Romney 2024?

He's tanned. He's rested. Is he ready?

Reason’s Robbie Soave argues that the third time might be the charm for Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions:

Inflation and rising gas prices, frustration with liberal political leaders who clung to COVID-19 restrictions well past their expiration date, and concerns about how the administration is handling the twin threats of Russia and China (to say nothing of the U.S.’s bungled exit from Afghanistan), have all caused Joe Biden’s poll numbers to plummet.

Biden began his presidency with a 53% approval rating, according to FiveThirtyEight; he’s now at 42%, even after a post State of the Union bump. If this situation endures until November, Republicans should easily retake the House and possibly the Senate as well.

At that point, all eyes will turn to the 2024 presidential election, in which the Republicans will be well-positioned to make Biden a one-term president. Swapping out Biden for another Democrat — something oft-proposed by easily excitable pundits — is a nonstarter; to raise just one objection, his most likely successor, Vice President Kamala Harris, is even more unpopular.

Let’s stipulate that the 2024 election is more than two-and-a-half years away. That’s a lifetime in polling terms. Further, re-electing Presidents is our default position. Still, Republicans have a built-in advantage in the Electoral College.

Virtually any political figure with an R next to his or her name will look like the favorite, with the possible exception of Trump, who inspires rabid loyalty among a contingent of the Republican base while actively scaring off the suburban swing voters needed to take back the White House.

But while Trump would be one of just a few Republicans who might actually struggle to beat Biden in a theoretical matchup, there are certainly ways for the GOP to improve its odds, beyond simply not nominating Trump. Indeed, there is one candidate who would almost certainly attract independent, moderate and even Democratic voters — perhaps enough of them to win something approaching a landslide, if current conditions hold.

As a plus, he’s no novice: In fact, he’s already run for president.

I am talking, of course, about Mitt Romney.

Soave’s case for Romney is plausible, so far as it goes:

The current junior senator from Utah, former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 GOP presidential candidate is less loved by some Republicans than he was a decade ago because the hardcore MAGA crowd considers him a traitor to Trump. But among non­-Republicans, his star has never shone brighter. He has burnished his credibility as an independent-minded politician who is not afraid to challenge Trump: He is the only Republican senator who voted to convict the president in both impeachment trials.

This would be a massive liability in the Republican primaries, of course, but it’s a huge asset in a general election.

Romney’s foreign policy credentials would also play well in the current moment, especially since Russia’s aggression will undoubtedly remain an important campaign issue. It was Romney, after all, who named Russia the U.S.’s No. 1 geopolitical foe during a debate with President Barack Obama. That claim prompted derision from Obama, who said, “The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back … the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”

That jape has not aged well. But Romney has.

At 74, he’s currently five years younger than Biden; in terms of his comparative energy level, he could be two decades younger than Biden. If his speeches and media appearances are any indication, Romney has lost little of his eloquence; his Jan. 6, 2021 speech following the attack on the U.S. Capitol — in which he lamented “a selfish man’s injured pride, and the outrage of supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed and stirred to action” — still resonates more than a year later.

It’s true that Romney paid a political price for breaking so decisively with Trump. But it has also made Romney one of the most independent minded political figure in the country’s history. It bears repeating that this independent streak would do him no favors in the Republican primaries. The MAGA faction demands nothing short of perfect loyalty to Trump. But many persuadable voters outside the Trump bubble will appreciate that Romney is a man of convictions who was willing to condemn and punish Trump’s behavior.

Democrats do not view Romney with the same knee-jerk fear and scorn that they feel for other Republicans. Among Democrats in Utah, Romney has an approval rating of 60%. He’s better liked by Democrats than he is by Republicans.

Romney is one of a handful of Republicans I would seriously consider were they the 2024 nominee. But one can’t just handwave “massive liability in the Republican primaries,” given that, to be the Republican nominee, one needs to do well in said contests. And, indeed, Soave more-or-less acknowledges this toward the end of the column.

There are still sane, decent Republican leaders out there. Alas, sanity and decency have become a massive liability with the party’s base.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Tough to see him winning the nomination, even if TFG is off the ballot.

    At 74, he’s currently five years younger than Biden; in terms of his comparative energy level, he could be two decades younger than Biden.

    US Senators have a pretty cushy life. Mittens probably rises between 6-7 AM, checks the morning papers and his email while having a leisurely breakfast. Quite likely an hour or so in the gym, then a quick shower and heads to the Capitol around 9-9:30. A committee meeting, perhaps an office meeting, some days a floor vote. Figure 2 hours for lunch and around 4 heads out to a fund raiser. Back to the house around 9, lets the dog out of the kennel on the car’s roof, checks in with the wife and to bed by 10.

    I suspect, that even in the best of times, that a president’s schedule would be far more stressful than the typical Senator or Congress Critter.

    Soave is wishcasting.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    When the MTG wing of the party is calling for a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill or a federal trans genocide bill, is Romney the sort of person who’d take a political hit to stop them?

    I don’t think he is.

    15
  3. Kylopod says:

    At that point, all eyes will turn to the 2024 presidential election, in which the Republicans will be well-positioned to make Biden a one-term president.

    Sure, just as they were well-positioned to make Bill Clinton a one-termer after the 1994 midterms, and Obama after the 2010 midterms.

    It can’t be stated enough. There is no known connection between a president’s first midterm and his subsequent reelection campaign; indeed, there may even arguably be a correlation between having a bad first midterm and being successfully reelected two years later. It’s happened several times before. Of course Trump had a bad first midterm and went on to lose reelection; the same was true of Herbert Hoover. But those are the exceptions. (If we look at the two other presidents to lose reelection in the past 100 years, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, they both suffered relatively modest losses in their first midterm.)

    4
  4. Tony W says:

    Another factor that could massively alter the primaries is the not-unlikely prospect that Trump is in poor health by 2024. Trump looks worse by the day, and the election is still 2-1/2 years away, which is a long time at nearly 76.

    If Romney and Trump are nominally the same age, it’s pretty clear that their relative health and vigor are worlds apart.

    1
  5. CSK says:

    The interesting thing about Romney is that he was hated by the MAGAs before there was Trump, when they fastened all their hopes for salvation on Sarah Palin, Palin being a kind of Trump in skirts and in second gear.

    4
  6. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: And let’s not forget that even after she declined to run, the GOP primaries became a demolition derby of wannabe right-wing alternatives to Romney, from Michelle Bachmann to Herman Cain to Rick Perry to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum. Trump himself threatened to run in 2011 and for a while was leading the field according to polls.

    Romney triumphed in part because the right couldn’t settle on a candidate, whereas he had the “establishment” lane all to himself (especially after the likes of Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman failed to gain any traction). Remember when it came out that Gingrich and Santorum had considered teaming up to take down Romney, but couldn’t agree on who would be at the top?

    Also, he was partly able to vanquish them by running to their right on specific issues–he successfully tagged Perry as soft on immigration (remember “self-deportation”?), and Santorum on the debt ceiling. Nobody loved Romney (except Mormons), but he managed to make himself “acceptable” to enough GOP voters to squeak by, in a divided field of righties.

  7. DK says:

    Question one: Robby Soave?

    Question two: So it’s only women who win the popular vote who have to shut up and go away, because another run would be a terrible idea? A run by men who lose the popular vote and electoral college both is to be taken seriously? Um, okay.

    12
  8. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Sure, just as they were well-positioned to make Bill Clinton a one-termer after the 1994 midterms, and Obama after the 2010 midterms.

    The secret to keeping someone to one term at the White House is not to even try to do so, even to try the opposite.

    It worked wonders for the GQP with trump.

    More seriously, should Romney run, the points isn’t whether he wins the nomination or not, but whether he weakens the Benito wing candidate, whoever they may be. If he can’t do that, he should stay home.

    1
  9. Kylopod says:

    @DK:

    So it’s only women who win the popular vote who have to shut up and go away, because another run would be a terrible idea? A run by men who lose the popular vote and electoral college both is to be taken seriously? Um, okay.

    In fairness, a couple months ago there was a “maybe Hillary should run in ’24” piece. There are always going to be pundits making dumb “contrarian” predictions, and unlikely political comebacks are a common example of that genre.

    Still, I absolutely agree that there is a sexist double standard in the way many people talk about Hillary versus other losing candidates.

    9
  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Remember when it came out that Gingrich and Santorum had considered teaming up to take down Romney, but couldn’t agree on who would be at the top?

    I wish you’d phrased that differently, especially given the meme definition of “santorum” that came out. That’s a mental image I could do without.

    That aside, you’re right with this,

    Also, he was partly able to vanquish them by running to their right on specific issues–he successfully tagged Perry as soft on immigration (remember “self-deportation”?), and Santorum on the debt ceiling. Nobody loved Romney (except Mormons), but he managed to make himself “acceptable” to enough GOP voters to squeak by, in a divided field of righties.

    In 2024 it looks like he’d have to share the establishment lane with Cheney and perhaps, briefly, Pence. And it has to be pointed out that the “righties” were Trumpies before Trump. Trump just made more blatant what the GOPs already were before he showed up.

    3
  11. DK says:

    @Kylopod:

    In fairness, a couple months ago there was a “maybe Hillary should run in ’24” piece.

    I remember it, that’s the double-standard I reference. The context was about a what a laughable, “stupid,” untenable, unfathomable idea Hillary 2024 was. Not, “this is a potential candidacy that should be taken seriously.”

    Personally, I would prefer not to see any retread last names on the ballot in 2024: no Clintons, Trumps, Bushes or Romneys (and I’m not sold running Biden in 2024 is the Democrats’ best play, incumbency advantages and all).

    But what makes Romney more viable than others with support bases that are deeper and/or wider? At least Hillary and Trump have passionate core supporters.
    Are there any Romney Republicans? Why choose someone who lost to Obama’s lackluster 2012 campaign over DeSantis or Pence or anybody who hasn’t lost before?

    3
  12. DK says:

    @Kathy:

    If he can’t do that, he should stay home.

    I’ll have a #2 please lol

  13. I just cannot see him winning the nomination. Even if Trump does not run, DeSantis is much better positioned to appeal to key parts of the base than is Romney. Far, far better.

    And may I note: another dude in his his 70s? Sigh.

    13
  14. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    In 2024 it looks like he’d have to share the establishment lane with Cheney and perhaps, briefly, Pence.

    I’m not sure the concept of the “establishment lane” makes sense anymore, assuming it ever did. By now, Trump is the establishment. Or at least he’s a lot more so than he was in 2016.

    These labels often fail to accurately describe what’s actually happening. For example, in 2016 when GOP primary voters were asked about “second choices,” it turned out there was more overlap between Cruz and Rubio voters than there was between Cruz and Trump. Similarly, in the 2020 cycle polls suggested significant overlap between Biden and Sanders, as well as between Warren and Harris–going against the conventional assumption that Warren and Sanders should be lumped together as the lefties against Biden the moderate. The way pundits categorize candidates doesn’t always square with how voters see them, especially in fields as massive as 2016 GOP and 2020 Dem.

    2
  15. Scott says:

    Here in Texas, we are subjected to this kind of political speculation:

    Garcia: Ted Cruz looks like he’s angling to be Trump’s running mate

    Why would a voter who shares Cruz’s stated adoration for the bombastic former president take Cruz when they could have Trump? And any Republican turned off by Trump’s narcissism, dishonesty, reckless rhetoric and unwillingness to accept his own defeat in the 2020 election won’t find anything to like in Cruz.

    As one of the senator’s fellow Republicans recently told me, Cruz thinks of himself as president and then works backwards from there on exactly what he needs to do to make it happen.

    With Trump signaling his intention to run, and his nomination already looking like a near certainty, that leaves one logical path for Cruz: stay out of the presidential race, incessantly gush over Trump and convince the former president that they would make an unbeatable team.

    So basically, the loathsome Ted Cruz is hoping to be VP, have Trump either die or run out his second term, and then he can be President.

    1
  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    Romney is a coward and a weakling.

    8
  17. MarkedMan says:

    Any article that talks about a Romney run and just waves away the primaries is just clickbait nonsense. It would be like speculating on a campaign by Arnold Schwarzenegger and hand waving away the fact that as an immigrant he’s not eligible.

    9
  18. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    That’s precisely what the Trumpkins say about Romney.

    5
  19. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Whether a senator has a cushy life is largely a matter of choice and staff. The ones I worked with were in nearly constant motion, and meetings, hearings, district calls, briefing sessions, flying back and forth to the home state, etc. was incredibly complex to coordinate and they were extraordinarily busy. It did not strike me as cushy at all, I was three decades younger then and what I witnessed was exhausting.

    I’m sure there are many Senators that defer a lot of the work and running of the office to staff, but there are many–including Sen. Clinton when she was a US Senator–who seemed to work almost around the clock.

    3
  20. Modulo Myself says:

    In two years, the GOP candidate will have to be babbling about groomer conspiracies and false-flag operations and worse. I sincerely doubt Romney is going to fit in, even if he tried.

    2
  21. Beth says:

    Romney is an empty suit and needs to fall down a well. The biggest problem with Romney is that he gets otherwise sane center right-ish people to shut their brains off. The only difference between Romney and either MTG or Desantis is that Romney isn’t a foaming at the mouth nut job. He absolutely supports all their garbage though.

    9
  22. Chris says:

    If Romney’s rested, then he isn’t ready. During these times he should be working his tail off to: (1) Get the GOP into the realm of sane political discourse; (2) Further guard against the encroachment against democratic governments on our planet (including our own); and, (3) Seemingly become less duplicitous. In other words he should be plowing through exhaustion to grow an agenda and persona that a majority of Americans can support.

    3
  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Beth:

    I agree. Saying you’d consider voting for Romney is basically saying you were okay with Trump’s agenda, but just want a more dignified face in front of it.

    12
  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Romney’s method of getting wealthy is even the same as Trump’s: use his connections to get involved in some company and then suck all the money out of it and then when it collapses walk off and leave other people to clean up the pieces. He’s just better and less obvious about it.

    4
  25. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    That’s precisely what the Trumpkins say about Romney (that he’s a coward and a weakling).

    Nobody can be wrong all the time, no matter how hard they try. Or maybe it’s just that some things are so obvious no one can miss them.

    1
  26. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    Well, they see Romney as being “cowardly and weak” because he’s reasonably civilized in his behavior, unlike Trump, who brings new dimensions to the concept of churlishness.

    3
  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Saying you’d consider voting for Romney is basically saying you were okay with Trump’s agenda, but just want a more dignified face in front of it.

    That pretty much describes the whole anti-Trump Republican world. A big part of conservatism is believing themselves to be the best people, the makers, the ones who are in on the con, the elect. With Trump that became difficult.

    2
  28. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    Well, they see Romney as being “cowardly and weak” because he’s reasonably civilized in his behavior.

    True. As long as they don’t notice he lies like a rug.

    1
  29. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    In their eyes, nobody, but nobody, tells the truth but Donald Trump.

    2
  30. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: A great deal of the Never-Trump world consists of hardcore neocons, and often I suspect their prime objection to Trump isn’t his racism or authoritarianism, but his attack on their internationalist worldview.

    3
  31. Jon says:

    Romney lied *relentlessly* during his campaign against Obama, about everything, big and small. So much so that Steve Benen (at the Maddow Blog) had a running series called ‘Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity’. At one point he had over 500 lies in a 30 week period. By his 41st week of tracking he was up to 917 falsehoods (Nov. 2).

    5
  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    There are still sane, decent Republican leaders out there.

    In hiding.

    Alas, sanity and decency have become a massive liability with the party’s base.

    QFT.

    2
  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Of course Trump had a bad first midterm and went on to lose reelection;

    Considering he “lost” the first election, it’s not surprising he lost the 2nd one with a slightly different distribution of popular votes.

    1
  34. MarkedMan says:

    One thing that doesn’t get talked about enough with Romney is that he got caught saying to a bunch of rich donors that people on Social Security and Medicare are parasites.

    2
  35. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Out of curiosity, where do you come out on the debate over whether Trump would have been reelected without Covid? (“Fuck if I know” is a perfectly reasonable answer.)

    1
  36. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Yes. It was pure fluke that he won–so to speak–in 2016.

  37. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Were Romney, by some miracle, to win the GOP primaries, I assume Ds would run the 47% speech on continuous loop. It so perfectly captures Romney’s views, and the attitude of the whole GOP establishment.

    1
  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Fuck if I know.

    I am surrounded by hardcore trumpistas who would vote for him if he nuked their house with all their family inside it because the libtards made him do it, and all my friends and family would rather have splinters shoved up under their fingernails for all of eternity than live thru another 4 years of a trump presidency.

    IOWs, it made no difference in the voting of anyone I know.

    1
  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: And his business record. That KC steel recycling mill commercial was a killer.

    1
  40. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Most likely not.

    For whatever reason, and this can be debated endlessly, a very large portion of the world’s population simply doesn’t care that much about COVID. The anti-Benito part of the electorate was very motivated to turn out in large numbers to vote against him even before COVID came up.

  41. just nutha says:

    @gVOR08:

    And it has to be pointed out that the “righties” were Trumpies before Trump. Trump just made more blatant what the GOPs already were before he showed up.

    Indeed! Going back to a greenmailing vulture capitalist is exactly what the nation is looking for as it seeks relief from the disease that was Trump. All the better because this particular greenmailing vulture capitalist came out in favor of FG accomplishments in office, only disliking the crudity of the person.

    Is it too early to predict Dr. Joyner finding his way back to the fold?

    4
  42. john430 says:

    There are still sane, decent Republican leaders out there. Alas, sanity and decency have become a massive liability with the party’s base.

    Which is in stark contrast to the Democrat leaders who listen to idiot groups like Bernie and the Authoritarians who wish to install American Bolshevism and a one-party system.

    1
  43. Gustopher says:

    Has Good Sir Mittens done anything while in the Senate?

    In the general election, there is clearly a path for someone who can brag of some significant bipartisan accomplishment, and Romney had his suggestion for a child tax credit (presumably very popular in the large-family Mormon households of Utah), and 46 Democrats and 2 Independants are on board with a different version, so this seems like something he might be able to do.

    Instead, we haven’t heard anything about it since it was announced about a year ago. Romney seems to prefer just taking up space.

    Anyway, I don’t see how he gets through the primary unless he puts a trans kid in a crate on the roof of his car until they shit themselves, and then hoses down the mess at a rest stop.

    The Republican primary is going to be a competition to see who can be most horrible to the most vulnerable, and that seems like more work than Romney is going to want to put in, and harder to do in the Senate than a Governorship anyway.

    2
  44. Neil Hudelson says:

    @john430:

    Shhhh, shhhh. There there now. The adults are talking.

    8
  45. Gustopher says:

    @just nutha: Dr. Joyner’s identity right now is of Republican-in-exile — I think he’s been very clear on that. He might not use the word identity, but it’s really clear that politics — particularly Republican politics — has been such a part of his life that it is part of his identity.

    If he is at all a normal person with that deep set identity and view of himself, he will scurry back into the Republican fold at the first sign of reasonableness, no matter how tentative.

    Identity overrides everything.

    (And then he will discover that his positions have softened on so many issues that he has to hold his nose too hard, and only then will he reassess…)

    I expect the performative cruelty will keep him out of the Republican fold for a few more years… but we would be better off as a country if that happened sooner than later.

    2
  46. John430 says:

    @Neil Hudelson: What color is the sky in your fantasy world?

    1
  47. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    IOWs, it [Covid] made no difference in the voting of anyone I know.

    Hardly worth Soros’s time and energy creating it — you would think it’s just a cash grab with the microchip holdings and his cornering the market on horse dewormer.

    1
  48. Mister Bluster says:

    John430 lives in Texas where the Governor wants schoolteachers to pull down the pants of their students so the government can check their genitalia to be sure they meet Republican Party approval.
    Abbot will be appointing a State Crotch Inspector any day now.

    6
  49. drj says:

    @John430:

    like Bernie and the Authoritarians who wish to install American Bolshevism and a one-party system.

    In the 2018 Wisconsin State Assembly elections, Democrats received 53% of the vote but won only 36 out of 99 seats. By contrast, Republicans won 63 seats with 45% of the vote.

    It is your side who are the anti-democratic Bolsheviks.

    And just as the historical Bolsheviks, you lie as easily as you breathe.

    5
  50. wr says:

    What’s Romney’s lane in a primary? Since he voted to impeach, he’s have to go with Noble, Self-Sacrificing Honest Man Who Cares More About Country and Party Than Career — that’s why we went against Trump.

    But Liz Cheney did everything Romney ever did — and then she actually put her career on the line to hold Trump and the Trumpies accountable for trying to overthrow the government. Romney’s pretty face occasionally utters words that, if not too closely observed, can be mistaken for substance, Liz Cheney is the real deal.

    Oh, and a horrible, war-mongering hard-right psycho who should never be allowed near the White House — but her very existence proves the hollowness of Mitt’s “courage.”

    3
  51. DK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Abbot will be appointing a State Crotch Inspector any day now.

    Maybe Matt Gaetz has a cousin in Texas that can apply.

    If Ron DeFascist and Florida Republicans were actually concerned about sex predators grooming children, they’d be banning Gaetz and Trump instead of attacking teachers with more War on Schools slander.

    1
  52. DK says:

    @john430:

    … Bernie and the Authoritarians who wish to install American Bolshevism and a one-party system.

    I’m a vocal Bernie critic, but I do recall it was Putin-puppet Trump and Moscow Mitch who shoveled trillions in socialist welfare to greedy billionaires, war contractors, big banks, rich megachurches, corporate oligarchs, and corporate farms hurt by the anti-capitalist China trade war Trump lost.

    And it’s Republicans using Drama Queen Donnie’s sore loser election lies to rig the American electoral system with vote suppression, up to and including replacing nonpartisan election officials with Trump Republicans and empowering Republican state legislatures to overturn any election in which a non-Republican prevails.

    So while sympathetic to critiques of Bolsheviks and one-party rule, only a braindead hack could possibly pin these sins on Democrats en imaginary thrall to Bernie, when it’s the GQP that moved from McCainism to late-stage communism in less than a decade.

    2
  53. @john430:

    who wish to install American Bolshevism and a one-party system.

    It is honestly sad that you believe this kind of stuff.

    6
  54. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “It is honestly sad that you believe this kind of stuff.”

    To be fair, it’s just as said if he doesn’t believe it but says it to annoy people… or simply has no idea what any of it means but reposts it because he saw it on some right-wing site.

    2
  55. CSK says:

    @wr:
    It makes sense if you believe that everyone is a communist but Donald Trump.

    1
  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john430: Pop quiz: Name a sane decent Republican.

    Just be ready for everybody here to tell you why that individual is neither sane nor decent.

    2
  57. Fortunato says:

    Mendacious Mitt is a pathological liar surpassed by very few.

    Back in the day, most imagined that Romney would surely go down in the annals of history as an extraordinarily craven standard bearer. A once in a lifetime anomaly of fate and misfortune.
    Most, that is, outside of the 2011/12 GOP apparatchik and the TEAgobblers they carefully nurtured and wrangled and set loose on society.
    A GOP that was just as spineless, morally bankrupt and beholden to special interests as it is today.
    A GOP that was, at the time, 15 years deep into the fulsome embrace of a the bad faith, Gingrich-style malevolence and toxicity that has destroyed the party and turned it against country and kin.

    Of course, then came Donald Trump (& Company).
    A band of grifters, charlatans and miscreants who made team Romney look like pikers.
    Then came the gun toting, goose stepping MAGAts, who made the TEAgobblers look quaint, in their tricorn caps, carrying their Gadsden flags.

    There was never any doubt that today’s never Trumpers would again abandon their principles and return to serve of the Dollarocracy.
    But.. for Mitt Romney… really?

  58. just nutha says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @wr: I’m inclined to think that he’s just zoomin’ us and doesn’t really believe anything.

    1
  59. gVOR08 says:

    @Fortunato:

    Most, that is, outside of the 2011/12 GOP apparatchik and the TEAgobblers they carefully nurtured and wrangled and set loose on society.

    The group that believe most in a Romney comeback are the supposedly liberal MSM with their desperate need to pretend there are moderate Republicans.

    1
  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There was some comment yesterday that 430 might be a Russian bot. I expressed skepticism as 430’s not up to Russian bot standards. I saw a Dr today say her latest tweet on COVID didn’t get the usual anti-vaxx kickback, presumably because Russia shut down Twitter. But it looks like 430’s still here.

    6
  61. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It’s easy to believe slanderous slogans when you don’t need to know what the words in them actually mean.

    I hear Bernie distims the doshes, too.

    2
  62. john430 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That would be a given in that Democrats on this forum are neither pro-American nor freedom loving. All of you are authoritarian and want a single party government like China, Russia, Cuba et al.

  63. john430 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Name me one instance that the Democrats on this page have promoted individualism and freedom. Everyone here is advocating for “government supplied or government controlled”. I occasionally see my role as one who sticks a pin
    in the leftist fantasies posted here.

  64. Gustopher says:

    @just nutha: Repeat lies often enough, and you will start to believe them even if no one else does. If he doesn’t believe it now, he will soon.

  65. john430 says:

    @Mister Bluster: Hooray! You have won the title of State Crotch Inspector. It was a tight race and your mama was a close second.

  66. Jay L Gischer says:

    @john430: You asked:

    Name me one instance that the Democrats on this page have promoted individualism and freedom.

    Well, most of us support trans peoples freedom to express their internal sense of gender. Most of us support parents and doctors of trans children getting the sort of care that makes them happier and healthier, and supports their transition. That really seems right in the wheelhouse of “individualism and freedom”.

    Don’t you agree?

    4
  67. Jay L Gischer says:

    Woops, I should have said, “parents and doctors of trans children getting them the sort of care that makes them happier and healthier”

    1
  68. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    There was some comment yesterday that 430 might be a Russian bot.

    It does seme more like some incompetent programmer is trying to copy an AI using fewer resources than the original. The end result is a spewing of words by someone or something that has no idea what an AI is supposed to say.

  69. Liberal Capitalist says:

    For today’s GOP, he just doesn’t have the necessary inane spiteful churlish nature.

    You got to have a burning hate for your fellow Americans to win a nomination. Wear guns strapped everywhere, blame everything on everyone else, and insist on the failure of government while sucking off its teat.

    That ain’t mittens.

    2
  70. DK says:

    @john430:

    Name me one instance that the Democrats on this page have promoted individualism and freedom.

    Democrats on this page believe that women should have control over their pregnancies and their bodies. Sometime this year conservatives’ Apartheid Supreme Court will allow goverment bureaucrats to enslave women with forced birth, including rape and incest victims.

    Democrats on this page believe that consenting adults should have the right to marry other consenting adults. Meanwhile, opposition to freedom to marry is still written into the Republican Party’s platform.

    Democrats believe that everyone should have the right to vote. Republicans are making it harder to vote, including criminalizing how voters get refreshments.

    Democrats believe that professional educators should control their classrooms. Conservatives have launched a war on academic freefom, using anti-CRT race baiting and homophobia to smear and slander teachers as groomers who teach racial hate.

    Democrats believe the people closest to trans kids — their parents and teachers — should decide how those kids are raised. Republicans are using goverment to investigate those parents as criminals and abusers.

    I have more, want me to continue?

    6
  71. Kathy says:

    @DK:

    It’s natural you’d misunderstand the Socialist Oligarchical position, seeing as Orwell did not see fit to include parts of it in his magnum opus. So I’ll explain:

    Freedom in this context means the freedom to obey what the minority (aka oligarchy) demands of you.

    2
  72. Mister Bluster says:

    I did not attack you in my post earlier in this thread John. I just stated that you live in Texas. However I am not surprised that you would attack me and my mother. By the way she’s been dead since 2008. Always a classy move to denigrate someone who is not around to defend themselves.
    Everyone knows that your boyfriend Trump is the pervert who “grabs them by the pussy”.

    3
  73. Ken_L says:

    Romney would be slaughtered in the primary. Mauled even more badly than Pence. Because Trump Republicans can’t stand him. That means more than 80% of all Republicans.

    Which also means he’d get done in the general, with the lowest Republican turnout in history. Plus someone like Peter Thiel or Mike Pompeo would run as an independent MAGA candidate and get all the hard core Trump Cult votes.

    1
  74. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Not a hope in hell. He’s still the guy without a spine who flip-flopped on lots of issues depending on which way the wind sock was blowing that day. And he’s the guy who flew to another state to accept Donald Trump’s endorsement – after Trump had made nasty comments about Ann Romney. He gave Trump a small credibility boost with that gesture. Mitt wears the suit and looks the part, but there’s nothing under the shirt and tie. He’s got a good supporting role now, but Liz Cheney is beating him completely at being a strong anti-Trump voice.

    One of the most over-rated politicians of the 21st century.

    1
  75. Jeb Watch says:

    Regardless of whether Romney runs again or not, the events in Ukraine have I think seriously damaged any chances of a successful Trump 2024. All any substantive opponent of Trump has to do is run an ad of the clown prince calling Putin a “genius” and his troops “peacekeepers” on the day they invaded, and juxaposition those words over or against images of dead children and women and bombed out cityscapes. Romney can ad a prologue to this of him warning the country and world in 2012 at a presidential debate that Putin posed an existential threat to the US and the world while Obama ridiculed him. History is full of ironies. Romney, the guy who put his dog on the roof of his SUV, is now a plausible man of the hour. Rendered politically irrelevant once by Obama’s wily theft, through Obamacare, of his chief campaign issue is now given a second chance at historical relevance. Neither his most trivial opponent (Trump) nor his more serious one (Biden or Harris) seem to have a meaningful stolen or borrowed idea to use against him at present on this crucial historical point.