Romney For Senate
US News blogger Peter Roff speculates that Mitt Romney will run for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.
Such an announcement would likely be embraced immediately by the Republicans, who would like almost nothing more than to deny Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada his new, hard-won, 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority. As a self-funding candidate who has already been elected once statewide, Romney has nearly 100 percent name ID. And, in an environment where President Obama seems to be dragging the Democrats down, he would be a serious threat to the Democratic hegemony in Massachusetts’s congressional delegation. Meaning Romney likely would win.
If he did, Romney would then have a platform to actually introduce legislation modeled on the proposals he put forward as a presidential candidate
in 2008 and planned to put forward in 2012. No guesswork. No empty rhetoric. Real ideas, on the Senate floor, that could be evaluated, debated, and perhaps even voted on.
From the Senate floor, Romney could show his fellow Republicans, and the country, just what kind of president he would be. How he would approach national problems. As an added political benefit, it would give him the opportunity to establish true conservative bona fides allowing him to finally overcome the suspicions many conservatives in the GOP’s primary electorate still harbor about him. Rather than tie him down, Romney could actually use the Senate seat to lock up the GOP nomination in 2012.
Two minor problems with this: Romney would have to get elected. And he’d have to instantly be an effective senator.
Romney was governor of Massachusetts, a very advantageous platform from which to run for president. Not only did it allow him to demonstrate decisive, executive leadership — as opposed to those pesky compromise votes that tend to embarrass senators running for president — but it allowed him to claim that he was a uniter, able to get things done as a Republican in a highly Democratic state. So, why did he give it up? Because he was unlikely to win re-election. Why would he suddenly be more popular in a state even less receptive to a Republican while wallowing in a sea of Kennedy emotion?
Were Romney to get elected despite this obstacle, he’d have about five minutes to start passing legislation for it to do him any good in a presidential campaign that will start in earnest next February. If it hasn’t started already. He’d have to do this as the Senate’s most junior member in a body where seniority is everything. And as a Republican in a body where the Democrats have 59 percent of the votes.
Implicit in all their arguments is a fundamental point I failed to make in the original post: The positions one has to take to get elected to statewide office in Massachusetts are diametrically opposed to those one has to take to win the Republican presidential nomination.