Romney as Republican Comfort Food

It’s way too early to tell who is going to run, who is able to run and who will win from running for president in 2016. But if prognosticators didn’t try to take a stab at it, then those of us in the politics business would be pushing the unemployment rate up another percentage point.

Thus, the latest CBS poll of potential 2016 nominees shows 6 in 10 Republican voters, or 59 percent of that bloc, want to see Romney stump on the presidential campaign trail. Jake Miller at CBS News:

Republicans have a particularly broad field of prospective candidates, and it’s seemingly growing by the day: Just last week, the 2012 GOP nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told a room of donors in New York City that he’s seriously entertaining a 2016 bid.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans would like to see Romney jump into the 2016 race, while only 26 percent believe he should stay out, according to the CBS News poll.

Fifty percent of Republicans would like to see former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the campaign trail as well, while 27 percent disagree. If both Romney and Bush run, analysts expect them to wage a competitive battle for the allegiance of the Republican establishment.

A lot of observers are scratching their collective heads on Romney’s sudden phantom rise given his self-inflicting 2012 defeat and his flopped run in the 2008 GOP primary. But there are indications of a raging battle between donors and various wings of party activists: he talks a great donor game, but doesn’t necessarily strike the grassroots folks as authentic – unless you fell in love with the unrecognizably likable Mitt showcased in that post-election Netflix documentary. And, the only thing holding Bush back, at the moment, is both his brand (the last name makes everyone, regardless of political affiliation, queasy) and skepticism over his stances on key issues as they’ve changed over the past decade.

If anything, such an overwhelming response from GOP voters should not assume Romney is a great candidate. It just says Republicans are comfortable with going with what they know; even Bush with 50 percent is folks simply going with the brand they know as opposed to the truly qualified brand at the moment. The other presumptives will just have to work harder at name ID.

Charles Ellison

Charles Ellison is Politics Contributor for theRoot.com and Washington Correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune. He can be reached via Twitter @ellisonreport