He has one great debate performance, an impressive private-sector career and a lot of human decency on his resume, but he offers nothing that’s responsive to the reasons the G.O.P. has lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections … no innovative policy portfolio on domestic issues (unlike Rubio and Ryan and Rand Paul), no record of broadening the party’s coalition to include more working class or black or Hispanic or young or female voters (unlike Christie, in his re-elect campaign), and no personal or biographical qualities (unlike Rubio, among others) that might help a little with G.O.P. rebranding among minorities or working-class voters.
Yes, it’s true, some events since 2012 have made him look better vis-a-vis Obama than he did during their contest. But he won’t be running against Obama: In a campaign against Hillary Clinton, with her distinctive strengths and coalition-unifying profile, he’d be pretty much the perfect foil, the living, breathing proof that the G.O.P. is so much the party of old rich out-of-touch white guys that they keep … nominating … the same … one.
I think Republican voters understand this, even if some Republican consultants do not, which means that as long as there is somebody else who fits the party-unifying profile — most likely Rubio, possibly Christie, maybe a gubernatorial dark horse — a Romney campaign would lead the polls based on name recognition and then collapse upon contact with political reality. And since, again, I came to admire Romney more than I expected by the end of his last unsuccessful campaign, I hope for his sake that he realizes as much, and finds another, saner way to serve the country he so loves.