Mitt Romney is going to run for president, because he would be crazy not to do so. He has been preparing for this his entire life. He has lots of money. He is a good looking guy, and has the mannerisms for the job. Romney dropped out of the primary race with John McCain because Romney was being a good sport. He may have lost to McCain anyway, but Romney’s campaign was not petering out. He had money to burn. Romney dropped out to give the GOP what it almost always chooses – the patriarchal figure over the political figure (George W. Bush being the exception.)
Romney would have a huge uphill climb ahead. Obama is still very popular, and he has gotten to the point where House Republicans are angrier at other Democrats than they are with the president. This is where Clinton was in 1995, when the GOP was more concerned with trouncing Democrats nationally than they were with unseating Clinton. Obama is in a good position to be re-elected. Romney, however, can give the Republican Party something it has not had in a very long time, the intellectual candidate.
Even in big Republican years, the GOP has gone with the more inspiring (Reagan) candidate, the more trusted (Eisenhower) candidate, and the more likable (George W. Bush) candidate. The party almost never runs the now-popular ‘policy wonk- intellectual’ candidate. Romney, however, is an intellectual. Like him or not, Romney would not be a deer in the headlights when someone mentions overseas markets or the Internet.
Romney has some baggage, however. He flipped on the abortion issue. He lost friends in what is a growing gay Republican community. He probably offended some McCain followers prior to dropping out. And then there is the whole Mormon thing, and that was big…but is not anymore, thanks to Barack Obama.
All of Romney’s past stumbles are relatively fixable. He can mend fences with gay conservatives. He can maintain his current stance on abortion and say he had an epiphany. He can find a way to separate his Romney-Care health insurance policy from Obama-Care. And thanks the man in the White House, being slightly less traditional than previous presidents - in this case Mormon - is now okay.
Romney would never – EVER – have been elected if Barack Obama had not been elected first. Obama did not simply break a racial barrier, he broke the “non-traditional” barrier, and Romney now has a chance to get elected president.
The issues facing Romney are still health care, abortion, whether the conservatives can trust him, whether the moderates can trust him, getting enough Hispanic support, and the fact that the Republican Party has its supporters and its detractors – all of whom he inherits should he be the nominee. But he will only have to talk about being Mormon for a short while because Americans have shown they can think (and vote) past that kind of thing.