Three is a Magic Number

Mitt Romney’s apparent desire to run for the presidency yet again doesn’t seem so far-fetched if one understands Massachusetts politics. Last month, Stonehill College Professor Peter Ubertaccio noted that Romney may have been studying the Bay State’s new Republican governor:

Among the many reasons former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had to smile on election night 2014 was the ascension of Charlie Baker to Romney’s former office. Those most interested in another Romney run will want to model Baker’s path from defeat to renomination to victory.

Romney attended Baker’s victory party and lent a hand to the Baker camp though he wasn’t an active surrogate for Baker.

He didn’t have time. The former Governor found himself in demand all over the country from New Hampshire to Alaska as he threw himself into party affairs, both working on behalf of an impressive slate of candidates and keeping speculation alive about his future intentions.

Just as [former Massachusetts Governor] Deval Patrick’s win in 2006 and reelection in 2010 offered a model that Barack Obama copied perfectly, Charlie Baker’s path from defeat to victory may be the blueprint for Mitt Romney.

Baker ran as someone not entirely himself in 2010. Voters turned him aside. He then threw himself into party affairs with energy and enjoyment and clawed his way back to victory. The man, who former colleagues have called “the smartest guy in Massachusetts government,” ran as much more of a happy warrior and better manager in 2014. He embraced himself and ran a smarter campaign. Victory didn’t come easy but still it came.

Indeed, Baker ran as a bitter, climate-change-denying wingnut in 2010 against Patrick, under the idiotic slogan “Had Enough?” Last year, however, Baker ran as a kinder, gentler Republican, accepting climate science and positioning himself as a compassionate conservative. It worked.

If Romney runs as a non-reactionary Republican and anti-poverty crusader, it won’t convince those of us who understand that Romney’s party is all about pleasing the one percent and punishing the rest. However, it might convince enough casual voters to allow Romney to win this time. Stranger things have happened…

Tomorrow: A look at last year’s documentary about Romney’s previous runs for President.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.