December 15, 2005


Mass. Gov. Romney to Skip Re-Election Bid (GLEN JOHNSON, 12/15/05, The Associated Press)

After earning two Harvard degrees, making millions as a businessman and turning around a scandal-plagued Winter Olympics, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has created quite a list of accomplishments, some political analysts say. Those analysts believe the Republican announced Wednesday he will not to seek re-election next year because he did not want to risk tarnishing his resume if he decides to run for president in 2008.

By forgoing a second term, he will allow himself to campaign unimpeded for the presidency should he so choose, and not subject himself to the political whims of the heavily Democratic state in the run-up to the next presidential election.

"I don't think he had a choice if he was serious about running for the nomination in '07 or '08," said Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's 1996 GOP presidential campaign.

Stuart Rothenberg, an independent political analyst in Washington, had a similar assessment.

"He doesn't want to run for re-election because he could possibly get beat," Rothenberg said.

Okay, we get the part where that's good for Miutt Romney. Where's the part where it's good for Republicans, MA, and the country?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2005 10:33 AM

It'll be good for 3% of the primary vote. Romney has always campaigned as a safe choice, not an inspiring one.

But if "Me, Me, Me" isn't a winning platform, why will John McCain get the nomination?

Posted by: pj at December 15, 2005 12:02 PM

I don't know about the GOP and Massachusetts, but I'm pretty sure the country is indifferent since he won't be elected president anyway.

Posted by: Brandon at December 15, 2005 12:27 PM

While being governor is a hands-on job and better preparation for the presidency than having served in the Senate, one of the things primary voters want to look at when assessing governors from other states is what does that state's politics look like, and what did/didn't the governor do in that state.

Massachusetts runs neck-and-neck with California and New York for the worst image among Republican primary voters, which doesn't help Romney out in the heartland any more than being governor of New York helps George Pataki (Sept. 11 is the special exemption for Rudy Giuliani, which allows many GOP voters to overlook New York City's liberal image for now). Assuming he could win re-election next year, Romney would have been better off running for re-election and then battling the state's liberals in 2007 over core GOP issues, in order to show people in other states he's willing to battle on issues they care about, even if he lost those battles. As ex-governor, he's vunerable in 2007 and early '08 to the state's bad image and whatever new wacky ideas come out of the new governor and the state's legislature that might have national implications, even if he has no control over their actions.

Posted by: John at December 15, 2005 12:59 PM

Reagan didn't run for a third term as governor of California in 1974. California got stuck with Moonbeam Brown, arguably the most pestilential of his family, and Linda Ronstadt.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at December 15, 2005 1:20 PM

John - The Massachusetts state house has 139 Dems, 20 Reps; the Mass. senate has 34 Dems, 6 Reps. Romney has no influence; the Democrats will over-ride any vetoes. Romney as governor can act as an advocate, but he's largely powerless. And he's chosen to take his powerlessness with good grace, not fighting as hard as, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger did in California.

The trouble for Romney is that he didn't have a chance as Massachusetts governor to demonstrate an ability to lead. He could have done better as a Senator. Of course, he couldn't win election to federal office in Massachusetts.

Posted by: pj at December 15, 2005 2:06 PM

Of course, he couldn't win election to federal office in Massachusetts.

Which kind of negates his one plus, doesn't it?

Romney can't afford to be tagged as the "John Edwards of the Right," even if he really is just running for the VP slot a la Edwards. But if the shoe fits...

Posted by: Timothy at December 15, 2005 5:22 PM

Romney had an excellent chance to stand up for constitutional governance and for the Consent of the Governed by defying the state supreme court on SSM.

Since the court cynically used the state's ERA amendment to dictate their will, Romney should have refused to comply until voters got to speak directly to the issue. He choked. No thanks.

Posted by: Noel at December 15, 2005 8:12 PM

Noel - I share the sentiment, but I don't think Romney had that power. The state attorney general, who enforces court orders, and secretary of state, who controls the marriage rolls, are elected Democrats and support gay marriage. Local town clerks are also generally Democrats. The state legislature overwhelmingly favors gay marriage. If Romney had tried to resist the judges, he would have gone down like Custer at Little Bighorn, only quicker.

Posted by: pj at December 15, 2005 9:37 PM

hey now!

Posted by: Gen. Custer at December 16, 2005 4:59 AM
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