By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT — The only thing we know for sure about the 2016 presidential election is that Obama is not running. (Wait, we do know that, right?)
The pundits have been buzzing for months about whether Mitt Romney will try one more time in 2016; adding some flame to the fire is Romney’s conversation with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
Wallace tried to nail Romney down on a commitment to run and couldn’t do it:
WALLACE: Governor, let me — let me look to the future because voters seem willing to give you another chance. There was a “USA Today” poll just a couple weeks ago of Iowa voters in which you swamped the field there. You had 35 percent. Huckabee was second with 9 percent, and the rest of the field trailed after that. And recently, you gave an interview, and when asked about running again, you gave a whole lot of reasons why not, but then you also said circumstances can change.
Question, what does that mean?
ROMNEY: Well, you know, I spoken on this topic so many times. I don’t really have anything new to add, Chris. I’m not running. I’m not planning on running.
And yet, there’s still the “is he, isn’t he” dialogue.
Althouse has parsed the whole conversation and she thinks he’s running:
It’s time for someone else… but what if no one else materializes? What if the baton just lays there, unpicked up? Is he willing to pick it up? He says “time” twice, speaking in the present tense, but that leaves it open that some time from now, if no one else comes forward, he will be there, ready to serve. He would love it!
Wallace takes another approach:
WALLACE: You mentioned Hillary Clinton. Do you think you’d make a better president than Hillary Clinton?
ROMNEY: No question about that in my mind. The American people may disagree with me. But, look, you’ve got to get this economy going.
At this point, I think I said out loud: He is running. He’s making a pitch for why he’s better than the presumptive candidate of the other party. And he’s raring to go…
Marc Thiessen thinks a Romney run would be a terrible, no good, very bad thing:
Why would Republicans want to relive that debacle? Mitt Romney is an utterly decent man who certainly would have been a much better president than Barack Obama. But he was given a golden opportunity to save the United States from a second Obama term and blew it.
Do Republicans really want to count on him to save the United States from Clinton’s first term?
Well, what are the other options?
Cameron Joseph at The Hill looks at some “dark horse” options which include Mike Pence, John Bolton, John Kasich, and Dr. Ben Carson. I’d call those veeeeryyyy long shots.
A recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll has Romney far and away the favorite Republican candidate in Iowa. The next best option appears to be Huckabee. When you look at the other possible contenders it looks like the same stable of tired old horses.
Speaking of tired, old horses, it also looks like if Clinton wants to run she has it all locked up.
Mitt Romney weighed in on Hillary, too:
You’ve also got to have people who’ve actually run something. The government of the United States is the largest enterprise in the world. You watched a president who just doesn’t understand how to make an administration work, how to interact with Congress, how to get things done. You have to have those things.
I don’t think Hillary Clinton has that experience. And I look for instance at her record as secretary of state, look, her record is Barack Obama’s record in foreign policy. And it’s a disaster.
The president went to Egypt and said we’re going to have this new wonderful relationship with the Muslim world, and now, the Middle East is burning. The president won’t even call the invasion by Russia into Ukraine an invasion. Look, if you can’t — if you can’t speak decisively, you can’t be decisive.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are two peas in the same pod. And the American people have tasted that and have said, look, that’s not a good taste. It’s not right for the American people.
And so…where does that leave the Republicans? Rand Paul? Marco Rubio? Ted Cruz? Paul Ryan? Jeb Bush? Bobby Jindal? Rick Perry?
Who will rise from the pack and assume the mantle of leader? From where I sit, I’ve got grave doubts about most of the oft-mentioned names.
To be honest, I’m disgusted with them all.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.