the country to avoid regional candidates. The elections should be in either 4 successive weeks or every other week. By following this method, the primaries are over in about 8 weeks and a candidate should be identified. I realize the risk of not having a selected candidate and may be down to 2 finalists (maybe even 3) but that is a risk worth taking. Each primary would probably weed out candidates so by the final one, only a couple will remain.

    Once done, the top candidate can select a VP candidate and then focus on starting to get their message out to the general population with the convention used to broadcast to the country as a whole. The convention should also be cut down to no more than 2 1/2 or 3 days.

    By doing this, you spend more time focusing on the general population versus just those who vote in the GOP primaries.