Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Hit or Mitt: Proven Loser

Having run unsuccessfully for public office myself, I have a hard time imagining what it takes for someone to screw up the courage to run a second time and risk repeat failure. So I have an especially hard time understanding what is coursing through the brain of Mitt Romney as he apparently gears up for a third run for the big ring.

mitt-romney-loserOf course, I have had trouble understanding Romney before. A seemingly successful governor of a big, blue state, Romney the presidential candidate ran away from his record and into the arms of ideologues who despised and repudiated everything he had ever achieved. It’s one thing to say he changed his mind about abortion rights; it’s another to change his mind on the role of government.

By his own admission, Romney’s 2012 GOP presidential campaign had gaping flaws and incredible gaffes. We still haven’t gotten a decent explanation why Romney thought it was okay to tie the family dog in his cage on the roof of his SUV. I’m doubtful there ever will be a decent explanation of that. An apology would be nice.

All this dodges the core question of why you would subject yourself to the torture of a third presidential try in 2016? There isn’t to my knowledge a Draft Mitt movement afoot. The burr in Romney’s saddle seems mostly to be Jeb Bush’s early entry into the race and his initial success sucking  up commitments from big money donors.

Bush has the name familiarity and profile to capture the establishment wing of the GOP and tickle the fancy of others who are tired of losing in presidential race. Romney’s problem is that he a 2-time loser. He lost to Barack Obama and John McCain. If he was a darling of the Tea Party crowd, those losses would be a badge of honor. To his buds on Wall Street who have nightmares about Elizabeth Warren sitting in the White House, Romney is a proven loser and yesterday’s news.

The one thing Romney has going for him is a semblance of citizenship in most of America. According to Zillow, Romney owns homes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Utah and California. His most recent purchase is a 2-bedroom Boston townhouse, which gives the Romneys an official address in their “home” state after selling their 2.44-acre, 7-bedroom, 6.5-bath estate in Belmont. Over the years, reports indicate Romney has owned 15 or 16 homes, not counting any condos on the Cayman Islands.

The Romney La Jolla beachfront house has been an interesting landing place. The ‘hood wasn’t wild about the Secret Service camping in their cul-de-sac during the last presidential election. They were even less thrilled when the Romneys announced plans to bulldoze the existing house and build a much larger one to accommodate their five married sons, their wives and a dozen or so grandchildren.

Of course, some of the Romney residential news may be outdated. He was obliged to disclose where he put his shoes under the bed while running for President, but not so since then. He may have more houses by now, and in more states. He evidently has enough money to own one at least in every Red and Purple State, allowing him to campaign as needed from his front porch.

There is no denying that Romney has the central casting looks of a president. His face would look great on a gold coin. His problem isn’t that he couldn’t do the job; his problem is not being able to land the job.

gty_monkey_trial_mi_130708_16x9_608William Jennings Bryan had the same problem. He ran for President three times and lost three times. Bryan ran on a populist platform and his brilliant imagery of a cross of gold, but is known today for being on the wrong side of history on Prohibition and the butt of the Scopes Monkey trial.

Romney should take solace that he would have been a swell President of the United States, then go into one of his backyards, fire up the barbecue and cook dinner. By being a political loser, he has gained back his life. He and has family have been spared from endless snarky comments. Fewer people record what he says on hidden smartphones. Hardly anyone has a Mitt is a Nitwit Facebook page.

Why give this up? And for what? A chance to prove once more that you are a loser?

Believe me, Mitt, no one needs any more proof.





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