September 7, 2014

Romney in 2016?

"My time has come and gone."

UPDATE: I wrote this post based on the squib at Talking Points Memo (where the link goes), but now I've watched the Romney interview (on "Fox News Sunday"), and I need to say that Romney clearly leaves the door open to a 2016 run. Chris Wallace tries to close the door by inviting him to make a "Shermanesque" statement, that is, to say that he would not run if nominated and would not serve if elected. I need to get the exact response from the transcript, but he absolutely does not accept the invitation.

ADDED: Wikipedia has an entry for "Shermanesque statement."

UPDATE: Now, I've got the transcript. So let's take a close look:
WALLACE: Governor, let me -- let me look to the future because voters seem willing to give you another chance. There was a "USA Today" poll just a couple weeks ago of Iowa voters in which you swamped the field there. You had 35 percent. Huckabee was second with 9 percent, and the rest of the field trailed after that. And recently, you gave an interview, and when asked about running again, you gave a whole lot of reasons why not, but then you also said circumstances can change. Question, what does that mean?

ROMNEY: Well, you know, I spoken on this topic so many times. I don't really have anything new to add, Chris. I'm not running. I'm not planning on running.
The double "I'm" = present tense. He's not now running or planning on running. Next:
I'm going to be supporting our nominee...
No exclusion of the possibility that he himself could be that nominee.
.... hopefully, a strong individual that's able to take our message to the American people and get this country back on track for the people who need help and there are a lot of people who do.
And he's been using the entire interview to present himself as exactly that "strong individual." Wallace knows he needs to pin this down:
WALLACE: But are you making a Shermanesque comment -- commitment, absolutely will not run; if nominated, will not serve? Or are there circumstances under which you would consider running again?

ROMNEY: Chris, I'm not going to add to the story. I've got nothing new for you. 
Paraphrase: Chris, you've seen through my rhetoric, and I'm not doing the Sherman statement or revealing that I would step up if drafted.
I've spoken at this time and time again.
Spoken at this is a strange locution, suggesting uneasiness, but I've gone back to the recording and think he may have said "spoken of this." He gets laugh-y and blabby at this point, though, so I'm feeling the guile.
I'm not running. I'm not planning on running. I'm going to be helping the person who takes the banner for us.
The triple "I'm." Present tense again. The "person who takes the banner" could be him.
WALLACE: Let me ask you about this a different way. In your heart, do you still think that you would make the best president of all the people out there?

ROMNEY: Look, there's no question in my mind that I think I'd have been a better president than President Obama has been. No question in my mind about that. And there are other good people who I'm sure will be able to lead the country in the future. I wish it were me.
He wants it.  "I wish it were me" implies but it's not, and yet he doesn't say that. He does proceed with:
Let me tell you, it was a great experience running for president. I loved that. But my time has come. I had -- come and gone. I had that opportunity. I ran, I didn't win. And now, it's time for someone else to pick up the baton.
It's time for someone else... but what if no one else materializes? What if the baton just lays there, unpicked up? Is he willing to pick it up? He says "time" twice, speaking in the present tense, but that leaves it open that some time from now, if no one else comes forward, he will be there, ready to serve. He would love it!

Wallace takes another approach:
WALLACE: You mentioned Hillary Clinton. Do you think you'd make a better president than Hillary Clinton?

ROMNEY: No question about that in my mind. The American people may disagree with me. But, look, you've got to get this economy going. 
At this point, I think I said out loud: He is running. He's making a pitch for why he's better than the presumptive candidate of the other party. And he's raring to go:
You have to have people who understand what it takes to create jobs and to help people come out of poverty, to help the middle class to have a better and prosperous future. You've got to have that understanding. You've also got to have people who've actually run something. The government of the United States is the largest enterprise in the world. You watched a president who just doesn't understand how to make an administration work, how to interact with Congress, how to get things done. You have to have those things. I don't think Hillary Clinton has that experience. And I look for instance at her record as secretary of state, look, her record is Barack Obama's record in foreign policy. And it's a disaster. The president went to Egypt and said we're going to have this new wonderful relationship with the Muslim world, and now, the Middle East is burning. The president won't even call the invasion by Russia into Ukraine an invasion. Look, if you can't -- if you can't speak decisively, you can't be decisive. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are two peas in the same pod. And the American people have tasted that and have said, look, that's not a good taste. It's not right for the American people.
It's as if he had his campaign speech written. Two peas in a pod, and not the kind of peas you like, either. This are the kind of peas that the American people have tasted that and have said, look, that's not a good taste. Give peas a chance. We gave peas a chance. And they were bad peas.

71 comments:

Guildofcannonballs said...

It is gross to have Romney on and then spend a couple of minutes asking "are you sure you're not running again?"

Seeing Red said...

Wise man.

chickelit said...

This will cheer the Left as they wallow in Obama.

David said...

Drudge Headline: TODD MAKES OBAMA SQUIRM

Wow! He did give him a blow job.

Original Mike said...

What could have been.

Michael K said...

Romney is more likely to be king maker but he might be interested if the candidates don't connect. The lefties at TPM in the comments sure hate him. I know how pleased they are with Choom.

The Godfather said...

Romney's right: his time has gone. He was right about a lot of things in the 2012 campaign, too, but not enough people believed him. Believe him about this!

Original Mike said...

Started reading the comments at TPM, but the hate was smoking my iPad.

Gahrie said...

Just sit back and imagine how much better off the world and the United States would be if Romney had won.


Then join me in my quest to repeal the 19th Amendment.

Unknown said...

Why can't the wealth-pocketing eternally power-hungry Clintons say such a thing?

Meade said...

LOL @ David

Unknown said...

So glad Cotton Candy Crowley intervened as a journalist should to aid our move forward with Obama.

The left need a media crutch, and they get one. USA winning.

Original Mike said...

The only way I see Romney deciding to run again is if, as we get much closer to the election, the Republican field turns out to be a disaster. It could happen, but I doubt that he wants it to.

richard mcenroe said...

Original Mike You're assuming the DC GOP and RNC want to win and become a majority party again. Assumes facts not in evidence.

Freder Frederson said...

This will cheer the Left as they wallow in Obama.

Why will this cheer the left. If Romney ran and got the nomination, he would lose again.

Freder Frederson said...

The only way I see Romney deciding to run again is if, as we get much closer to the election, the Republican field turns out to be a disaster.

And Romney would improve on said disaster how exactly?

glenn said...

What the folks driving the Romney boomlet need to understand is that nobody named Mitt is ever going to be elected President. It's one of those Country Club, monogrammed blazer names.

T J Sawyer said...

He doesn't just leave the door open to a 2016 run, he steps up to it and tries to block it off:

“This goes on and on,” Romney said. “This lands at the feet of Hillary Clinton."

YoungHegelian said...

If Romney ran and got the nomination, he would lose again.

This is one of those rare occasions I have to agree with Freder.

Romney lost the election because 5 million white people who voted for McCain/Palin stayed home & didn't vote for him.

The Republicans chose the one Republican on the planet who couldn't criticize ObamaCare. Romney was from Massachusetts, of all places. Do you know what Southerners & Westerners think of Massachusetts? Also, he is Mormon, which, let's be honest, is a faith that many other folks (in this particular case, conservative Christians) are rather uneasy about.

I like & admire the man personally, and did vote for him, but he's not the man to win a nationwide election. It's time to move on.

chickelit said...

What the folks driving the Romney boomlet need to understand is that nobody named Mitt is ever going to be elected President. It's one of those Country Club, monogrammed blazer names.

Damned tribalism. It just proves that Americans will never again elect leaders with funny-sounding first names.

gadfly said...

The 2012 run dented his massive fortune and otherwise irrepressible ego, so he will not run again - Thank God!

gadfly said...

The 2012 run dented his massive fortune and otherwise irrepressible ego, so he will not run again - Thank God!

Original Mike said...

"And Romney would improve on said disaster how exactly?"

I was merely speaking to Romney's motivation, not how the election would play out.

Humperdink said...

Mitt had his chance, blew it by running a weak campaign. Really, was just a terrible candidate.Time to move on.

Freder Frederson said...

Romney lost the election because 5 million white people who voted for McCain/Palin stayed home & didn't vote for him.

The decrease in turnout for Democrats was even greater from 2008 to 2012. So, it is ridiculous to claim that Romney would have won only if those people had gotten off their butts.

YoungHegelian said...

@Freder,

So, it is ridiculous to claim that Romney would have won only if those people had gotten off their butts.

No, not at all. If the Democrats had their 2012 turnout & the Republicans someone who "fired up the base" a bit more, the Repubs would have won. That was actually the "standard model" for projecting how the Republicans could win.

It didn't happen that way, but it's not a "ridiculous" scenario at all.

chickelit said...

We gave peas a chance. And they were bad peas.

Visualize Whirled Peas

Original Mike said...

"My time has come and gone."

I know how he feels.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why will this cheer the left. If Romney ran and got the nomination, he would lose again."

I'm old enough to remember thinking it was ridiculous that Nixon would try to get the nomination a second time, completely impossible for him to win.

1. Romney is a much more appealing candidate than Nixon ever was.

2. Romney learned a lot from the experience.

3. Romney has gotten some excellent press, including that nice documentary, the sort of thing that was withheld when he was in the running last time and needed to be crushed.

4. Hillary has also run and lost before. She's an even bigger loser, and she's associated with what many see as a failed administration. If people want to get way from the loser, she's the bigger loser.

Michael K said...

"The only way I see Romney deciding to run again is if, as we get much closer to the election, the Republican field turns out to be a disaster. "

I agree. The biggest problem with the 2012 campaign that I see was the late convention. This is old Richard Nixon wisdom that nobody pays attention until Labor Day. The Democrats savaged Romney all summer and he could not respond because he was not yet the nominee. I see that Prebius has corrected that error this year.

I doubt he will run but nobody should expect "Shermanesque statements." Sherman hated politics and politicians, especially after seeing what happened to Grant who was a good and honest man.

richard mcenroe said...

The GOP model for turning out their base involves attacking their base, their beliefs, their demands, their lifestyle and acting in direct contradiction to their base's vital interests.

I'm not sure they're using "turning out" in the normal political sense here. It might be a more vulgar utilization.

Original Mike said...

I'll say it again, even though it will probably elicit another snarky comment from light-bulb-boy. I doubt Romney wants to run, but he understands that events may transpire that the Republican field is awful. So he follows the precept of "Never say never."

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

If there is a good and loving God, Romney will run again. For the almighty to tease us so openly with this potential miracle only to later snatch it away would be unequivocal evidence that evil rules this universe.

Xmas said...

I don't think he's making a play to be a candidate for president. He is offering to be an advisor or take a cabinet level post.

Alex said...

I find it breathtaking that conservatives refuse to acknowledge the demographic shift away from white male voters to less white, less male voters. It's only going to get worse for the GOP starting now. If the GOP wants to win the white house in 2016 they better nominate someone of color and maybe female.

Hagar said...

Well, that interview should put to rest any ideas anyone might have had about Chris Wallace being any sort of conservative or slanted towards anything Republican.

I don't know about a hatchet job, but it certainly got the job done with hatpins and poison!

Ann Althouse said...

Romney can't openly run. He has to let a process play out and wait to be drafted.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
Romney can't openly run. He has to let a process play out and wait to be drafted.


We are waiting for the hand of God to put into motion great forces that will unequivocally prove his existence.

Original Mike said...

"If there is a good and loving God, Romney will run again."

Romney against Hillary!? I wouldn't count your chickens.

RecChief said...

I think Mitt would do a lot more for America as head of the VA or FEMA. Maybe the Red Cross.

RecChief said...

where is the right up on Chuck Todd/ Obama? Thought you were an MTP viewer Althouse.

Freder Frederson said...

1. Romney is a much more appealing candidate than Nixon ever was.

It's not 1972 anymore. Nixon's silent majority is no longer a majority. Nixon actually had pretty staggering accomplishments during his first term (some of which, e.g., reaching out to China, establishing the EPA, were not conservative at all). Romney's significant achievement as Governor was Romney care. He can't run on that.

Regardless, I don't know why you think Romney is so appealing. Part of his problem is he comes off like a rich douchebag. I know you thing that is appealing, but a lot of people are turned off by it.

2. Romney learned a lot from the experience.

Really? Give some examples.

3. Romney has gotten some excellent press, including that nice documentary, the sort of thing that was withheld when he was in the running last time and needed to be crushed.

First off this is just typical right wing conspiracy theory and paranoia. "Romney was a great candidate but the evil MSM conspired to crush him." What utter bullshit.

Secondly, I doubt anyone who didn't vote for Romney bothered to watch "Mitt". And if they did, I doubt the reaction was, "gee, I wish I voted for that guy."

4. Hillary has also run and lost before. She's an even bigger loser, and she's associated with what many see as a failed administration. If people want to get way from the loser, she's the bigger loser.

Can't argue with that.

Michael K said...

"I find it breathtaking that conservatives refuse to acknowledge the demographic shift away from white male voters to less white, less male voters."

Yes, they are just stuck on that competency thing. We have such great examples of minority governance to compare. And Fauxcahontas is the ideal female candidate, if Hillary is too old of course.

Democrats are not into competence so it's not a problem for you.

whitney said...

The one and only bumper sticker on my 17 year old car with 300,000 + miles is Romney for Pres. I'd like him to run again, and win, so my car can go down a winner. It's been a good car.

wildswan said...

Good point about Hilary has also run and lost before. But I think events will take a hand in determining who looks good in 2015. Events like the rise of ISIS, the Central American children and other consequences of Democrat policy - the consequences will affect which Republican looks good.

chickelit said...

Alex, the commenter with more polar credentials than Santa Claus, wrote:

I find it breathtaking that conservatives refuse to acknowledge the demographic shift away from white male voters to less white, less male voters. It's only going to get worse for the GOP starting now. If the GOP wants to win the white house in 2016 they better nominate someone of color and maybe female.

Alex said...

Bash me all you want. I'm just the messenger of truth.

Bruce Hayden said...

Romney does have some allure for his competence, intelligence, and hard work, esp compared to the incompetent, rather dim, lazy Obama. But, he wouldn't be running against Obama, but, at best, his disastrous legacy. Hillary!, at least, is not dumb or lazy. And probably could find more competent underlings than the gross incompetents that Obama brought in, if she just went with her husband's people. One big advantage he would have, I think, over her is energy. And, he has aged much better.

Still, I don't think that he will be drafted. A lot of high caliber, and maybe not so high caliber, Republicans are looking at running: Ryan, Perry, Paul, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, etc. Sure they can find some women too probably one or two governors (probably not Palin though). Most of them would probably show quite well against the Dems first team of oldsters (Hillary!, Slo Joe Binen, and maybe fauxhauntis Warren).

Alex said...

GOP - the too white party. So white, they should be the party of leisure suits.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Romney is playing at being the stalking horse for the eventual nominee. If the Democrats attack him, and he's not the nominee, then that's ammunition spent to no effect. And if they don't attack him, then perhaps he does become the nominee. It defeats the purpose of being a stalking horse to make the denials to unequivocal.

But what does Romney really want? I suspect he wants to be Secretary of State. That's why he is hammering on foreign policy. His second bid is for Secretary of Treasury, that's why he brings up jobs.

Michael K said...

"So white, they should be the party of leisure suits."

It's funny to see the left seeking color for color's sake. No concept of competence as that is not on your agenda. I have an essay that is probably racist but was written by a high school teacher in a black school. At one point he asks his unruly class what they would do if all white people disappeared. The answer, honest at least, was "We be fucked. "

Indians and Asians are good at science and math but we do not have good examples of governance on their part. The Japanese have done pretty well after MacArthur set them on track but their recent economic history is not promising.

American history is not a good source of your premise. Detroit ? Baltimore ? New York without Rudy ? California is edging toward disaster. The Legislature is a cesspool of conflict of interest with two convicted felons still serving.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Romney will run again. The last time he did, a lot of evangelicals sat out the election.

If he does run, he probably walks away with the nomination quite easily.

dreams said...

The liberal media and the culture elites have realized how much power they have over the low information voters, the uninformed people who get to decide who is our president so I don't think a Republican will ever get elected president again until something really bad happens. It will take something so bad that even the elite liberals will feel threatened and by then it might too late to save our democracy.

mccullough said...

The GOP senators are a joke. Cruz, Rubio, and Paul have no experience. Let them govern a state first. Nothing's easier than being a senator. Obama has been a disaster and these three stooges have the same problem he did: no experience. Implementing ideas is very difficult. Spouting bullshit is very easy.

Fandor said...

Don't underestimate the governor.
Mitt Romney is coming back.
And, he is coming back STRONG!

The question is: Is the American electorate sick and tired of the failed policies of the Left/Obama/Clinton
regimes, FICKLE FIRSTS (first black president, first woman president, ect. ect.) and the decline of American industry, inventivness and influence in shaping world events.

As President Reagan said,"If we lose freedom here, there is no place else to escape to."

We need a president who will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
For the moment, Mitt Romney is the only one interested is doing just that and with the qualifications to succeed.

Remember it took three tries for Ronald Reagan and America to wake up.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"I find it breathtaking that conservatives refuse to acknowledge the demographic shift away from white male voters to less white, less male voters. It's only going to get worse for the GOP starting now. If the GOP wants to win the white house in 2016 they better nominate someone of color and maybe female."

Maybe, but maybe not. The contention that American demographics changed that dramatically in eight short years (2004-2012) seems dubious.
What isn't doubtful is that both McCain and Romney were crappy at hardball politics and were uninspiring candidates to say the least. Also the GOP's ground game is 20th century at best, and fails to recognize that the Free Stuff voter cares only about, well, free stuff.
The message means less than how it's targeted.

Brando said...

Romney has no chance--the relatively positive press he's gotten since 2012 is not the sort of press one gets when they're back in the ring. I like him and thought he'd be a good president but I'm not in the majority. Somehow, plenty of Republicans actually preferred Newt or Santorum, so they must have hated Romney. And somehow liberals and some moderates preferred that arrogant jerk we still have in the White House. This country then deserves what we gave ourselves, now we have to take it hard.

Not that Romney was a good campaigner--he just wasn't experienced enough at campaigning to hit hard and form a good image for himself. If the GOP candidate is going to win in 2016, they'll have to be great at that and have a top drawer team. The Dems won't play nice, and if it's Hillary they'll play dirty.

libertariansafetyguy said...

Good think Candy Crowley interviews and saved the Republic... no, saved the world... from this highly intelligent and effective leader. I hope he removed her from his binders full of otherwise competent women.

libertariansafetyguy said...

Ugh - auto correct changed intervened to interviewed. Daggonit.

Douglas said...

Prof. Althouse,
Romney was a bad candidate for many reasons, one of which was his inability to campaign against ObamaCare because of his role in creating RomneyCare in Massachusetts. I don't see how that has changed at all.
My view is that the Republicans need a candidate who can go for the jugular and do it in a way that doesn't leave any fingerprints. That wasn't Romney and it won't ever be Romney.

Anonymous said...

"Let me tell you, it was a great experience running for president. I loved that. But my time has come. I had -- come and gone. I had that opportunity. I ran, I didn't win. And now, it's time for someone else to pick up the baton."

This is enough for me to believe he won't run this time around.

But I do think he wants to be a part of the process. To help be king maker. To put his seal of approval on someone.

And then get a job in that administration.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

"I find it breathtaking that conservatives refuse to acknowledge the demographic shift away from white male voters to less white, less male voters."

Shhhh! They think they're having a substantive conversation and I really need the entertainment right now. Check out the racists:

Michael K,

"Yes, they are just stuck on that competency thing. We have such great examples of minority governance,.."

Oh man, for them to think they have a chance at winning elections talking like that - while exposing their ignorance of history and their own role in it - that's all the fun I get anymore.

Please, for me, let them speak at length and undeterred,...

AMDG said...

Romney would be an outstanding President. Unfortunately, he is a lackluster candidate.

rcocean said...

The Nixon Romney comparison is a bad one. Nixon was a national figure (VP, Senator, Alger Hiss, etc) with plenty of foreign policy experience. He barely lost the 1960 election and more importantly he was the only viable (R) candidate in 1968 that could have united both the Goldwater and Rockefeller wings of the Party.

Romney is just a one term Gov of Massachusetts. He failed in 2008 and got the 2012 nomination under the "Its his turn" rule that (R's) live by. He doesn't have anything that a half-dozen other establishment candidate won't have in 2016.

rcocean said...

Of course, the Republicans are dumb, aren't they?

So its possible. I can't imagine any of the Republicans and working class democrats who stayed home in 2012 changing their minds and voting for Mitt in 2016. Plus, Hilary could run as the "Safe" "Conservative" Democrat after 8 years of Obama.

Michael K said...

"while exposing their ignorance of history and their own role in it - that's all the fun I get anymore."

I would love to hear your history of successful minority governments.

Michael K said...

I think Bobby Jindal would be a good prospect depending on his oratorical skills, which seem to have improved.

Revenant said...

He doesn't have anything that a half-dozen other establishment candidate won't have in 2016.

Well, technically he does have one thing the other candidates don't: a proven ability to lose even when the Democratic incumbent has no popular accomplishments and the economy stinks.

Anonymous said...

I strongly suspect that assuming Susana Martinez wins re-election in 2014 as Gov. of NM (the First Republican Gov of NM, no less) she is definitely going to be in the mix for the GOP nomination.

But if the GOP is stupid enough to nominate a member of the House or Senate, then the GOP will lose in 2016 again.
Someone with a record of governing is needed for the GOP to beat Hillary (quick, name one achievement she had as Secretary of State, or name one achievement she had as a Senator from New York)?

Peter said...

He might have been a good president, but he was not a good campaigner.

Then again, Richard Nixon came back after his defeat in 1960...

Bruce Hayden said...

As to the whiteness of the Republican candidates - last election the Republicans arguably had twice as many as the Dems, given that Obama is only half Black (at best - maybe less so, if Barack Omama Sr was not his biological father). And Dr Carson sure sounds like he is running this time. Through in Govs Haley and Jindel, and maybe Martinez, and there is likely far more "color" on the Republican side this next Presidential election than on the Democratic side. What major Dem with any chance at winning has any certifiable minority blood whatsoever? Hillary? Biden? Warren? Cuomo? Etc.