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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GOP could use a guy like Romney

Telegraph Editorial

A popular Republican refrain these days holds that Barack Obama is incompetent. That’s at least partly true, we think, but it’s also undeniable that he has had a lot of help reaching that status from Republicans in Congress – especially the House – who have demonstrated time and again that the only thing they are even remotely good at is obstructionism.

It’s a bipartisan disease. We can’t think of a single instance in the current session of Congress where members of either party have taken a tough vote that sends an unmistakable signal that they are more interested in the welfare of the country than in their own re-election prospects. ...

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A popular Republican refrain these days holds that Barack Obama is incompetent. That’s at least partly true, we think, but it’s also undeniable that he has had a lot of help reaching that status from Republicans in Congress – especially the House – who have demonstrated time and again that the only thing they are even remotely good at is obstructionism.

It’s a bipartisan disease. We can’t think of a single instance in the current session of Congress where members of either party have taken a tough vote that sends an unmistakable signal that they are more interested in the welfare of the country than in their own re-election prospects.

Choosing leaders of good character is important, but there is also something to be said for electing a president who understands that “execute” is at the root of “executive” and knows how to get things done. Bill Clinton, for instance, was a spectacular failure in the character department, but is still a beloved figure in our country because he was a reasonably able executive who left office with a sizable budget surplus, even if his successor did fritter it away on two wars and some dubious tax cuts. Clinton – Bill, anyway – could probably still be elected today if our Constitution permitted him another term.

Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, is probably near the top of any ranking of presidents according to character, but we still wouldn’t want him pulling the country’s levers for another four years.

Then there is Mitt Romney.

Two years ago at this time, Romney was riding a wave of momentum going into the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

He was the presumed 2012 Republican nominee for president, standing out from a cast that had so many extras it resembled a Cecile B. DeMille movie. The likes of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry took turns sharing the stage with Romney during the primary phase; none came close to upstaging the former Massachusetts governor or wresting the nomination from him.

What Romney did best during the primaries was not trip over his own tongue or bump into the furniture. Considering that we are currently led by a chief executive who makes even some moderates yearn for the good old days of George W. Bush, the fact that the presumptive 2012 nominee was actually able to secure a nomination that was widely expected of him strikes us as not nothing. It’s also worth pointing out that Massachusetts didn’t implode during Romney’s one term as governor and that he made money for the venture capital firm he founded.

Add to that the way things are unraveling for the man who defeated him in the general election, and it makes the buyer’s remorse expressed by Obama voters understandable.

Nearly two years after a crushing loss in his second bid for the president, Romney still has something to offer the country. We would like to see him take a third run at the Oval Office. We can understand why he wouldn’t want to – and he probably won’t – but we think he should and hope he does.

For starters, he wouldn’t be the presumptive party nominee, which is always a heavy burden to carry for anyone who is not an incumbent. Romney could be himself, continue to play the elder-statesman role he’s playing now and let the party come to him. He wouldn’t even have to pander to the tea party this time around.

How badly Republicans need Romney can be inferred from the fact that Bachmann is reported to be considering another run for president. Yikes.

The party needs Mitt Romney more than he needs the headache, and he still stands out amid a field that might include names like Gov. Chris Christie, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. And that’s not to mention some others with the name recognition and accomplishments of Cecile B. DeMille extras.