The mid-terms elections aren’t even here yet and the media are already crafting the narrative that Mitt Romney must save the Republican Party from obsolescence. To be fair, the Right began searching for a savior shortly after the polls came in on November 7th, 2012 – the polls showing Romney had lost, of course. Thus has it ever been for the losing candidate’s party; thus will it likely always be.
But there is something odd about offering Mitt as the savior after he failed in back to back attempts. A “Draft Mitt” effort began officially this month, with some 116,000 signatures within the first week. Romney has consistently said he won’t run, but authorities such as Bob Costa (aka, the most unpleasant part about watching the Olympics) have reportedly received word through the proverbial grapevine that a run is not completely out of the picture. These may be right-of-center trial balloons, but the left-of-center media are finding them awfully convenient.
Why are the media so fascinated by the possibility of a two-time, no-win presidential candidate when there are literally dozens of up and coming Republicans? Liberals in the media have never been shy about spotlighting the fresh, new candidate. See, for example, Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren.
Is it because Mitt is not really a movement conservative and is therefore unlikely to dismantle the apparatus of liberal big government should he win? Possibly. Is it because Mitt might run another gloves-on campaign and lose, granting the Democratic Party another term in the White House? Perhaps.
But there is a third element at work here: poisoning the well.
Romney is everything liberals like to complain is wrong with the Republican Party. He’s rich, a businessman, he’s white, he’s male, he’s older than most of the other potential 2016 presidential candidates. In a word, he is precisely the opposite of what the media continue to insist is wrong with the GOP. Curious. Why is he the one to ride to the rescue?
A couple of pieces on Romney’s potential run give the answer away. First, from the Boston Globe:
But those facts don’t matter to activists…who, hungering for alternatives to the current crop of potential 2016 candidates, are persistently trying to prod the reluctant contenders into the fray. (Emphasis mine.)
Second, from the UK Telegraph:
Perhaps a more likely scenario is this: The 2016 Republican field fails to draw a top-tier establishment contender, such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, opening the door for Mr Romney to be “drafted” into entering the election – perhaps as late as September 2015.
It doesn’t seem to matter that there is no 2016 field yet. Not a single declaration. Not a single debate. It is far too early to know if a candidate will successfully woo the establishment and the base. The suggestion that no one but Bush, Christie and Romney can is ridiculous.
Pocket Full of Liberty’s very own Rich Cromwell answered the critics of the (speculated) GOP field not too long ago:
Seriously. We have Scott Walker sitting on a throne made out of the skulls of his enemies. Rand Paul, despite his last name and occasional difficulty with squaring his present positions with his past positions, seems to actually understand that running a campaign requires one to run a campaign. Cruz, Jindal, and Rubio excite, enervate, rally, and frustrate the base, depending on the day, but principle is far better than focus group tested responses.
The presumption the media are making – or, rather, want voters to make – is that the “non-establishment” Republican candidates are laughable. Again, they want to poison the well, to tell interested Americans what they should see when they look at Rand Paul, Scott Walker or Paul Ryan. In short, they want small-government conservatism – and the candidates who promote it – to look crazy, unserious, and mean or any litany of charges. Thus also has it ever been.
Mitt Romney likely would have made a terrific executive, though not a movement conservative president, but he had his chance(s). It’s time for a new direction – and not one dictated by media planting opinions about viability and policies before the first declaration of candidacy.
2016 should be quite the show, in terms of both substance and style. It’s entirely possible that no one will prove himself or herself. Two weeks is a long time in presidential politics. We’re supposed to settle on Mitt with two years to go? Not a chance.