Election 2016

Romney 2016: This Time Will Be Different! (But Not Really)

Different! In a different way! That's extremely, um, different...ish.


It looks we're in for a Romney trilogy: Since The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday that Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee and a 2008 primary contender, was considering another campaign, it's become increasingly clear that Romney is aggressively scouting a route to 2016.

The Washington Post reports that Romney worked the phones over the weekend, calling donors and allies in hopes of gauging support. This isn't idle interest. The burst of activity, the Post says, suggests that this weekend marked "the start of a deliberate effort by the 2012 nominee to carve out space for himself in an emerging 2016 field." Romney is for real.

Getting real means changing his tune. His 2012 presidential campaign left a lot to be desired. This time, he says, things will be different. Different how, you ask?

You know…different.

As Politico reports, Romney is promising a fresh campaign without really saying what he's got in mind:

Interviews with more than a dozen staffers and supporters who have recently spoken with Romney reveal conversations in which he promises a "different" path forward without providing specifics about what that means as far as mechanics and his own sometimes gaffe-ridden performance. And, aside from most of his communications team, Romney would still be expected to bring back the majority of his old staff, sources said.

So it'll be more of the same, but with different packaging. This is the wrong lesson of the 2012 campaign. Romney had a number of communications foibles, but his big problem wasn't communications. It was substance. The communications foibles arose in part because the messaging operation had so little to work with, and thus ended up distracted and unfocused, sucked into daily controversies that they couldn't respond to.

The campaign itself, meanwhile, undercut what was supposed to be Romney's chief virtue: his management prowess. The Romney campaign's voter-targeting system, ORCA, exactly the sort of high-end big-data system that you'd expect to be a strength for a former management consultant and equity mastermind like Romney, was woefully under-tested and totally failed on election day. The communications apparatus was hilariously over-managed and bureaucratic; by the end of the campaign, 22 people had to approve each and every Tweet.

That still didn't keep Romney's messaging on the road. He drove head-first into avoidable gaffe after avoidable gaffe, including his infamous remark about the "47 percent." While Romney's gaffes probably weren't decisive, they did tremendous damage to his campaign and made it hard to gather any kind of energy or momentum.

One specific way that Romney plans to run things differently this time is to, well, not do that this time. Back to Politico:

A senior Romney adviser in 2012 said the former Massachusetts governor would approach the primaries very differently "by virtue of experience," determined not to utter the kind of self-destructive statements he did last time in order to outflank his challengers on the right. For instance, in 2012, he suggested pursuing policies that lead undocumented immigrants to "self-deport" — a remark that cost him badly among Hispanic voters in the general election.

Here's the problem with this: Even if Romney manages to avoid these sorts of remarks this time around—and that's a big if, because every campaign provides a thousand new and unpredictable opportunities daily to put your foot in your mouth—Romney's verbal flubs from last time will still be on the record. He'll have to defend them or distance himself from them, repeatedly, and he'll have to do so without contributing too much to the not-insane perception that he's an ideologically unmoored flip-flopper.


Especially since there are hints that Romney plans to run as a conservative this time, or at least as more conservative than Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor whose own investigations into a presidential campaign seem to have spurred Romney's recent interest.

"Romney," the Post notes, "has tried to assure conservatives that he shares their views on immigration and tax policy—and that should he enter the race, he will not forsake party orthodoxy."

No, not Romney. He's not the kind of Republican who would, say, run for Massachusetts governor as a "moderate…not a partisan," call himself a "progressive," raise fees and end tax breaks to generate more revenue, and then sign into law a state-level health care law that would become the model for Obamacare, a law that he hoped for years would be implemented elsewhere in the nation. 

Is that unfair? Obviously Romney wouldn't run that way this time around. He has changed (remember when he described himself as "severely conservative"?), or at least engaged in an ongoing self-editing process.

But in another sense, I think he hasn't changed, not really: He's still someone whose interest in running for and being president comes before any serious inkling about what, exactly, he'd do if he got the job, and he's still someone willing to overhaul his self-presentation in order to sell himself to whatever cohort he thinks is politically ascendant at the moment. So sure, the third installment in the Romney franchise would be different in the sense that every Romney reinvention is different from the last one. But in the ways that matter, every sign so far suggests it would just be more of the same.

NEXT: American Household Income, 1975 to Now: More Richer, Fewer Poorer

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  1. Jesus fucking christ.

    Really? Again?

    I give him points for persistence, but fuck man, you are NEVER GOING TO BE PRESIDENT, JUST GIVE IT UP YOU DUMB FUCKING FUCK.

    1. This is a family trait. Mitt’s father ran at least once and toyed with running several times. Also, the Mormons really want to have one of there’s elected president, you know, the acceptance thing.

      1. Fucking Mormons don’t even want this dude as President.

        1. I think he won around 80% of the Mormon vote last time.

          1. You mean 20% voted the other way? That’s a drubbing for a GOP candidate.

          2. Is that because they were Mormon, white, or Republican?

      2. I feel like Mormons should have better options to choose from than Romney.

        Also, my bold prediction: the first Mormon American president will be a “black sheep” liberal.

  2. Enough, dude. We don’t like you.

    Bush, who was pretty conservative as governor, is now trying to sound all moderate-like. Romney, who has long been a moderate, is now trying to sound conservative.

    I see no reason not to vote for Paul, especially given the alternatives.

  3. This time he promises to begin by insulting only 46% of the electorate off the bat.

  4. The Stoopit Party being what it is, it’ll probably give him the nom. In a year when the GOP actually has a good chance of re-taking the WH.

    There’s always Gary Johnson, who’s way more badass that you. I think he may even be more badass than Ron Swanson.

    1. I think he may even be more badass than Ron Swanson.

      I disagree. Ron Swanson doesn’t need to be elected to become President.

    2. Ron Swanson made a canoe out of wood. With his own hands he built a canoe out of wood. Gary Johnson wears bike shorts.

      1. Gary Johnson climbed the Seven Summits and skied Tuckerman Ravine.

      2. And, BTW, NO ONE is a bigger Ron Swanson fan than I, guaranteed. So it’s saying something that GJ is more badass.

  5. We can merge the candidates. We have the technology.


    1. Technology? Just have Christie eat some of the others.

      1. So he’s got a DBZ Cell thing going on? Hillary will have to reach SS2 and call upon the spirit of Bill to defeat him. The staring and grunting will be EPIC!!!!

        1. Wrong Japanese import, it’s More of a Kirby thing. Just compare body types.

    2. Maybe, in an effort to reach across the aisle, Romney can pick Biden to be his running mate. Then we really will have hit peak stupid.

      1. And spoil the hilarity that would be the Biden/LaRouche ticket? Are you nuts?

  6. Yeah, this time, he’ll lose in a landslide.
    Go away, Mitt. You’re well past the sell-by date.

  7. I forget. Is the expression “everyone loves a loser” or is it that everyone loves the opposite of a loser?

    1. Everyone loves a closer.

      1. Coffee is for closers. Romney gets steak knives.

        1. “You got binders full of women? FUCK YOU!”

        2. Mormons don’t drink coffee. Do you see this fucking watch?

  8. http://www.syracuse.com/opinio…..tters.html

    The greatest letter to the editor of all time.

    ‘I am not Charlie Hebdo, and you should not aspire to be either. Charlie is a malignant, hatred filled periodical that hides its vitriolic biases under the guise of humor. That journal is a journalist bully with as little to defend itself as any child producing cyber bullying, which we all deplore. We certainly do not tell the child who bullies another to the point of suicide or retribution with a gun, “we know that you were only exercising free speech, so it is OK in our freedom loving United States.”

    Humor is a hidden way of disrespecting another, because you can always resort to ” Can’t you take a joke?” when the recipient is ruffled by the attack. In any humor, there is always someone or thing that is injured, whether it is in a “roast” or a newspaper or a playground.’

    ^ This guy…this guy is a fucking idiot.

    1. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

      1. The left wing ‘BUT THEY’RE RACIST’ crowd has really outdone itself this time.

        http://www.loonwatch.com/2015/…..lie-hebdo/ – Take this idiot.

        “I cannot say “JeSuisCharlie” because I know what this NEO-LIBERAL* publication stood for: racist, sexist and Islamophobic hate speech.” (emphasis added)

        Uh…what? They’re socialists. One of the people killed at their headquarters was a socialist economist who wrote articles about how much he hates ‘austerity.’ They aren’t neo-liberal, unless by neo-liberal you mean ‘anything a progressive dislikes.’

        It gets better. That asterisk up there redirects to this:

        “*[Edit: apparently there’s been a lot of confusion over my use of “right-wing” and so at the advice of some French readers I’ve changed it to the more apt description of neo-Liberal]”

        LOL. He called Charlie Hebdo ‘right-wing’ and then changed it to a ‘more apt description’ which is still wrong.

        Sheer brilliance.

        1. That is hilarious.

        2. Well, Hitler was right wing wasn’t he?

          Anyone they don’t like is right wing. Anyone of them who showed their true color in the past that could be used an example of how evil collectivism is magically becomes right-wing.

          How long before they claim that Stalin and/or Mao was right wing?

    2. I bet he just hates when John Stewart attacks with humor.

    3. Charlie is a malignant, hatred filled periodical that hides its vitriolic biases under the guise of humor.

      And David W. Polhemus now understands that satirists might kick his ass for offending them.

    4. Almost as big a moron as Ron Paul.

  9. In other news, Kamala Harris is gearing up for a Senate run.

    1. I assume whomever wins the D primary will win the seat?

      1. top two open primary system. you can safely assume that both candidates running in the general election will be “Ds”.

        1. Unless every Democrat runs in the primary and the Republicans settle on one candidate.

          1. Maybe they’ll settle for Mitt Romney. The more seats he runs for the better his chance of winning something.

        2. That’s not actually a given. In one House election in a “safe” D district, so many D’s ran that two R’s made it on the final ballot. I doubt that’ll happen in something as important as a Senate election — party bigwigs will force the second- and third-stringers to bow out — but anything is possible.

          1. They are already predicting the most expensive senate campaign in history. Big money donors will control who gets on the ballot.

          2. Gavin Newsome has already bowed out — that was the decision. He will be the next governor, and Harris will be the next senator. Bank on it.

            There is no big name Republican that could hope to come close in either race, unless they are a celebrity ala Schwarzenegger. So unless Rob Lowe decides to run, both races are already over.

            1. I’m not sure the Governator is popular enough; he was not popular at all when he left office. And he seems tired of politicking after 6+ years dealing with the CA Legislature.

      2. There is no “run” for Senate in California. The dems got together and have anointed Kamala Harris. It is a done deal.

      3. You’re probably right. Currently, the most viable CA Republican is a guy with the unfortunate name of Kashkari.

    2. 2008-1st Black President
      2016-First Woman President
      2020-First Black Woman President

      1. Transgender Pot Smoking Mexican?

        1. No, no, that’s planned for 2036. Baby steps!

      2. So, Hilary or Warren is a one-termer?

        1. Hilary’s very old.

      3. Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, porn star and five-time ultimate smackdown wrestling champion!!!

        1. +1 Electrolytes

      4. Here’s my plan for the next 30 years of presidencies:

        2016: Hilary Clinton

        2020: Jeb Bush

        2028: Michelle Obama

        2032: George P. Bush

        2036: Chelsea Clinton

        2044: Malia Obama

        Eventually, the Bush’s, Clinton’s, and Obama’s will interbreed and America will finally end up with hereditary monarchy we’ve always yearned for.

        1. George William Bushton for 2052!!!

          1. Hopefully Lauren Pierce Bush nabs a vice presidency alongside her uncle.


            ^ She’d be the best looking vice president we’ve ever had. Although I have always had a thing for Spiro Agnew.

            1. I can’t disagree with either of those comments.

              Seriously, LOOK at this hunk of a man! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S….._Agnew.jpg

        2. Ridiculous. Only 3 of those are shoo-ins.

        3. Michelle is only a one-termer? Racist and/or sexist!

          1. Well, she would have cruised to a victory if she hadn’t gotten caught in that sex scandal.


            ^ They actually wrote a book about it.

        4. Well, hopefully the progeny all end up as hemophiliacs and play rugby.

      5. Bo, assuming all of those are lefties;

        2024 – The Lord Humungus; America is a garbage strewn wasteland populated by pathetic waifs scratching around in the dirt for food, hiding in holes in the ground during the night to avoid the roaming bands of cannibal rape-gangs.

        1. “A Boy And His Dog”?

        2. I see his enlightened reign as being draconian, but fair. 🙂

      6. First Jewish President

  10. NO, PLEASE….NO!!

  11. ROMNIAC 3.0: Now running Windows ME and Netscape Navigator.

    1. Don’t forget the RealPlayer upgrade.

    2. Pandroid OS version “Fortune Cookie?

    3. Navigator? More like IE6.

  12. Don’t you mean “perennial presidential candidate” Mitt Romney?

  13. Congrats President Hillary.

    1. Or… President Warren…


      1. She’s got 1/32 of the Native American vote

  14. Romney vs. Hillary 2016: Somebody’s Gotta Lose (besides the whole country)

  15. I assume we’ve seen the video that will define gun control in 2015:


    “Shoot dat thang fat baby”

    1. People are retarded.

    2. It is unfortunate the kid didn’t shoot whoever was holding the cell phone.

  16. “Romney To Travel Back In Time To Kill Liberal Versions Of Himself”

  17. Last time around, that asshole and his minions turned the convention into a supreme soviet. Fuck him, and anyone who ever supported him.


  18. I hope Romney helps split the establishment vote in Iowa.

    It certainly works that way in horse racing. You see three sprinters on the rail, all of them trying to go wire to wire, so who do you bet?

    The closer!

    Only Rand Paul may start fast out of the gate. If Rand Paul can carry New Hampshire, and if the vote gets split five ways in Iowa, one part for the social conservatives, three parts shared by three establishment guys, and one part for Rand Paul, then Rand Paul’s got a real shot at the nomination.

    …if he can come in first in New Hampshire and second or better in Iowa.

  19. I guess they didn’t learn lessons from Thomas E. Dewey.


      /Ghost of a Chicago Tribune headline editor

  20. If Republicans are going to allow Romney the nomination again they may as well save money and hassle by just telling Democrats the presidency is theirs to do whatever they please with.

  21. You want Romney to run. If Romney doesn’t run, the entire establishment can line up behind Jeb Bush. If Romney runs, the establishment vote will split between them. The Romney and the Bush families apparently have some decades old feud. So Bush and Romney will brutalize each other, split the establishment vote and the presence of them both in the race will greatly enhance the chances the establishment candidate doesn’t get the nomination.

    If you want to see Paul or Walker or Cruz or anyone other than Jeb Bush win the nomination, you should be hoping Romney runs.

  22. Romney shouldn’t run for president because he has no political philosophy. He just wants to improve his resume. The first thing that needs to be determined about a candidate is whether they want the office to accomplish things, or they want it just to be president. Romney is the latter.

    1. BUT HE’S A DOER AND FIXER-UPPER!! Just look at what he did for the Utah Olympics and Staples!

      1. Did he gun Staples?

  23. Based on my somewhat limited amount of conservative website reading, the GOP would be doomed again if Romney is the nominee. Too many conservatives would stay home again, as they did in 2012.

    I still say: Walker/Paul 2016, then Paul/Somebody in 2024.

  24. His 2012 presidential campaign left a lot to be desired.

    Because, at best, he is a puppet of the GOP.

  25. If he gets the nom I’m voting Hillary.

    If Christie gets the nom I’m voting Hillary.

    If Bush gets the nom I’m voting Hillary.

    The only way I vote Republican is Rand Paul.

  26. 47% is the fraction of people who don’t like Romney.

    The other 53% don’t care.

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