Two recent news developments suggest Mitt Romney is sending up trial balloons to see if he should run again for president. First was a Thursday Washington Post op-ed about the need for a strong military. Second was a New Hampshire commercial on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
If you are one of Mitt’s people, searching the Internet to gauge reaction to these trial balloons, please score me a No — a “values voter” No, if you must, but an emphatic No.
(Forgive me for a second. I want to make sure this comes up on Team Romney’s search … Mitt Romney 2016 presidential candidate? No. Mitt Romney 2016 presidential candidate? No. Mitt Romney 2016 presidential candidate? No. Mitt Romney 2016 presidential candidate? No. Mitt Romney 2016 presidential candidate? No. … Thanks. All done.)
However, I’ve got to say that voters like me have very specific, hard-to-shake memories about Mitt that will be extremely hard to overcome.
It bothers us that a whole class of people — the unborn — are denied the right to life. It bothers us that the abortion industry has become a big-business parasite making dirty money from desperate women and reckless dads.
And we aren’t some crazy loser fringe group. We are totally winning.
We totally won on Election Day 2012.
We won 2 out of 3 pro-life ballot initiatives nationwide. We re-elected 11 pro-life Freshman in the House, and added more. Thanks to pro-lifers, the number of GOP governors rose to 30 that day, the highest number for either party in more than a decade.
Pro-life was huge in 2012 all year. Well, except for the part where the year started focusing on Mitt.
Mitt avoided the year’s winning issue like the plague and when he did talk about it, his message wasn’t “I’ll make America more pro-life,” or even “I’ll stop Obama’s abortion extremism.”No, Mitt’s message was, “Gee, I reject the right to life in lots of cases too!”
You had Mitt sign all the right pledges – and then act like we were the bad guys and the pro-abortion crowd were the good guys.
It’s actually kind of ironic that Mitt’s new trial-balloon op-ed is about a strong military. No doubt we need a strong military. But we remember the first debate, still.
You see, when we “values voters” talk about the right to life in the Declaration of Independence, we think of those who have been stripped of that right.
But in the first debate you had Mitt sum up the right to life this way:
“The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of [the founding] documents. First, life and liberty. We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people” — and let’s pause for dramatic effect here, because it was at this point that we expected Mitt to say, ‘and that includes the unborn’ or at least speak to us in code, a la Bush, and say ‘and it’s important to promote a culture of life.’ So it was in this heavy air of expectation that we heard Mitt finish the sentence about the right to life by saying … “and that means the military, second to none.”
Ah. Right to life = military. Thanks, Mitt.
And it’s also ironic that the other possible trial balloon you are sending up is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad. I have no problem with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Love them. Love their advocacy. Love their programs. Needed, good stuff.
But you’ll have to remember that we saw Mitt stick to his “economy-only” schtick in appearance after appearance, and it left many voters flat. He sounded like he was perpetually giving talks to the Young Entrepreneurs of America, not to the beleaguered citizens of a country reeling from an economic maelstrom. (David Brooks summed up Romney’s schtick this way: “It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.”)
Listen, Romney, you didn’t get it done in 2012 and you didn’t get it done in a way that gives us no confidence that you will be able to get it done it in 2016.
You fear the pro-life issue, but Gallup last year set the record straight on misunderstandings about where people stand on abortion.
You lost women. But women are just as likely to be pro-life as pro-choice.
You lost blacks and Latinos. But both are more pro-life than whites.
Bottom line: You lost. I wish it were not so. But, Mitt Romney, presidential candidate in 2016? No.