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Before this year, no one would have mistaken House Speaker John Boehner for a Tea Partier. Yet the political facts on the ground have forced him into a more confrontational posture than he'd otherwise favor.
Given how far the Republican Party and the electorate as a whole have shifted toward distrust of big government and crony capitalism, a pliable president, desperate for approval, might be restrained from doing too much harm, and even forced to do some good.
If Romney becomes president, the governor who pioneered the individual mandate will be pressured to push its repeal.
As David Brooks recently argued, "The strongest case for Romney is that he's nobody's idea of a savior." He's right: no one could possibly build a cult of personality around a candidate who's so transparently insincere.
These aren't inspiring reasons for a Romney candidacy, but, over the last decade, Americans may have gotten their fill of presidential inspiration.
Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and author of The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power (Cato 2008). He is a columnist at the Washington Examiner, where a version of this article originally appeared. Click here to read it at that site.