January 30, 2015

"Those who have been helping Romney make up his mind say there are three factors in favor of a run, and two factors against."

Explains Mark Halperin at Bloomberg:
The main rationale on the “go” side is Mitt and Ann Romney’s strongly held conviction that no one in the current field would make a better president. 
I scoff at that view.
Critics in both parties and the press may scoff at this view, but the Romneys believe it to their core and thus feel Mitt has an obligation to his country to once again shoulder the mantle....
Well, of course, they believe it. Don't all candidates get themselves into that frame of mind — on top of the vanity and the desire for power? Oh, maybe some candidates don't look ahead to the actual presidency and only consider whether they'd be best at getting elected (and competent enough at doing the job to which they'll be elected). But I doubt they admit that's what they're doing. For example, Obama excels at running for office, and famously falls back on his candidate persona to get through rough times as he serves out his terms, but I doubt that he ever says to his confidante's: I was such a wonderful candidate, but I've got to admit that Hillary would have made a better President.

(Does one really "shoulder" a "mantle"? A "mantle" is some kind of cloak or robe. Figuratively, it's "Anything which enfolds, enwraps, or encloses as a mantle; an immaterial thing likened to or described as a covering" or "A duty or position of responsibility, authority, leadership, etc., esp. one assumed or inherited by one person from another." (OED.) Assume the mantle is a more apt expression. "Shoulder" creates the image of carrying something something heavy. Not that the candidacy isn't heavy, just that the imagery of shouldering the mantle is incoherent. End of language rant! Sorry, but I feel I have an obligation to the internet to poke at the corpses of dead metaphors.)
The second factor... is a host of emphatically encouraging poll results....
I've always heard that early polls mostly register name recognition. If Romney doesn't get out of the way, the others don't get to build their name recognition. But let me be clear: I'm not against Romney's running. I wrote about the idea of Mitt running last April, when there was a rumor that Romney would run IF Jeb Bush did not. And I was pretty encouraging: "If the donors get behind Mitt Romney, why wouldn't Mitt Romney be a creditable candidate? Why couldn't he win if he ran not because he was a sore loser and felt entitled or ambitious, but because he's a modest, dutiful man, called into service in a time of need?" Ha ha. That's the "main rationale" cited by Halperin.

Halperin says the third factor is Romney's "sense that he can perform better in 2016 than he did in 2008 and 2012" — mainly by showing "that he 'cares about people' like them" by not being so "modest about his decades of work as a lay minister in the Mormon Church."

As for those 2 negative factors: 1. It's tough on the family, and 2. The GOP candidate will have to spend money and sustain attacks through the primaries and then face Hillary Clinton, who will have been saving all her money and sitting back, getting flattered by the press and her party-mates.

The family is the ever-convenient reason for not doing whatever it is you've decided you can't do. As for bulling through the GOP field and still having what it takes to fight the well-rested and untested wife of the ex-President who only ever won an election in New York state and served a rather lackluster term as Secretary of State, I think he's up for that fight.

UPDATE: ROMNEY ANNOUNCES HE WILL NOT RUN. New post coming.

AND: New post here.

85 comments:

Fandor said...

Zero Hour is around 11 am today.

We shall hear if Mitt Romney goes forward or retreats from the challenges ahead.

MayBee said...

I scoff at that view.

I agree wholeheartedly with that view. Nobody would make a better president.

There are some guys who would make equally good presidents. The hard thing for Mitt is that Obama doesn't make an equally good president. I think it's hard for him, living in a world of meritocracy, where Obama won in such a stupid way.

Curious George said...

"wife of the ex-President ...and served a rather lackluster term as Secretary of State"

Lackluster? Do you know what that means?

It was an unmitigated disaster. And Trey Gowdy will get to the bottom of a lot of that disaster.

Tank said...

Factor One: Great, another egomaniac. That's what we need. And it's false. There is no reason to think that Walker or Jindal or Perry or Cruz or Paul could not do just as well or better.

Factor Two: Polls. He lost to the worst president in my lifetime and it wasn't that close.

Factor Three: showing "that he 'cares about people' like them" . Oh, for fuck's sake. He's going to win by being a bigger liberal than the Dems. That always works. And who the hell wants that. He's going to out-pander the Dems?

Romney, go away. If you must do "something," go fix McDonalds, they need a cisgendered privileged white guy fixer right now.

rhhardin said...

Mantles are donned.

rhhardin said...

I scoff at that view.

Critics in both parties and the press may scoff at this view


That's called an echo lead. It's considered a fault in broadcasting and probably writing.

jr565 said...

Tank wrote:
Factor Two: Polls. He lost to the worst president in my lifetime and it wasn't that close.

He lost to the first black president. Which is hard to overcome, despite his record. Plus an incumbent. And libertarians didn't show up for him.

David said...

Romney's top Iowa person just defected to Bush. Not a good sign for the Romster,

Gabriel said...

@Ann:Does one really "shoulder" a "mantle"?

It's from 1 Kings 19:19. Elisha shouldered Elijah's mantle when Elijah threw it at him, thus designating Elisha to succeed him.

We use "shouldered" in this metaphor because Elisha wasn't putting it on, it just landed on him.

dreams said...

When ask, people can't name one thing that Hillary Clinton has accomplished. In government failure is often rewarded unlike the private sector.

Original Mike said...

"And libertarians didn't show up for him."

Like a dog with a bone.

rehajm said...

The main rationale on the “go” side is Mitt and Ann Romney’s strongly held conviction that no one in the current field would make a better president

Put me in the agree camp, too. Outsiders may conclude the resumes of Mitt, Jeb and some of others are similar and that makes them similar people or similar candidates. I'm confident Mitt has made a rational assessment of the field and shares no such belief.

Bob Boyd said...

"Those who have been helping Romney make up his mind"

According to insiders, every morning for an hour Mitt sits patiently for another session, his starched shirt protected by a cape and the cap of his skull with its neatly combed hair resting on his lap.
In an effort to increase voter appeal, Mitt's campaign has hired several mind beauticians. The third time candidate looks slightly embarrassed, but he's a good sport as his talented trio fuss and poke and laugh loudly at crude witticisms Mitt clearly doesn't get.

Farmer said...

"Hillary Clinton, who will have been saving all her money and sitting back, getting flattered by the press and her party-mates."

We've been hearing this for at least a couple years now. It's absurd. Why does anybody think she's not going to be challenged for the nomination? You're going to have to pry it out of Joe Biden's cold, dead hands, first of all. What about Warren? Nobody's going to run against her? That's ridiculous on the face of it, and especially considering how many Democrat voters loathe the Clintons in general and Hillary in particular.

Bob Ellison said...

RE: "shouldering the mantle"-- "the cloak as symbol of authority".

Sounds kinda lazy.

Tank, there are zero non-egomaniacs running for POTUS. Name one non-egomaniac running for POTUS. You can't do it.

I still shoulder the conjecture that the 2012 election might have been stolen.

Guildofcannonballs said...

If Romney wanted to win, not feel good about himself, he would pay me $1,344,544 US to sink Jeb.

The free version goes like this: Bush One increased the debt by 2T. Bush Two increased debt by 5T. Bush Three (strike Jeb) will increase debt by over 13T, nearly doubling Obama's debt increase. This is math idiots, shut your mouth and drop your drawers.

exhelodrvr1 said...

He would be a better president than anyone else, from either party, who is currently being discussed. Can he be elected, is the real issue. COnsidering the silliness of the voters that brought us Obama, twice.

Paddy O said...

What has he done besides run for President in the last ten years? (that's a genuine, non-snarky, question).

Jerry Brown is governor of California, because after losing, he went and became mayor, then rose back up the ladder. I don't like the guy, but he understood the path he needed to take.

Romney tells us he would be a good president. Show us.

Tank said...

jr565 said...

Tank wrote:

Factor Two: Polls. He lost to the worst president in my lifetime and it wasn't that close.

He lost to the first black president. Which is hard to overcome, despite his record. Plus an incumbent. And libertarians didn't show up for him.


And strong conservatives and libertarians won't show up for him again. Why? Because he's not really a conservative, and certainly not a libertarian (remember Romneycare).

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Yeah, because Ghetto Joe and Trailer Park Sally and Barrio Pedro are going to relate to your years of work as a Mormon lay minister. I can't think of anything more alien to the LIV's lifestyle and worldview.

Please, Mitt. Wake up and go away. Don't make a plausible GOP candidate waste millions of dollars to defeat you in the primaries.

AllenS said...

Hillary Clinton had one job to do, and she outsourced the work to Monica Lewinski.

Not good for America.

tim maguire said...

Those are pretty unimaginative reasons and I doubt they are the real factors Romney's weighing.

I'm against Romney running because he had his chance and was found wanting. He was unwilling to fight for the win (even after his first debate win, he was afraid of debating Obama--Obama isn't the only one who believed Obama's hype!) and his ultimate failure on election day (crappy get out the vote effort) sat right at the heart of his strongest selling point (managerial skills).

Laslo Spatula said...

Doesn't matter. The majority of voters now want the Free Stuff. They don't trust a Republican to give them the Free Stuff. Republicans say that isn't true, we have Free Stuff, too, just maybe not as much. The voters say why would we vote for a smaller portion of Free Stuff?

The only thing that can save this country now is the right kind of fascist.

No Free Stuff for you.


I am Laslo.

Unknown said...

"I doubt that he ever says to his confidante's: I was such a wonderful candidate, but I've got to admit that Hillary would have made a better President."

I think the universe of people who think Hillary would have been a better president than Obama is pretty small. She would have been just as bad. Neither can point to any accomplishments beyond their demographic characteristics and the skillful use of inter-party politics to advance themselves.

"I feel I have an obligation to the internet to poke at the corpses of dead metaphors."

I love it when you let your inner George Orwell out to play.

Hagar said...

So, it's in the bag for the Democrats then.
Good to know.

bbkingfish said...

I really hope Mitt runs. The primaries would be a blast.

I admit I will be surprised if we're that lucky.

Bob Ellison said...

Ralph Hyatt said, "I think the universe of people who think Hillary would have been a better president than Obama is pretty small. She would have been just as bad."

She made the test herself when she did that 3:00 AM commercial.

She failed that test in Benghazi.

She'll make a new test in 2016. Maybe it'll be "do you have a vulva?" or "Joe Biden is a great vice president". More likely it'll be "those Republicans hate women and blacks and it's my turn".

Guildofcannonballs said...

What did Mitt accomplish in MA that makes people think he is smart or capable of leading the executive branch?

Romneycare, so U Rah Rah He's Our Man?

Compare Mitt to Perry or Walker or Jindal or Kasich or Sarah Palin and Mitt's record is trash (with the caveat he did finish his term).

People were told Mitt is smart and a great manager and technocrat, but his campaign sucked. Ryan was a poor choice (whom I liked at the time so I share Romney's poor political skills to some extent) and Orca or whatever the hell it was was like the Obamacare rollout. Why assume once Mitt was in office he would suddenly appoint decent, competent persons into positions of influence, when your own eyes have shown Mitt's political judgment is horrendous. "Severe conservative?" "47%." (paraphrasing) "Okay Candy you are the boss here, I will slink back into the comfort of my wife telling me I am a god man and let Obama lie and cheat and steel all he wants." Wicked smart bro.

Despite RESULTS, actual measurable results, you fools still believe Romney, and his submissive tongue.

Romney should take his duty to serve and shove it up his ass. He should give Walker money and support or shut his yapper.

Unknown said...

"Democrat voters loathe the Clintons in general and Hillary in particular."

From my somewhat right of center perspective the Democrat party seems to have gone hard, hard left and is currently controlled by people who believe the Democratic Leadership Council sold out the revolution.

Most of Hilary's supporters seem, to me, to be people who identify with her. That is, older upper class women who see themselves in her.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe Elizabeth Warren and Romney can meet in Salt Lake City and discuss the way heavy mantles suddenly fall on non-candidates that are then forced to go to the rescue of the huddled masses.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Remember, Reagan lost because he showed his anger at hecklers, demanded the microphone like a child would in a debate claiming he "paid for" it, and was friends with quasi-Nazi Willian Frank Buckley, Jr...

damikesc said...

Hillary can't play the money card and has only won elections in left wing NY. There's not much substance there and she plans on doing nothing which, at her age, can't fault her for.

You know, cause she's really really old.

Laslo Spatula said...

In the grand sweep of History the American Experiment of Democracy will be seen as nothing but a brief misguided blip, destined to fail. Given Democracy and time, people will inevitably vote themselves out of Democracy.

It lasted here longer than anywhere else, but after a couple hundred years we are regressing to the norm of chaos, rejoining the rest of the world in dysfunction.

It was worth a try.

I am Laslo.

chuck said...

Future deja vu:

"...sense that he can perform better in 2020 than he did in 2008, 2012, and 2016"

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce and third as WTF?

It was funny when it was just a rumor, but the reality is much less funny and much more desperate.

tim maguire said...

Laslo Spatula said...In the grand sweep of History the American Experiment of Democracy will be seen as nothing but a brief misguided blip, destined to fail.

On a long enough timeline, everything is a blip destined to fail.

Sydney said...

He's not a good candidate. He still thinks what he did to the healthcare in Boston was a good thing.

I Callahan said...

Laslo nails it with both comments so far. Therefore, it no longer matters who runs from either party - both parties are of the "give away free stuff" school of governing.

Ann Althouse said...

"I agree wholeheartedly with that view. Nobody would make a better president."

I'm not scoffing at the view that he'd make the best President, only at the view that that view would be his main rationale for running. He should not butt in and dominate the field unless he's sure he can win if nominated.

rehajm said...

He's running.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's from 1 Kings 19:19. Elisha shouldered Elijah's mantle when Elijah threw it at him, thus designating Elisha to succeed him."

What translation?

You don't shoulder something by catching it on your shoulders.

Big Mike said...

Romney's "sense that he can perform better in 2016 than he did in 2008 and 2012"

He can't perform much worse. What he needs to do is ask himself who, precisely, is going to vote for him in the primaries?

Freder Frederson said...

When ask, people can't name one thing that Hillary Clinton has accomplished. In government failure is often rewarded unlike the private sector.

And when asked, Romney's singular achievement in government is Romneycare. Not something he can run on.

Ann Althouse said...

As noted in the original post, the mantle metaphor suggests power bestowed on you, and that's not what Romney would be doing. This idea is of service and taken on a burden, so the word shouldered is good, just not shouldering the mantle.

Sydney said...

Freder Frederson: And when asked, Romney's singular achievement in government is Romneycare. Not something he can run on

Exactly! And he doesn't get it! It's like John Kerry running on his military record. Completely clueless.

Bob Boyd said...

Laslo Spatula said...
"The majority of voters now want the Free Stuff."


Mitt is the aunt who always gives you socks or underwear for Christmas when what you really want is a pony.
Obama knew we dying for a pony, so he bought a really expensive one and said we could watch him ride it as much as we want.
Hillary says we should all get a turn to ride the pony, but she's next.

mccullough said...

Shoulder the wheel works better. And not as cliched as mantle.

mccullough said...

"I'm putting my Mormon shoulder to the wheel."

chickelit said...

To be sure, Romney will be one of the 5 or 6 R candidates standing up at those televised Primary debates. Get over it, he's in.

And stop with the he-shouldn't-run-if-he-can't-win nonsense. Apply that logic to Hillary!

And finally, "mantle" is a fine metaphor. It gave is the word "chaplain": link

Nonapod said...

Annnddd hes' out.

chickelit said...

Scoff-worthy!

rehajm said...

He's not running.

mccullough said...

He left the mantle on the floor

Nonapod said...

Jeb is now the anointed money vacuum. If 2012 was the year of the "Not Romneys", 2016 will be the year of the "Not Jebs".

traditionalguy said...

A mantle is purple or other colored cloth designating the Authority of a wearer like the military officers gold braid and the Academic Authorities Regalia robes at ceremonial gatherings.

The Professor doesn't wear hers often but she has the authority all of the time.

A democratic Republic has to re-elect its mantle holder.

For an encouragement listen to the audible book chapters in Truman on the 1948 election. HST took Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California and all but four southern states. Walker could do that. Dewey took New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and lost. Hillary could do that.

Hillary, like Dewey is not a popular person. She is an entitled person. A fighter likr Truman or Walker will clean her clock.

kentuckyliz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

Did Romney just concede to Jeb Bush?

kentuckyliz said...

Romney decided not to run.

AP

Bob Boyd said...

"You know what? Fuck it." - Mitt Romney

Original Mike said...

I guess we're not going to have Romney to kick around anymore.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

That is so perfect, Original Mike. Well played.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I would ask Jeb Bush the same question as I asked of Mitt Romney at 9:28. Who, precisely, is going to vote for you in the primaries?

rhhardin said...

The majority of voters now want the Free Stuff.

That's because we let women vote.

Brando said...

I scoff so hard I'm afraid I may over scoff and create a wormhole of scoffamageddon. Not only is another run uneise, but this "more authentic" plan is lame. It basically says he's been inauthentic before, and despite all the effort and money put into the last two unsuccessful runs, that he's somehow in a better position now to pull it off?

I don't see how another Romney run doesn't end in embarrassment for him. This isn't Nixon in '68, whatever his advisors may be saying (and of course Nixon nearly lost that one). This will be Humphrey in '72--out with a whimper.

He's in a better position now to use his influence and name recognition to help raise money for candidates and play kingmaker, maybe get nominated to something good if the GOP gets the White House. His chance to be President has passed.

Brando said...

Ah, I see he made the smart move and decided not to run. Good for hiim. He can do more for his image and his party as a non-candidate.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

If Bush is elected then Romney serves a major role in the administration. Cabinet post or czar or somesuch. I'm not implying there is anything at all wrong with that scenario. I believe Romney sincerely wants to help his country and that he has the skills to do so.

Walker/Rice 2016.

traditionalguy said...

The Bushies MO is the same as 2000. The innocent young man that wants to do right has instantly sewed up all political donors and no one else dare run.

Gahrie said...

Bolton/Ernst in 2016

Nonapod said...

That is so perfect, Original Mike. Well played

Ace beat him to it

pm317 said...

Mitt is out.. what a waste of blogging time for you.

David said...

Meanwhile . . . .

MITT QUITS!!

bleh said...

I hope the Democrats nominate Hillary. She is a dreadful candidate -- she achieves the impressive feat of seeming grandmotherly AND unlikable -- but if she somehow wins, compared to other Democrats she is pragmatic and fairly non-ideological. If her husband has any say, and let's face it he would, I believe she would find a way to work productively with a Republican Congress.

Anyway. I don't believe Romney will run. I just don't. He's now basking in the glory of people taking him seriously and regretting the re-election of Obama. He's waiting for guys like Bush and Christie to come to him and seek his blessing. Mitt wants something, I think, but I don't think it's the presidency.

David said...

"Walker/Rice 2016."

Walker/Martinez more likely.

Or Rubio/Walker.

rhhardin said...

This gives McCain a chance to jump into the race.

khesanh0802 said...

@mid-lifelawyer I think you are right and that would be the best place for Romney. He is a proven administrator and his experience is such that he knows when to say yes and when to definitively say no. I am glad he is out of the running.
I do think Jeb is a better candidate than many here give him credit for. I think he is much more conservative than W and more committed to small government and solving the immigration issue, as much as it is possible.
I like Scott Walker at the state level, but as the professor pointed out the other day he is a mid-westerner through and through and they don't often translate on the national stage.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Thank you, Mitt. A grateful nation appreciates your sacrifice. Now have a talk with Jeb.

MadisonMan said...

Ace beat him to it

You really need the I guess in the quote.

MadisonMan said...

And now just wait a minute! Didn't the NY Times just last week have a big story about Mitt/Jeb pow-wowing about this? And now we get Mitt stepping out?

So is that what they talked about in Utah?

bleh said...

Oh. So Mitt's now made it official. Not a surprise.

Bush, Walker, Christie, Rubio and Paul. At this early stage, those are the candidates who have a chance of winning the nomination.

I can see Mitt actively helping any of these candidates with advice or campaign support, except maybe Paul. In exchange Mitt will have his choice of cabinet posts, I think.

Think said...

Professor Althouse,

Mantle is a common theme in the Mormon church going back to Joseph Smith, who did take the metaphor from Elijah. Joseph Smith's successor, Brigham Young, was said to have taken on the prophet's mantle. Modernly, Mormons usually use it when discussing leaders, for example, he has the mantle of a bishop (our local lay leaders who serve for short periods of about five years).

Interestingly, Mormons should not, and usually do not, ask to bear a mantle. It is something that they are asked to take (we call it "given a calling" - "I was called to be the bishop" or "I was called to be relief society president"). So if Romney is speaking in those terms, then it is likely true that he felt called by his faith to take on the office of the Presidency. But, based on today's announcement, he must not have felt that calling for this election.

Some might see feeling called as arrogance. But I think most Mormons would see it differently. It is a genuine belief that we are put here for a purpose and to do good, to serve others. I believe Romney genuinely believes he could have done a lot of good for a lot of people by being in the highest office. It is a confident, but humble position.

But I am glad he didn't run. I don't think he was the best candidate.

I suspect we might see him again in 2020, especially since I am 75% sure we are getting another Democrat in the the White House.

Known Unknown said...

He needs to repackage himself as Ritt Momney.

To the White House!

Known Unknown said...

Rubio's NSA stance sucks.

traditionalguy said...

Best headline yesterday, " Romney re-brands himself as authentic"

I guess it did not work.

Jonathan Card said...

I wonder how many journalists picture 18th century people carrying fireplaces around and think that's a normal thing.