If there’s one topic I get wrong more often than anyone else, it’s Mitt Romney.
I thought he would win the nomination and then the presidency in 2008, and I proudly predicted that “‘Hail to the Chief’ will play for President Mitt Romney in January of 2009.” I was wrong.
I later thought he would win the presidency in 2012 in a landslide. I was very wrong.
And, more recently, I assured you with whatever inside baseball contacts I have left that there was absolutely no way he would run in 2016.
So I’m done pretending that anything I say about Mitt Romney will hold water. But I’m going to say a few things anyway, and Romney fans, including me, should all hope that I’m just as wrong about him as I have ever been.
Mitt is going to run, and he’s going to lose.
He’s not even going to get close to getting the nomination this time around. He may linger like a hard-boiled egg left in a gym locker the way Santorum did last time around, but voters will very quickly sour on him, and he will embarrass himself and squander all the good will he’s generated since the last election.
I do not want this outcome, but this outcome is so transparently obvious that I’m left to wonder why Mitt doesn’t see it himself.
Remember, this is the guy who was excoriated for flip-flopping all over the place, and he’s spent two years saying “no, absolutely not, no, no, no, no.” And now it’s a yes. What’s his rationale for running? Well, Mitt says “I want to be president.” The guy’s 67, in good health, and has all the money in the world and nothing better to do. That’s pretty much it.
And his new platform? Well, now he’s all about lifting people out of poverty – good – and global warming – pfft.
I do not get it. At all.
Peggy Noonan sums it up better than I do.
Romney enthusiasts like to compare him with Ronald Reagan, who ran three times. This is technically true… [but the] real Romney-Reagan difference is this: There was something known as Reaganism. It was a real movement within the party and then the nation. Reaganism had meaning. You knew what you were voting for. It was a philosophy that people understood. Philosophies are powerful. They carry you, and if they are right and pertinent to the moment they make you inevitable.
There is no such thing as Romneyism and there never will be. Mr. Romney has never encompassed a philosophical world. He has never become the symbol of an attitude toward government, or an approach to freedom or fairness. “Romneyism” is just “Mitt should be president.” That is not enough.
Mitt should be president. But he will not be president. And he shouldn’t run, because he will lose.
I really hope this isn’t the first time I turn out to be right.