Mitt Romney as the New Reagan for 2016
See also: Alas, Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan
Now that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney – who lost his race for the presidency to Barack Obama in 2012 by almost 4 percentage points and 126 electoral votes – has finally decided to seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, a serious review of his persona and chances for success is in order.
And now that all polling of GOP hopefuls will soon include his name – where he will often lead the pack – a far more accurate line will be emerging between the truly serious candidates and the merely wishful-thinking ones.
On April 11 of last year, Newsmax.com posted an article of mine not only recommending that Romney run again, but predicting that he will succeed in that effort as "the New Ronald Reagan" – not by claiming that noble identity for himself, but by a gradual realization by the American public that this is, indeed, the case.
Remember, please, that the late, great Gipper's ideological and political identity began in the "New Deal Left" and moved gradually to the center-left, the center, the center-right, the moderate right, and finally to "Mister Conservative" himself. Once a classical liberal Hollywood union boss, Reagan did not become a Republican until age 53 – moving gradually toward the socio-political and foreign policy right, but never to the far right by today's standards.
And notice now that a decade or more ago, a centrist Mitt Romney began his own trek toward the center-right and moderate conservative positions he holds today – realizing as Reagan did that neither the so-called "liberal" nor the left-illiberal (i.e., the Progressive and Socialist) models work well at all, and are in fact destructive of the Life, Liberty and Happiness and the Separation of Powers assurances of our founding documents.
In a pattern that some critics called "flip-flopping," Mitt Romney did indeed begin flipping gradually to the right – but never flopping back toward the left – on many major issues of national and global importance, several of which were then and still are…
o Increasingly pro-life (based on both medical science and 10th Amendment rights)
o Increasingly supportive of Second Amendment rights
o Increasingly tough on illegal immigration and on border security
o Increasingly anti-Obamacare (born of universal Hillarycare, not one-state Romneycare)
o Increasingly supportive of Paul Ryan's "MediChoice" versus Obama's "MediCrash"
o Increasingly supportive of safeguarding the man-woman definition of marriage
o Increasingly supportive of Simpson-Bowles spending cuts and budget-balancing
o Increasingly critical of the pseudo-science of the global warming "ClimateScam"
o Increasingly tough on foreign policy, national security, and Defense Department funding
o Increasingly against Obama's tyrannical violations of the law, his oath, the Constitution
Looking back on the 2012 campaign, it was no wonder that Romney's polling numbers were stuck in the "unpopular" and "not very likable" ranges – when neither he nor his supporters were offering this convincing narrative as to why the man was certainly not the unprincipled, unreliable, undecided "weathervane" that the "flip-flop" label implies.
At a time when "change" is still the rage, this should entitle our changed-for-the-better Mitt Romney to President Reagan's "Trust but Verify" opportunity to prove the stability and durability of his multiple moves toward the Reagan Right.
After all, is this not the kind of rightward movement that we seek in millions of well-intentioned but confused independents and centrist Democrats who were so thoroughly seduced by the "OPRAH Land" (Obama-Pelosi-Reid-And-Hillary Land) Plantation bosses in the elections of 2006 and 2008 – but who came back to their senses in the "no confidence" midterm elections of 2010 and 2014 and should do so again in 2016?
Reasons for 2012 Loss Are Much Diminished
So why did such a good candidate lose in 2012 but expect to win in 2016? The answer comes in two major chapters – the peculiar nature of the earlier race between Romney and Obama, and his very different race against Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, or Jim Webb.
First, in 2012, Romney was for many months hammered black-and-blue by several very persuasive and well-funded fellow Republicans for reasons that appear less valid now than they seemed then – e.g., his alleged RINOism, his supposed flip-flopping, his Romneycare experiment in Massachusetts, etc. – all of which left him bruised, battered, and "suspect" among millions of staunch Republicans, independents, Evangelicals and Tea Partiers.
These are millions of voters – many who stayed home in 2012 – who will be much wiser in 2016 and far more supportive of the "Real Romney" than they were of the ill-defined and wrongly demonized candidate of 2012.
Second, in 2012, Romney was facing a first-ever black, charismatic, hope-and-change candidate who had a huge personality-cult following and an "inherited from Bush" scam that would not quit – and who was at the last minute rescued by yet another personality cultist and finger-pointing scam artist. This was, of course, the ever-charming Bill Clinton, who still carried the image of a fairly successful presidency that was capped with three years of Clinton-Gingrich balanced budgets.
And third, in 2012, Romney was faced with many built-in liberal and left-wing voting blocs (blacks at over 90%, Latinos at over 70%, Big Labor unions at over 80%, academics and media types at 85-90%, welfare-dependents and unemployed at 70-80%, state-local-federal government employees at 60-70%, Jewish voters at over 60%) – most of whom were still in awe of Obama's charm and still believed that his "Hope and Change" promises were for real.
But now, looking ahead to 2016, a relatively undamaged, fully re-energized, much better known, and completely vetted Mitt Romney...
(a) will not have to overcome the combined personality cults and "Scamalot" talents of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton;
(b) will not have to overcome the "blame Bush" and "inherited from Bush" scams that have now run their deceitful courses; and
(c) will not face block-voting margins quite so large among voters who once expected miracles from "the One for whom we have been waiting" – with eight painful years of learning that "Progressive" does not mean progress, but is the Democrats' code word for Socialist and/or Marxist, instead.
The New Reagan and Even More
Finally, back to the man himself. If further verification of Romney's bona fides is needed, we should notice that along with his rightward policy changes for the better, the man has maintained and strengthened his fine reputation...
(a) as an exemplary family man,
(b) as a serious person of religious faith and high ethics,
(c) as a generous humanitarian with his own time and wealth,
(d) as a hugely successful, jobs-creating businessman,
(e) as a proven manager of complex bureaucracies, and
(f) as a thoughtful and experienced leader with sufficient wisdom and gravitas to be a very good president – and even a great one if he continues "flipping" in the right direction.
In light of all these factors, it would be interesting to poll all Republican hopefuls with the following question: Of all the other GOP candidates, with whom would you prefer to run for vice president, help "Rescue America from Obamanism" for 4 or 8 years, and in due course run for the presidency yourself?
In my opinion, a Reagan-esque Mitt Romney would win this peer review in a walk – Romney-Rubio, Romney-Carson, Romney-Cruz, -Walker, -Perry, -Huckabee, -Paul, -Santorum, -Kasich, -Paul, -Bush, or any other.
And woe to the "Progressively Worse" Hillarian, Elizabethan, Sharptonian and other leftover Democrats from Barack Obama's ignoble "Age of Scamalot."
If in the last days of the 2012 race the Romney campaign had made claim to the "New Reagan" mantle, the Obama- and Clinton-worshipers, the lapdog-left media, and many Republicans who considered themselves the true reincarnations of the Gipper would have loudly derided the idea of Romney's neo-Reaganism. With insufficient time to argue this new narrative and to prove its validity, this would almost surely have backfired.
But now, with the Reagan-Romney parallels becoming ever clearer and with ample time to convince millions of voters by both words and deeds that this is, indeed, the truth of the matter, the odds will greatly increase that American voters will not miss this second and last chance to elect this close-enough "New Ronald Reagan."
A D.C.-area attorney, writer and national security strategist, Jim Guirard was longtime chief of staff to former U.S. senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long. His TrueSpeak.org website is focused primarily on truth-in-language and truth-in-history in public discourse.