The rumors are growing that Romney intends to make a comeback. It's not too hard to imagine him sitting in a hotel room somewhere being talked into taking another shot at it until he feels "called".
We've seen this show before. It doesn't play.
Mitt Romney failed last time because he couldn't connect to working class and middle class whites as well as Obama connected to his base of black women. Unless Romney has transformed his image from slick corporate salesman, another "Staples Campaign" will be a disaster. Except this time he'll have to convince white women not to vote for Hillary.
I'm not saying that Romney is a bad man. He may be a good man. And maybe in the 1950s, he would have won. But his persona is wrong for modern politics. It's really wrong for an economic crisis. There were times when he seemed to break out of it and show a more human side, but I have no confidence that a campaign won't mean the same plastic Romney who takes no risks.
It's not that the 2016 playing field is filled with great candidates. It isn't. Nearly every likely candidate supports amnesty. The one principled candidate is not ready for prime time. After the Christie meltdown, I understand why the establishment would turn to Romney.
It's still not going to work.
In an economic crisis you need someone who can speak to people who are insecure about their future and make them feel as if he cares about their problems. That's the poll section of "Shares my values/Cares about my problems" which Republicans invariably lose and Obama wins.
Romney is not the guy to change that. I'm not sure if the GOP will be able to find someone who can, but the election will likely be lost or won on "I feel your pain".
On the empathy gap.
The good news is that Hillary Clinton is a cold fish. The bad news is that Bill Clinton, the master of I Feel Your Painness, will be on the campaign trail every day reminding voters how good the economy used to be.
Hillary Clinton's two big assets are gender and her husband's rosy recollections of a better economy.
You're not going to beat that with Mitt Romney.
For anyone who thinks I'm being unfair, watch this video, especially in light of the VA scandal.
Don't make excuses for Romney. Imagine how Bill Clinton would have dealt with that question. Now imagine a Republican who could turn a moment like this into a signature moment in his campaign and you have the 2016 candidate who can beat Hillary.
Just about every prospective 2016 candidate would have done a better job here.