Well, it’s a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. Perhaps that’s why Reihan Salam wrote, and Slate published, a “Why Not Romney ’16?” piece. Though the subtitle proclaims “I’m not kidding!” Salam can if he wishes write this off later on as an end-of-summer fancy.

Having said all that, I’d give Salam’s argument a good solid “C” for “Chutzpah.” His first big talking point is that all the disastrous stuff Mitt did in 2012 was the result of “his defensiveness and his fear of alienating Tea Party conservatives he didn’t truly understand.” In other words, he was a clumsy panderer. A presumably reformed (Salam is a member in good standing of the Reformicon tribe) GOP could find in the “authentic” Romney–you know, the one who’s not lying and pandering–the “populist the party needs.” No, I’m not buying it, either.

A second argument is that Romney’s sorta like Reagan, in that he’s run two losing races already and he’ll be 69 next time around. Moreover, Reagan also took a lot of positions as a governor that conservatives didn’t like. To be sure, admits Salam, there are some minor differences:

Reagan was famously charismatic, and he had been a conservative folk hero for years by the time he finally won the Republican nomination. The same can’t be said of Romney.

Other than that, two peas in a pod!

Salam’s third, and most compelling, argument is that the 2016 GOP presidential field may turn out to be as unsuitable as the field Romney struggled to subdue in 2012. Now that really is a problem for Republicans to ponder, but things are even worse than you might think if the only solution that comes to mind is Mitt Romney.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.