A joint venture between NPR and The New Republic explores the viability of a political comeback by failed GOP presidential candidate and former Gov. Mitt Romney. With a new book forthcoming and a publicity tour planned, reporter Ed Kilgore wonders whether Romney's electoral prospects might be looking up:
After losing the GOP nomination 2008, he dropped below most Americans' radar screens. Yet he retains most of his original points of appeal: the granite visage, the competent-exec air, the economic policy fluency, and the résumé that includes being governor of blue-state Massachusetts and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, which is sure to make him a regular quote machine during the upcoming Vancouver games. Each day that passes takes him further away from the social policy heresies of his earlier political career. And some Republican insiders really do believe that a prior failed presidential bid is an essential box to check, making him arguably "next in line" for the nomination.
More importantly, the likely GOP field for 2012, in comparison to the 2008 crop, looks a bit easier for Mitt to manage. As National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru observed in a smart piece in October, Mitt didn’t fit in 2008 as the conservative alternative to John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, but he will find it easier in 2012 to be the establishment candidate acceptable to movement conservatives:
Romney seems more naturally an establishmentarian than a conservative insurgent, so this strategy would be a better fit for him than his last one. He is not a man to be swayed by the momentary passions of his party's base; pretending otherwise adds to his reputation for slickness. If he ran as an establishment candidate, the fact that he used to take less-conservative positions would still matter. But it would not matter as much, because he would no longer have to prove himself as a true-blue conservative.
Meanwhile, here's Tim Egan, blogging in the New York Times, and posing the question: Is Romney "Health Care's Biggest Hypocrite — Or Hero," when it comes to his role as the governor who signed Massachusetts health insurance reform into law.
This program aired on January 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.