From Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate, according to an Associated Press story, “Mitt Romney Bows Out Of 2016 Race After A 3-Week Test Run”:
“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” Romney told supporters on a conference call. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”
It’s nothing personal, Mitt, but Jeb Bush is the apple of Republican eyes this time. Granted, Bush is just as “pragmatic” as you; he’ll say whatever’s necessary and cut the deals he has to cut to get the nomination. However, he is far more wired into the Republican power structure than you could ever hope to be. There was the Mormon thing, which they were willing to overlook, but the Main Street wing has always viewed the Wall Street wing with suspicion and Private Equity is Wall Street to the tip of your wing tips (Bush, of course, has strong ties to Wall Street, but he doesn’t advertise them). You tried the “job creator” bit, which Ann Coulter fell for, but she’s nowhere near as smart as she thinks she is (the same can be said for most of her cohorts on Fox News), so she was easy to fool. After the election, David Stockman, who was in the same private equity racket and knows his way around financial statements, shredded your job creator myth in The Great Deformation, confirming widespread skepticism among both Republicans and Democrats. If you were to run again in a general election, the Democrats would make hay with Stockman’s book.
Republicans also had a tough time with your role in Massachusetts’ state-run health care system, which became the template for Obamacare. No matter how many times you tried to explain it, they just could not understand how you could sign into law a system that served as the model for the Obama legislation they hate the most. You held yourself out as a true blue Republican, but true blue Republicans don’t get elected governor of Democratic bastion Massachusetts.
So Jeb has been anointed. Main Street Republicans are not thrilled, but he’s got the machine behind him and they think the grass-roots will come around. They thought the same thing about Mitt Romney, too, and Jeb may get the same unenthusiastic response. For one thing, the Bush name and record aren’t that special to a lot of Republicans. George H.W. Bush lost his reelection after reneging on a promise not to raise taxes. George W. Bush got us into fiascos in Afghanistan and Iraq; never did capture Osama bin Laden; presided over the most severe financial crash since the Great Depression; okayed a massive bailout of a lot of companies that should have been allowed to go under; and in true Democratic fashion, gave the US yet another welfare state entitlement—a prescription drug plan—it can’t afford. Also, Jeb has championed Common Core and immigration reform, both of which are anathema to Main Street Republicans.
So Mitt, if Jeb gets the nomination and loses to Hillary, you will get the last laugh. You’re bowing out gracefully now, nobody will blame you if Bush loses, and you’ve got $100 million, a great looking wife, and a fine family to fall back on.