Mitt Romney Hints He'll Run For President, Again, And It's Not The Worst Idea
It's tough to know when to run for president, isn't it? With the political mood of the moment so central to a candidate's success, if you miss your chance to win the White House, it might never come around again. Which is probably what former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney thought after the 2012 election, in fact — hard loss, grueling race, and the dream is dead. But now, there are rumors things could change: Mitt Romney's been hinting about a 2016 presidential run, and if you're a Republican, your reaction should probably be "yes, please."
However comparatively less exciting a third Romney run sounds, Romney has a network of supporters and experience making it through the Republican National Convention that his ostensible opponents can't claim. Basically, the field of GOP candidates that everyone anticipates in 2016 is a pretty ideologically varied bunch — Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul don't have too much in common with Gov. Chris Christie, for example, and yet all three have drawbacks that could hurt their primary or general election chances.
And Romney would be entering at a time when the whole world seems intent on making him look good — his widely laughed-off 2012 claim that Russia is America'a "No. 1 geopolitical foe," for example, which looks a lot sharper following the annexation of Crimea and unrest in Ukraine.
For Romney, the about-face on the 2016 question has been noticeable, and it's whipped up a ton of support within GOP circles. And, honestly, it isn't that crazy. Here's how Mitt's been dropping some hints lately, according to the Washington Post — doesn't this sound like a man being seduced by the opportunity?
- For over a year, Romney flatly rejected the 2016 suggestion, with responses like "Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no," in January to The New York Times.
- But by July, the groundswell to convince him otherwise was fully underway. Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz told MSNBC's Chris Matthews he expected Romney to run.
- By August, the former Massachusetts governor's responses were getting a little less direct and a little more teasing. When quizzed on his plans in Virginia, he deferred to past comments, saying "I've actually answered that one a lot of times."
- On Aug. 22, Romney appeared with his former running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, at a signing for the latter's new book. Perhaps feeling comfortable given his proximity to Romney during the last race, Ryan seemed to get behind the Mitt 2016 talk, teasing the assembled audience: "As you see how things have gone, I think we’re at an ‘I told you so’ moment. Mitt is being vindicated on foreign policy and on domestic policy. I think people are seeing that his projections were correct and the kind of person he is."
- Finally, on Aug. 26, Romney told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that "circumstances could change," the first verbal admission that, yeah, maybe I could run for president again. A subsequent appearance by his wife Ann Romney on Fox News, as well as reports on Romney toeing the waters have all but made it clear — he's mulling it over, so we'll have to wait and see.
Of course, there's absolutely no guarantee that the path for Romney would be any easier a third time around. He's never been a particularly charismatic or evocative politician, and the marks against him politically — a sense of detachment, his extreme wealth, and his hard-right, politically toxic push he made in 2012 GOP primaries, especially on immigration — would no doubt follow him if he jumped back in. That said, however, I can't honestly think of a better shot the GOP has in 2016, and at this point it may depend on whether Romney sees it that way too. You can Practically see the hashtag now: #MittsIt2016!
Images: Getty Images (3)