Home/Daniel Larison/The Weird and Terrible Idea of Romney 2016

The Weird and Terrible Idea of Romney 2016

It seems that Mitt Romney isn’t done pestering us yet:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, told a meeting of donors Friday that he is considering another White House bid in 2016, people present said.

When rumors of a third Romney campaign started circulating last fall, I found it hard to take them seriously because another Romney bid is such a terrible idea. On policy, Romney had and still has absolutely nothing new or interesting to say. He has never been especially well-liked in the country, and he embodies everything that most people outside the GOP strongly dislike about the party. Even if he were fit to be president, he wouldn’t be able to win a general election.

Besides, he is a two-time loser in presidential politics, and running again would just add to the number of times that he failed to become president. The article claims that Romney’s entry into the race would “upend” it, but I’m not sure why that would be true. Very few people voted for Romney because they genuinely wanted him as the nominee. He won the nomination in no small part because he faced so little viable opposition. Running against a larger number of serious competitors would likely leave Romney back where he was in 2008 when he was throwing away lots of money for underwhelming results.

There are many substantive reasons why we absolutely shouldn’t want Romney to be president or even be in a position where he might be elected, but this seems extremely unlikely to happen at this point. Given that success is very unlikely, and since it can only harm Romney’s reputation to embark on a third losing effort, it raises the question: what could Romney and his backers be thinking? Maybe his former staffers and advisers just want to get paid, but why would Romney want to go through the process all over again? There is every chance that he would be thoroughly humiliated along the way. That might be amusing to watch at first, but it would mostly just be sad.

Outside of a small band of loyalists, I can’t imagine who in the GOP would want to go through another failed presidential campaign. The voters sent Romney a blunt message in 2012 that they didn’t want what he was selling. There is no chance that they would want a reheated version of the same stale proposals presented by a retread candidate that no one much liked the first time. Even though it makes no sense, it may be happening anyway.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles