Ready for Mitt
Kyle Palmer | Monday, September 29, 2014
It’s been 692 days since Mitt Romney gave his concession speech the evening of Election Day 2012. It’s been nearly two years since Mitt took the stage in Boston and, speaking to his campaign supporters, said, “Like so many of you, Paul [Ryan] and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign. I so wish – I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction. But the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.”
In those two years, President Obama has stumbled again and again. The president’s poll numbers have taken a dive, and he is losing his supporters. Every four months or so since that election, polls have come out showing that if the election had been held at the time of polling, Romney would have won by a comfortable margin. In the months between the polls, different news sources claim Romney was right about another issue he discussed on the campaign trail.
After my most recent Viewpoint column, a politically independent friend of mine sat down and discussed her similar disappointment with Obama. Further, a liberal friend of mine opened up about questioning his vote for Obama in 2012, admitting he would have voted for Romney if he knew what he knows now. After these two discussions, I walked away with a message that crossed partisan lines: the most important aspects of a presidency are leadership and the ability to get things done. Additionally, the Republican Party has embraced Mitt like never before – an endorsement from Mitt assured party nomination for those seeking public office this election cycle.
These comments taken along with public opinion polling over the last two years have led me to believe one thing: America is ready for Mitt.
I think Americans want someone who can lead and take action. Someone who can bring those from opposing parties together, like he did in Massachusetts. Someone who tries to keep America at the top of its game in domestic and national policy. Someone who can turn a disaster into something phenomenal, like he did with the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Someone who understands the economy and how businesses work, like he did in founding Bain Capital.
I’ll make another claim – I think Mitt is ready to make another run at it. I think Mitt has been laying the foundation for another run for a while now. He has continued the tradition of holding a summit of prominent players in the Republican Party in my home state of Utah; guests include congressman, senators, governors and donors. He has continued to be an active face of the Republican Party by endorsing, fundraising and campaigning for candidates across the nation. I believe he is strengthening his base so that, if he makes another run, he won’t have anyone doubting him or rising against him.
The game board has been set in his favor. The Republican National Committee (RNC) laid out plans to shorten the primary process and limit debates so that candidates wouldn’t be drawn through another prolonged nomination process in which there can never be a winner. Paul Ryan, Romney’s former running mate and potential 2016 presidential candidate, has said he would like Romney to run again. Speaker of the House John Boehner and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus have been able to reign in some congressional rebels who would rather argue for the fringe candidates than see the Republican Party win elections and instill policy. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies have worked tirelessly to make sure mainstream Republican candidates were nominated for the Senate across the country, rather than gaffe-prone political purists and party separatists. The Republican Party is more responsible now than it was in 2012 and is positioned to put forward a strong election effort in both 2014 and 2016.
There are few people who could stop Romney from running away with the nomination, such as the like-minded Ryan, Jeb Bush, Tim Pawlenty, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. If any of these figures decide to run, Romney could very well choose not to and instead choose to publicly support the one he sees as the best fit to lead the party and nation. Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz wouldn’t provide a serious threat to a second Romney nomination.
There are those who would point out, “He’s already said he’s not running!” This is true; he has said that he is not running for president. Did you catch that? He is not running for president – present tense. Very seldom, if ever, has he said he will never run for president again. He and his wife, Ann Romney, continue to keep us guessing. On a Fox News interview last week, Romney said, when asked if her husband would run in 2016, “Well, we will see, won’t we?” The door is far from shut; instead it is left cautiously open.
I worked hard in 2012 to try to get Mitt elected, as did thousands of others. When he lost in 2012, I was sad. So many of us put so much effort into making a positive change, and we felt nothing was any different once the election was over. Republicans retained the House of Representatives, while Democrats retained the Senate and the White House. We were exhausted, disappointed and angry. Some, myself included, became cynical to the process. Others lost faith in the political system altogether. I spent hours and hours recruiting volunteers, making phone calls, going door-to-door and helping others register to vote, only to have my efforts dashed in a single day.
But I would do it all again. I’m (still) ready for Mitt.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.