Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 7, 2008
POLITICS: Romney Drops Out

So Mitt Romney has dropped out of the race, citing the need to unify behind McCain as the nominee in wartime as a reason not to stage a costly losing battle all the way to the covention.

I may expand on this later...I am sympathetic to the people who bought into the idea of the Romney campaign but, as happened to those of us who backed Rudy or Fred, the time has come to accept that the reality of the campaign was never what it was cracked up to be.

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In Mitt's case, he just wasn't the champion of conservative principles and enforcer of conservative orthodoxy he played on the trail. He was and is a pragmatic businessman, and a very good one. I have argued that Rudy should have sold a modified position on Roe v Wade not as a change of heart but as a principled compromise. A similar approach might have worked for Mitt as well on some of the issues he shifted on. Instead, while Rudy wouldn't move far enough, Mitt tried too hard on too many fronts and ended up with nobody believing that he was the guy he was running as.

A hamburger is a delicious and popular meal. A grilled chicken sandwich is nutritious and reasonably tasty. You can sell a hamburger, and you can sell a grilled chicken sandwich; both have their virtues. But as anyone with a marketing background could have told you, you can't get people to buy a grilled chicken sandwich by convincing them that it is a hamburger.

What next? I had been thinking that, with Romney likely to be looking for what to do next to build credibility with conservatives, a logical next step whether he intends to pursue national office or simply find a way to do some real public good would be to move back home to Michigan and run for Governor. After all, Romney's core strength - his business acumen - is the one thing Michigan needs most desperately after two terms of Jennifer Granholm.

Sadly, however, Michigan's Constitution requires that the Governor must "have been a registered elector in this state for four years next preceding his election." Since the next race is in 2010, there will not be sufficient time for Romney to establish residency. It's a shame; Mitt could have said he was coming home to the state he was born and raised in because Michigan needs him (which would have been true). He would have had to run on basically the same positions as in this race. He would probably have needed to promise not to run in 2012, but could keep his eyes on 2016, which given his health and vigor is not implausible (he'd be 68). And if he could actually have become the second American (after Sam Houston) to become GOV of two states and then turned around the MI business climate while staying essentially faithful to his currently stated principles, he would have been able to make a convincing case down the road as a tested, proven leader.

My guess is, the likelihood is that if Romney is planning to run for president again, he will probably do so via the John Edwards path of spending four more years campaigning without adding to his short resume in public office and thus without a realistic mechanism for proving his conservative bona fides.

Oh, and before I forget, I'll throw up one last link to the fundraiser:

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:50 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Mitt should be McCain's running mate. Would be good for Mitt - reinforcing his conservative bona fides - and would be good for McCain - seeing as how Mitt became the conservative alternative in the race.

Posted by: A.S. at February 7, 2008 2:09 PM

"I have argued that Rudy should have sold a modified position on Roe v Wade not as a change of heart but as a principled compromise."

Crank, Crank, Crank. C'mon. If there is one subject that Conservatives are not willing to compromise on (besides everything else) is abortion. Both the far right and far left have only one litmus test for this country. That is why such moves work in the short run, but not the long. Passion is good, ardor is necessary, but in the end, it can't last. So things break down. And we in the middle are left (no pun really intended, I guess) to clean up the mess.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 7, 2008 2:11 PM

If Mitt were campaigning as the former governor of Michigan and could deliver michigan in the electoral college, he would have won this election. Had he run in Michigan vs. Mass, he would not have made so many liberal luches in 2002 therefore, making him appear less of a flip flop artist.

Posted by: son of brock landrs at February 7, 2008 2:18 PM

He could always run for governor of Utah....

Posted by: mike at February 7, 2008 2:34 PM

He'll probably return to Bain Capital and try to earn some of that $35 mil back.

Posted by: SMK at February 7, 2008 3:12 PM

Is a run vs. JFKerry possible? Camelot appears to be dead in Massachussetts.

Posted by: Phils57 at February 7, 2008 4:38 PM

I wouldn't think Romney would be viable in Massachusetts politics after spending the last two years trashing the place, and disavowing everything he did there.

Posted by: Jerry at February 7, 2008 5:39 PM

Yes -- Mitt's a man without a country; he abandoned the moderates in Massachusetts who elected him to office seven years ago; the conservatives don't take him seriously. The presumptive GOP nominee detests him. I don't see any role for Mitt in public office.

Posted by: Patrick at February 7, 2008 11:22 PM

Like John Edwards after '04, Romney is a spent political force. He couldn't get reelected governor in his home state. What is he going to do, move to Michigan or Utah and try it all over again? He's not the type of activist/policy wonk like a Reagan or even Edwards who would find a way to stay busy for four years preparing for another run. This was a one-shot deal and he was never able to convince voters that he wasn't a conservative born yesterday.

Posted by: Rich at February 8, 2008 1:03 AM

Massachusetts,Michigan,Utah...maybe Mitt Romney can be the Cesar Tovar of governors.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at February 8, 2008 10:22 AM

First of all - a lot of Republicans like what Mitt did in MA - myself included. He may or may not have been able to win reelection - he didn't run, as an incumbent and with his resources, he probably could have. He generally lived up to his campaign promises and look at the budget mess Deval is sending us into. Romney looks a lot better now.

Secondly when you have somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-500 million dollars - using 50 million to run for president - or whatever the total ends up, you still have somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-500 million dollars. A measly 5% return still yields 12-25 million dollars. Additionally can he repay his loans with general election funds? At any rate - money is not a problem for him.

Finally I probably agree Mitt's done for presidential runs - outside of some sort of major accomplishment in the political area (engineering a congressional landside in 2010 is about all I could think of, maybe if McCain appointed him SecDef or SecHLS - which obviously won't happen) I don't see how he can fundamentally change the voting pattern.

I would be delighted if he used the Comm. PAC to help pull the veil of the liberal stranglehold in MA. he could really help shakeup the legislative body if he put his mind to it.


Posted by: Brendan at February 8, 2008 11:21 AM

I agree Mitt performed decently as governor of Massachusetts FOR HIS FIRST 12 MONTHS IN OFFICE. Then he dedicated enormous resources on expanding the GOP presence in the Legislature, but suffered a net loss in both Houses. Then the presidentialitis set in, and Mitt's focus on the state waned.

"Lots of Republicans still like Mitt in Massachusetts" - well even if all of them do, that gets him to about 30% in any general election. Do you think he could make up the other 20% as a pro-life, anti-immigrant, George Bush-loving, former absentee governor?

Mitt may not even have carried Massachusetts on Tuesday if Ted's boy and Bill's wife weren't facing off on the same day, drawing many of the independents that delivered Mass to McCain in 2000.

No, Mitt's days as an elected official in Massachusetts are gone and never to return.

Posted by: Patrick at February 8, 2008 9:27 PM
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