A case of ′Mitt-agating′ circumstances? Barely three weeks after floating a trial balloon, Mitt Romney has decided not to run for president in 2016. This would have been his third try to win the White House after losing the GOP primary to John McCain in 2008 and the general election to Barack Obama in 2012. During a conference call to supporters, Romney said it was time to give ″the next generation of Republican leaders″ a chance to serve and defeat a possible run by Hillary Clinton. Friday evening, Romney had dinner with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whom apparently did not fall out of his chair for a change. I can already see Saturday Night Live having fun with that! Jeb Bush is obviously the big winner with Romney′s decision. But is it enough? Why the sudden reversal?
Some pundits are already blaming Jeb securing the services of Romney′s campaign chief from Iowa as a reason. But Romney did not fair well in Iowa in 2012, so that does not really matter. Others point to some financial supporters whom have already committed themselves to other candidates. Plausible, but I suspect that if Mitt had a good showing, the money would follow. Then we have the wild card pundits saying that Romney wants to play ′Kingmaker′ instead, a more comfortable role. Somehow I am thinking that the ghost of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, is turning in his grave on that notion.
I believe that this is simply a case of Mitt Romney being Mitt Romney. The guy is not a ′closer′, nor has he demonstrated that he is truly hungry for the job and the Big Chair. Two other notable candidates of the past who waged a third run for becoming president were Williams Jennings Bryant and Ronald Reagan. As SHEILD Agent Colson told Loki, conviction is needed to succeed. Bryant and Reagan both had conviction. Each saw the nation in peril and believed they had the solution. But Mitt Romney is like a gluten-free, salt-free pretzel coated in sugar-free white chocolate. Bland and lacking any bite.
One can argue that in 2012, Romney was undone by Chris Christie and Hurricane Sandy. But his debate performances were the real killers. In the first debate, Romney had Obama on the ropes. However, in the last two debates, Romney failed to deliver the knockout punch. All Mitt had to do was press Obama on Benghazi, even if nothing else, just demand that Obama account for his whereabouts during the attack on our consulate in Libya. We still do not know the answer to that question!
In short, when Mitt Romney announced that he was considering a third run for the White House in 2016, Romney was running his flag up the pole to see if anyone would salute it. Many did. A Fox News poll this week showed Mitt ahead of the pack of GOP contenders with 21%% with the competition at least 7-8 points behind. The same poll shows Hillary Clinton way out in front of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren with over 50% with the others stuck in the mid-teens. So while Romney had a good showing in these early polls, he certainly was as popular amongst Republicans and any campaign by him would wind up being another slug-fest much like 2008 and 2012. I think it comes down to Mitt Romney wants a coronation just as Hillary does, but Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and the rest of the Republican field were not going to roll over. So long, Mitt! Go back back to your pancakes and milk toast. Leave the fight for those who really want it.