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Right off the bat I knew I was going to absolutely adore this essay in Politico by former Bush 43 official Emil Henry. How? Because immediately after the title...
The Case for Mitt Romney in 2016
... came the subhead:
I'm absolutely serious.
And he is absolutely serious, which pretty much guarantees massive hilarity ... and boy, does he deliver, starting from the very first sentence:
No politician wants to be compared to Richard Nixon, but Mitt Romney might like the following.
No, seriously: If you are a presidential hopeful, you do not want to be compared to Richard Nixon. Ever. End of story! But Henry's argument is more than just a oddball comparison with Richard Nixon. He has three main points, and I will concede this much—there's a actually a little bit of sense to what Henry saying.
Really, I mean that. I'm absolutely serious, at least about his first two points:
1. Romney is re-emerging as the de facto leader of the Republican Party.
2. There is no natural 2016 GOP nominee and the field is highly fractured.
So what is it about those arguments that I find non-crazy? Simple: At their core, each point comes down to the fact that as a national party, Republicans are in dire straits. Mitt Romney could quite possibly be the best that they've got. You might not be excited about driving to work in a clunker with no doors and a jacked-up windshield, but if it's the only way you can get there, you've got to do what you've go to.
That being said, the only thing I'm really convinced of is that Republicans are in rough shape. The fact that Mitt Romney is even being uttered in the same sentence as 2016 is proof of that.
And Henry's third point is as absurd as it is a non-sequitor:
3. All failed nominees other than Romney were career politicians.
Henry's point is that people are looking for a CEO in a president, not a politician. That makes no sense—just ask President Perot, or, dare I say it, President Romney. Or his dad, the other President Romney. Moreover, even though Mitt certainly has the CEO distinction, the only reason Henry can claim he's not a career politician is that Mitt keeps on losing elections—and judging by the fact that he didn't run for re-election as governor of Massachusetts, not even Mitt thinks he would have won that race.
Still, I don't think the third point really impacts Henry's argument either way, because at it's core, one good argument in favor of Mitt in 2016 is this: Republicans might not have anyone better.