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The True Confessions Of Mitt Romney

Memo Pad Politics

The True Confessions Of Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney addresses the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Say you’re Mitt Romney, and you still can’t believe you lost the 2012 election. You’ve been aiming barbs at President Obama and sending heartwarming Christmas cards featuring your large family. In 2014, you star in a flattering documentary and post charming photos of your hike through the Mountain West with five of your 22 grandchildren. When asked whether you will make a third try for the White House, you and your wife say absolutely not, many times in many ways.

And then suddenly you’re giving off definitive “let’s do this thing” vibes: telling donors you will almost certainly run, calling former allies and aides, adding yourself to the program at the Republican National Committee meeting in San Diego and inviting conservative radio host Laura Ingraham to an “off the record” lunch at a ski resort in Utah, after which she tells The Washington Post you were “fully engaged and up to speed,” and seemed no longer content to be “just a passive player in American politics.”

So what catapulted you off the sidelines? Jeb Bush’s forceful entry into the emerging field was the spark. But you’ve been reconsidering for a while, looking at the other establishment favorites and wondering why the heck not. It’s not like you’re too old. The baby boom generation is still clogging up the runway. At 67, you’re about the same age as Hillary Clinton and not all that much older than Jeb, who will be 62 next month. As for old news, you’re practically a fresh face compared with Clinton, who has been in the news nonstop for more than two decades. And seriously, how damaging is a third grab for the ring when your competition is the third guy in his family to run?

What else is Romney thinking? Let’s go inside his head.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s tendency to erupt at people was fun for a while and raised lots of money, he muses. But I can raise money, too. And while I’m kind of awkward sometimes, I’m pretty sure voters won’t want a president who gets into public screaming matches. Not that I hold a grudge against Christie, even though his 2012 convention keynote was much more about him than me. But what makes him think people are going to disregard eight downgrades in his state’s credit rating, a poor job-creation performance or investigations into Bridgegate, the five-day traffic nightmare that punished a Democratic mayor? I certainly won’t.

It’s impressive, yes, that Gov. Scott Walker took on unions and has won three Wisconsin elections in six years. But would voters really pick this untested young candidate over the man who saved the 2002 Olympics and countless floundering businesses? (That would be me). And does Walker have the presence and skills to dominate a national race? I’ve already proven I can crush a sitting president in a debate.

And don’t get me started on Jeb and his family: his father’s reversal on his no-new-taxes pledge; his brother’s wars, deficits and intrusive federal education law; and his own support for comprehensive immigration reforms and Common Core education standards. All I did was sign “Romneycare” when I was governor of Massachusetts. I’ve already denied that it was the model for Obamacare. I’ve already said no other state should be required to do what I did. I’ve already said the federal law should be repealed. Problem solved.

I want to pause here to thank my good friend, the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, for his advice on how to deal with that time I dismissed 47 percent of the country as moochers who are dependent on government, believe they are victims, and will never take responsibility for their lives. Hewitt is right, everyone makes mistakes. Look at Hillary’s “we were broke when we left the White House” gaffe; Rick Perry’s “oops” moment when he forgot the third federal agency he wanted to eliminate; and Jeb’s description of illegal immigration as an “act of love” by people trying to give their families better lives. I never pretend to be poor, and I don’t start lists I can’t finish. Maybe I went a bit too far with the “self-deportation” business on immigration. You won’t hear me use that phrase again.

Above all, I won’t forget that a lot of those 47-percenters are veterans, seniors, low-income workers, the disabled and people searching desperately for jobs. And I won’t forget that a lot of them vote Republican — even for me! I won the seniors and the veterans, and I nearly won the union vote. I’m not only going to remember these folks, I’m going to focus my next campaign on opportunity and upward mobility. Wait, what do you mean, Jeb already named his political action committee Right to Rise, and stole the phrase — with permission — from my own 2012 running mate?

Back to the drawing board for the third round. I know the right message is out there somewhere.

Follow Jill Lawrence on Twitter @JillDLawrence. To find out more about Jill Lawrence and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Jill Lawrence

Award-winning journalist Jill Lawrence is a nationally syndicated columnist and a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report. She also contributed to The Surge: 2014's Big GOP Win and What It Means for the Next Presidential Race (2015). Lawrence has discussed political and policy developments on television, radio, and many other media outlets. She was an adjunct professorial lecturer at American University in 2014, teaching on the relationship between politics and the media.

Lawrence has covered every presidential campaign since 1988, as well as historic events such as the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, the Clinton impeachment, the Florida recount, and the 1993 and 2009 battles over health reform.

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  1. Michael Ross January 15, 2015

    In summary, Mitt is thinking two things: That the G.O.P. isn’t going to produce anyone better, and that the American voters have the memory span of prunes.

    1. mah101 January 15, 2015

      And he is likely correct on both counts

      1. FireBaron January 15, 2015

        Especially in Kansas

        1. joe schmo January 15, 2015

          Look, we’re not in Kansas anymore…..

          1. highpckts January 16, 2015

            Nope we sure aren’t. I’m just not sure which planet you do live on!

          2. joe schmo January 17, 2015

            Must be Mars because there are so many of those foul-mouthed Liberal aliens around.

        2. Michael Ross January 16, 2015

          Kansas’ problem was widespread voter suppression. And it’s not that Americans are dumb and forgetful. It’s that, while we all recognize Mitt Romney as a conman, far too many Americans have delusions of being in on the con with him.

    2. joe schmo January 15, 2015

      Yah, I suppose you are right, the American voters do have the ‘memory span of prunes’…..they voted for Obama the second time around. We just couldn’t figure that one out.

      1. highpckts January 16, 2015

        So funny!! Try again!!

    3. highpckts January 16, 2015

      That is exactly right and we prove it all the time. Otherwise we wouldn’t be overrun with Republicans in Congress!

  2. Theodora30 January 15, 2015

    The media seems to prefer Jeb as a supposed moderate despite his very shady past dealings with the anti-Castro right wing Miami Cubans. (Bay of a Pigs, wacky assassination attempts on Castro) Romney has not lobbied for a pardon for a convicted terrorist that our government believes blew up a civilian airliner (Orlando Bosch). Romney did not work for and lobby the government on behalf of a mob connected guy who bilked Medicare out of millions then fled the country when caught. (Miguel Recarey)
    The media also conveniently ignores that Jeb was a signatory to the neocon’s manifesto, the Project for a New American Century, along with guys like Cheney, Rummy, Gaffney, Wofowitz, Scooter, etc. That document was ignored by the MSM despite its clear advocacy of American empire building. It even called for militarizing space with a space forces but apparently was too far out for polite discussion.
    Romney gave his state a better health care system. Jeb tried to privatize education with his no strings attached voucher program. Both these guys are privileged rich kids who cannot get enough money but of the two Romney has done less harm and is not part of a family with deep ties to the CIA.

  3. Paul Bass January 15, 2015

    Romney looks at the republican field and says “heck, I can do better than THAT!”

    1. mah101 January 15, 2015

      That should tell us all we need to know about the republican field

    2. highpckts January 16, 2015

      Well he’s not far wrong!

    3. plc97477 January 16, 2015

      That might be the only thing he has gotten correct.

  4. latebloomingrandma January 15, 2015

    And Ann would really like to be FLOTUS.

    1. highpckts January 16, 2015

      Oh yeah! She wants it really bad despite her no, no, no!!

  5. atc333 January 15, 2015

    They don’t call him “Magic Mitt” for nothing. Reality is not an issue for him, as by throwing enough money at the problem, all that can be changed.

    We can already see that he has begun to recast himself as a “job creator extraordinaire”, quite a reversal from his prior occupation of being a dismemberer of undervalued corporations, and a job and pension destroyer.

    1. idamag January 16, 2015

      His church has living prophets, It is written that the United Sates Government will become so corrupt that a Mormon will be elected and save it. Also, when a Mormon reaches a certain age, they get their endowments. The powers pray hard and come up with a prophesy for their lives. I really think Mitt thinks he is the savior of the Democracy. Probably both from the prophesy for the nation and his endowments. This is likely the reason for his upset when he thought he was the next president of the United States.

  6. idamag January 15, 2015

    Well, Romney is better than Jeb Bush who purged 30,000 franchised voters from the voter rolls to insure his brother the Presidency.

    1. neeceoooo January 15, 2015

      And it worked

    2. highpckts January 15, 2015

      Nope, No arrogant, entitled Romney in the White House! Will not vote for either one of them! Tired of nepotism in the White House also! The rest of their candidates are also a no go. The choices in 2016 are full of no choices!!

      1. idamag January 16, 2015

        Romney is out of touch, entitled and arrogant, but the bushes are criminals.

        1. highpckts January 16, 2015

          So I say again, no choices!

    3. plc97477 January 16, 2015

      Except that neither one of them has the base behind them. They will be considered squishes by all but the very moderate repugs.

  7. charleo1 January 15, 2015

    The big problem with Jeb and Mitt is, in too many ways they are as identical as two peas in a pod to the hard core Conservatives that dominate the nomination process on the Republican Party’s right flank. The problem with the right flank, is they will not back with any enthusiasm anyone, that early polls show even close to winning a general election for the WH, over the generic Democrat, much less, the powerful, and popular Hillary Clinton. Who after her Obama experience, is surely looking over the competition especially carefully. And considering the hostile Congress she’ll be expected to fight with each and every day, throughout her Presidency. May just decide not to go thru the grueling process again. (Just a personal suspicion.) And who would blame her? But her problems pale in comparison to the baggage of either of the corporate establishment’s strong preferences for either Jeb, or Mitt. Mitt, or Jeb. It doesn’t matter to the monied elite club, which of these two poster boys are given the nod. Both are products of wealth, privilege, and the assumed prerogative to power, that for many outside this exclusive circle of Autocrats, epitomize what has gone so fundamentally wrong with our economy, and politics in general this Country. And it’s not the baggage, but it’s this kind of baggage, they drag behind them, that makes them so distasteful to both the T-Party ideologue, and the generic Democrat of all but the most accommodating moderate disposition. This as the appetite for real change is not exclusive to the Left. The Conservative Right hungers for a new model. And feel as though they are once again being ushered onto the same old used car lot, where they found Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, et.al. And were left eating dust, by a shiny young juggernaut, from Illinois. And they understandably wonder, why can’t we do that? The reason of course, is the broken, out of touch with the mainstream, and divided Party they are supporting. And the race for President is the least effected by the advantage big money enjoys in almost all other elections down the ticket. As both Party’s nominee for President will be equally funded, regardless of the candidate, with whatever amounts necessary for parity. So here, message trumps money as in no other political contest. And there so far hasn’t been a candidate, or spin doctor alive that can sell what is essentially a rather mean spirited, even hateful at times, exclusionary, small tent, platform. And make that work in the general election for the office of President. When even George Bush’s, “Compassionate Conservatism,” is now viewed by the majority of the Republican Party base, as just another RINO.

  8. FT66 January 15, 2015

    I feel sorry for Romney. He can’t see the uphill work which is ahead. He doesn’t understand one needs to inspire in campaigns we have these days. Hillary has a natural given inspiration of let us make history and have a first time Woman President ever. A lot will be inspired by this narrative and there is nothing which motivates Dems like making history.

  9. dpaano January 15, 2015

    Once an idiot, always an idiot!!!

  10. FireBaron January 15, 2015


  11. FT66 January 17, 2015

    No, no, no, Romney, can you please stop playing with the way of thinking of people. In 2012 you said openly you didn’t care 47% who were and are still suffering to make their daily living. Now all of the sudden when it is coming another campaigning season, you are dishing 1% and think of 47%? Why didn’t you do it then and decides to do it now? Were those 47% not important then, and they important for you now?. All voters nowadays know who is pandering to them in order to get their votes. 47% are not stupid. They understood then what you meant, and still they understand now what you are after for.


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