Well, Mitt Romney apparently thinks what the country needs is Mitt Romney, and so he is, as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest deadpanned Tuesday, “considering getting the band back together again.”
He’s calling his old donors and telling them to keep their mouths and their wallets shut, contacting former operatives and telling them he’s going operational, and generally signaling he’s about to inflict another campaign on us.
The White House has contempt for lots of people, but one can certainly excuse its contempt for Romney, who lost to Obama in 2012 even though the sitting president was presiding over a lousy economy, had jammed through Congress an unpopular signature policy – Obamacare – and was losing his grip on an increasingly disordered and violent world.
Romney, who lacks a seriousness about conservatism, can only claim that he’d somehow run the country better than anyone else, which makes little sense since he ran his general election campaign worse than anyone else. The Democrats beat him soundly by every measure – voter targeting, getting out the vote, use of social media, canvassing, and so forth. Sure, he’d bring more discipline to running the government than Obama, but that’s like saying your mother-in-law would be better company at breakfast than a puff adder. Of course she would.
Romney, as everyone says, is a good and decent man who cares about this country. And the fact is, he could win the nomination. Conservatives who say it’s wonderful having Romney in the race too, along with Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, because it will divide moderates in the same the conservative vote was divided last time are kidding themselves. They should watch what they wish for, because they may just get Romney.
Mitt has a kind of “daddy” appeal, in that the country has been run so irresponsibly that voters will want the comfort of someone who seems mature and experienced. That is, after years of being fooled by that cad Obama, they’ll finally go running home to daddy.
Romney knows the ropes. This is very important. Republican nominees are almost always on their second or third go-round running for president. Romney will learn from his mistakes. He has lots of material to draw from.
But he might well lose the general election, because that’s what moderate Republicans do. The only Republicans to win in the last thirty four years were Reagan, George H.W. Bush – who though a moderate was elected to Reagan’s third term and then lost next time – and George W. Bush, who seemed pretty severely conservative to everyone in 2000, though he turned out a little less so than anticipated.
American voters want to be inspired. They like people with principles. This is a country founded on an idea, and Americans like to vote for presidents with ideas and, yes, ideologies. Compassionate conservatism at least sounded like an ideology. Obama surely has an ideology, which, even if not one most Americans agree with, made him appealing in a way.
But everyone knows Romney, who invented Obamacare, is in his heart a moderate. The very model of a “practical man.” He ran mainly on opposition to Obama in 2012, something a real conservative would never do.
What would be the point of putting the country on hold for four or eight years while Romney tinkers around? American needs, as someone once put it, fundamental change.
Fundamental change back to the vision of a group of radicals who introduced the unheard-of concept of minimum interference from the ruler and maximum freedom for the ruled.
Back to the vision of the Founding Fathers. Those are the daddies we need to run to.