An old boss of mine, the late Lee Atwater, used to say you had to “go around the presidential track at least once” to be a serious candidate for president and to have the experience to be a good candidate for national office. Many of the 2016 hopefuls haven’t even stepped foot on the track, so, naturally, it is the now “weak field.” Fields typically pick up strength as they run, and get better known – both their policy positions and their personalities, again see Perry, Rick who never quite got the hang of national politics last time around.
So, there is a vacuum and the most recent guy on the track, Mitt Romney, all of a sudden apparently looks pretty good (in comparison). Even Republicans weren’t embracing Romney tightly last time around but, to read the papers lately, you’d think he’s the GOP Hillary Clinton, preparing to be anointed the candidate. Some say now that Romney has run for president, he’s ready and they even compare him, in that context, to Ronald Reagan who ran for chief executive a few times. But, Reagan was the standard bearer only once -- and he won that race. Romney has been the standard bearer once and was beaten. Not a good position to be in. Plus, if he did run, he wouldn’t be compared to a weakened Barack Obama, he’d be compared to, probably, Hillary Clinton.
It’s great that Romney is looked upon more positively now, or appears to be. With time, we all have better perspective on many things – especially former presidents (see Bush, George H.W., who people now better understand actually was on watch when the economy came roaring back, but that wasn’t the appearance at the time, so he was voted out of office).
I’m fine with Romney being perceived as the leader of the party, for now, as the most recent presidential nominee is until we have another one. I’m happy he has the opportunity to improve his image/reputation. But I don’t think he’ll be the GOP candidate. While anyone’s ego would get a boost from that appearance, especially after losing an election, the aura will fade as the new crop of candidates become better known.
Who will emerge as the GOP candidate, way too early to say.