Thomasville Times Enterprise

Opinion

July 12, 2014

Say no, Mitt

It’s getting late in the game, Grand Old Party. With time passing rapidly and no clear 2016 frontrunner in sight, who will save the Republican National Committee’s bacon? I’m glad you asked. It seems that Willard “Mitt” Romney — former Massachusetts governor — is seriously considering a third run for the Oval Office. Know when to fold ’em… know when to walk away. Just say no, Mitt.

Romney, of course, lost badly to President Obama in November 2012. He’s 0-for-2 in his quest to be commander-in-chief. I don’t dislike Romney. I have nothing against the man. In fact, I’ve seen glimpses of him which I found pretty appealing. I watched his Netflix documentary “Mitt.” It was a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at his 2012 presidential campaign — warts and all. It’s really a shame that the Mitt Romney in that documentary wasn’t the Mitt Romney America was exposed to on the campaign trail, in network television interviews, in press conferences and, especially, in the three presidential debates. The Mitt from the documentary is a devout believer in his faith, a loving father, a doting father and grandfather, a wealthy businessman, a thinker and a man who loves America.This Mitt would have given President Obama everything he could have handled and then some. This Mitt could have been President Romney.

Sadly, the American public never got to see that iteration of him. Instead, we got the version who infamously uttered the 47 percent percent comment. We got the version who steadfastly advocated for those here illegally in the United States to consider self-deportation. We got the version who refused to distance himself from rock star and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugen, who called President Obama many reprehensible names after publicly endorsing Romney. We got the version who wrote an op-ed saying the American auto industry should go bankrupt… only to turn around years later and attempt to take credit for the president’s successful auto industry bailout. We got the version who repeatedly fell into the trap of playing the game “What Does the Fox Say?” on that channel that erroneously claims to be fair and balanced. You know the one.

It would be very hard for any human being with a pulse and a functioning brain to watch this documentary on Netflix about Romney and not like him. I believe Romney to be a good man. That opinion is non-negotiable and not up for debate. But being a good man isn’t enough to warrant running for this nation’s highest office. A good man can be defeated. A good man can have his reputation dismantled. A good man — even if elected as the American president — can be stymied by an inert Congress. His legislative agenda, no matter how revelatory or inclusive, can wither in the wake of political in-fighting, posturing and bluster. The Americans who need his help would continue to suffer. Just ask the president.

The current Republican roster of presidential hopefuls for 2016 leave a lot to be desired. What’s your pleasure? It is Rand Paul, Jeb Bush or Mike Huckabee? How about Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio or Scott Walker? Does Rick Perry, Rick Santorium or Chris Christie excite you? Bobby Jindal, anyone?

There is a lot of buzz that Romney may reverse field and throw his hat into the ring for 2016. Recent polls show a measurable uptick in his popularity. Big money GOP donors are intrigued by the prospect.

Say what you will about Romney, but he seems to be a man of his word. He has stated over and over that 2012 was his final political campaign of any kind for any office. His wife, Ann, has gone on the record to say that she would never again endure the mental, emotional, and logistical stressors of another presidential bid.

I’m quite certain that Romney is getting peppered by phone calls, emails, in-person visits and letters trying to entice him to take it to the limit one more time. I’m sure that people are contacting him to inquire how to join his staff, to volunteer, or to fundraise. It must be flattering. It must feel great. And he must shake off all such queries.

In order for Mitt to be Mitt, he would have to disavow much of the Republican Party’s lunge to the far right of common sense. He would have to be his own man. He would have to remain above the muck and miry clay. In doing these things, he would be effectively turning off the vast majority of the Republican base. That would lead to the big-time donors disappearing, the volunteers vanishing, and his potential comeback collapsing.

Romney can be a force in Republican politics for years to come, just not as president. Don’t do it, Mitt.

 

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