Do you remember the early days of the GOP primary — when all the non-Romneys were taking their turns humiliating the future nominee of the party?
Early November 2011 was Herman Cain’s chance to shame Mitt. In some polls, Cain reached 30 percent, heights that Romney didn’t scale till months later. Riding this crest, Cain sat down with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A journalist asked him: “So do you agree with President Obama on Libya or not?”
For the next full minute, the former CEO of Godfather Pizza seemed to be playing Password with the questioner, attempting to jar some clue about which talking point he was supposed to repeat. At one point, he actually says, “No, that’s not the line.”
And this was the man who was leading Mitt Romney in polls before allegations of extra-martial affairs – which he alternately blamed on Rick Perry and the “Democrat Machine” — forced him to suspend his campaign.
If you look at Mitt Romney’s qualifications to be president, winning the GOP primary isn’t one. The only reasonable opponent he had – Jon Huntsman – never had a shot. Losing to Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, who both departed Congress in shame, would have been a humiliation. Romney does have two accomplishments in public life that stand out, however.
The former CEO of Bain Capital revived the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Olympics with the help of what resembled a federal bailout. But his greater accomplishment was signing Massachusetts’ health care reform — RomneyCare — into law. To do this, he worked with former foes including the late Senator Ted Kennedy to craft a centrist approach that insured nearly all the citizens in his state. (And because his state was liberal Massachusetts, he also insured undocumented workers with a plan that covered gay couples and subsidized abortion.)
This was an achievement that clearly qualified him for national prominence. But what has Mitt Romney been doing since then?
Since 2006, Mitt Romney has been running to become the President of the Republican Party, which may be the worst possible preparation to become a candidate for President of the United States.
In that time the GOP suffered two stunning electoral defeats and presided over a horrendous financial crisis. Each defeat drove the party further right and took Mitt Romney with it.
Copyright 2012 The National Memo