The Blog

A Romney Revival?

3:10 PM, Jul 7, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

It seems these days, everything's coming up Romney. There's talk the two-time presidential candidate and the 2012 Republican nominee ought to run for the job again in 2016. Writing in Politico magazine, Emil Henry makes "the case for Mitt Romney" and draws comparisons to Richard Nixon's political resuscitation after eight years as vice president, a failed presidential run in 1960, and a failure to win the California governor's race two years later:

Romney recognizes well the historical odds against becoming a repeat nominee. In the film Mitt, which documents his two presidential campaigns, he is captured at a fundraiser making an “L” on his forehead to depict how a failed nominee becomes “a loser for life.” “We just brutalize whoever loses,” he says. We can assume George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain came to a similar conclusion.

Will Romney be different from these other failed nominees? Could he defy the odds and make a comeback presidential bid capturing the GOP nomination after all the doubt, second-guessing and blame that accompany such a loss? According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, many Americans seem to think so—45 percent of voters said the United States would be better off today with Romney as president.

And Romney hasn't exactly disappeared from the political scene. He's made some high-profile endorsements in this year's Senate races, including rising political star Joni Ernst of Iowa. The latest is a little more predictable, though perhaps no less effective, with the former Massachusetts governor endorsing former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown last week in the latter's bid for Senate in neighboring New Hampshire. (Like Romney, Brown lost in 2012.)

Here's a new video from the Brown campaign featuring Romney's endorsement speech, which sounds very similar to the standard Romney stump speech from 2012:

And now, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is selling bumper stickers (for $5!) featuring the old Romney 2012 logo and claiming that "Romney was right"—a pithier version of the old "don't blame me, I voted for..." standby.

"The fact that it turned out that Romney WAS right at so many issues, from Obama's saccharine approach to global threats to ObamaCare," says NRSC communications director Brad Dayspring, explaining the genesis of the bumper sticker.

In fact, the Romney vindication ship set sail as early as last fall, when BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins suggested Romney might have been "right about everything," from Russia's aggressiveness to Detroit's bankruptcy. In March, the Washington Post made a similar suggestion. The release earlier this year of Mitt, a documentary showing a softer side of Romney, won acclaim in some political circles.

So does America need Romney, now more than ever? Early polls of the unformed GOP field shows Republicans are interested in Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Paul Ryan (Romney's 2012 running mate). Most of the men on that list have made some moves that signal they're planning on running.

As for Mitt? Don't count on it. Take it from the man himself:

Asked whether he still had the presidential "bug" ahead of 2016, Romney kept the focus on Brown.

"I got the bug to help Scott — that's about it," he said.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers