After telling a group of party donors last Friday that he was seriously considering jumping into the ring for a third time to try to become US president, Mitt Romney then spent the weekend calling old chums to make sure they got the memo.
Reportedly the 67-year-old told one senior Republican that he “almost certainly will” give the White House derby one more go. Here are six random reasons why he really should not:
Mr Romney, the one-time Governor of Massachusetts, was a re-tread even in 2012. Recall that he competed in the primaries in 2008 only to be beaten out eventually by Senator John McCain. True, in 2012 he did at least secure the nomination. But if his candidacy seemed stale then, it would look positively moldy this time around. Third time does not necessarily compute to lucky.
2. Serious competition
The best thing Mr Romney had going for him in 2012 was everyone else in the Republican field. The horses got scared when Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, jumped in as an alternative establishment darling, but he flared out the night he listed three federal departments he wanted to close but could only remember two. Did anyone really think Herman Cain (pizza maker), Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum were serious White House material? This time it would be different. Leaving the conservative wing aside, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Chris Christie (former and serving governors all) have shown various levels of seriousness about running. And they’d give Romney a much better run for his money.
3. Zero Hollywood
There will be no Hollywood icons lining up to surprise delegates at the 2016 National Republican Convention. Remember when Mr Romney recruited Clint Eastwood for the job? Ouch.
It’s the fast-growing economy, stupid. In truth Mr Romney never really offered voters a real plan for fixing the US economy in 2012 (still hasn’t) but at least it was plain to all that it needed fixing and President Barack Obama had been falling down on the job. The problem now is the economy, though speckled with troublesome lacunae, is on something of a roll. Indeed, in the two years since the last election, unemployment has fallen faster than Mr Romney promised he would manage in four years. By 2016 the jobless rate may be four per cent. What would he do? Praise Mr Obama?
5. Elite status
Surely 2016 is going to be all about closing the income gap in America. Or put another way, it’s about how to find ways to help the 47 per cent catch up with the one per cent. If Mr Romney had an “elite” problem in 2012 he would still have it in 2016. And you can be sure his 47 per cent gaffe at a private donors’ dinner that nearly buried him last time would be unearthed by anyone running against him. Economic populism just isn’t a suit he would easily wear.
Mr Romney had a devil of a time getting conservatives to like him last time. In the last few days he has indicated an intention to run to right of Jeb Bush, for example taking a tougher position on immigration. But Senator Ted Cruz, the right-wing missile from Texas who is considering his own run, probably spoke for all conservatives this week when he dismissed Mr Romney as standing for the “mushy middle”. He commented: “I think recent history has shown us, that’s not a path to success. It doesn’t work. It’s a failed electoral strategy. I very much agree with President Ronald Reagan that the way we win is by painting with bold colours and not pale pastels.”Reuse content