How Mitt Can Stay In Touch

I had totally missed Mitt Romney’s remark during his now-infamous post-election donor call that he was considering staying in touch with his friends and supporters via a “monthly newsletter” of some sort, until TNR’s Michael Schaffer penned a nice send-up of what a “Mitt’s Monthly” might have as content.

For all I know Mitt’s alleged interest in entering the publishing world might have been a ritualistic throwaway line, much like the president’s election night pledge to sit down with Mitt and discuss the whichness of what. But on the call, he said he wanted to stay in touch with donors “so we can stay informed and have influence on the direction of the party, and perhaps the selection of a future nominee” (and then quickly reiterating his lack of interest in running again himself).

And that raises the question: what kind of influence could this man actually have in the GOP? That’s hard to say, despite a relatively close defeat. He holds no office and has no obvious platform. He has no real personal following in the party (other than among the LDS faithful, and he’s already satisfied their desire for respectability by winning a major-party presidential nomination and then waging a campaign that did not significantly arouse religious tensions). His only “signature” policy positions were one he tried never to talk about (RomneyCare) and one he probably should have never taken (“self-deportation”). We all joked about his many home states and multiple residences, but the fact remains he’s not exactly “from” anywhere. And beyond all that, is there any subject on which it would be natural for Republicans or non-Republicans to seek his counsel? None that I can think of.

Having said all that, it’s understandable that the man would find it difficult to transition quickly from a full-blown presidential campaign to invisibility. But he need not mess with a “monthly newsletter” to make his views known for anyone wanting to hear them. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump have shown the way to the low-cost “newsletter” of the future. Mitt should just get him a real Facebook page or a Twitter handle, and he’ll find out real fast if anyone wants to stay in touch.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.