Shortly before he lost his second U.S. Senate race in as many years, Republican Scott Brown presented a curious argument to New Hampshire voters: if Mitt Romney had won in 2012, Brown said, “I guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now.”
Three months later, I still have no idea what Brown was talking about. But the thought experiment itself is nevertheless a fun parlor game for Republicans: what would conditions be right now if Romney’s 2012 campaign hadn’t failed?
As the Boston Globe reported overnight, some folks in Team Mitt apparently have some thoughts on the subject.
If Romney were president, one longtime adviser said, “There wouldn’t be an ISIS at all, and Putin would know his place in life. Domestically, things would be in better shape.”
Look, I realize Romney and his party are in a tough spot. They’re not exactly able to say, “If Romney had won, we’d see a big drop in unemployment, cheaper gas, and much stronger economic growth,” because Obama won and we got all of those things anyway.
But we should at least try to stick to reality here. ISIS, an outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq, would exist regardless of the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. Vladimir Putin already knows his place in life – it’s the place where President Obama has outmaneuvered him at every turn and in every way.
I half-expect Romney backers to start telling us if Mitt had won, we’d all have unicorns and sports cars, too.
Then there’s this bold, new claim.
His argument to his former supporters, says one who spoke with him, is that he came very close in the last election against an incumbent president with a good economy.
But Romney didn’t come “very close.” In 2000, Al Gore came “very close” – he won the popular vote, and if Florida had counted all of its votes, he would have been president.
Four years later, John Kerry arguably came “very close,” too – roughly a 1% shift in Ohio would have put Kerry in the White House.
Romney, on the other hand, pulled together 206 electoral votes – 64 short of what he needed – and lost the popular vote by four percentage points (the Republican, ironically, ended up with 47%). That’s relatively competitive, but by historical standards, it wasn’t that close at all.
It’s against this backdrop that Senate Republicans and House Republicans – most of whom will have to share a ballot with their party’s 2016 nominee – aren’t exactly encouraging Romney to try again. Indeed, the New York Times reports this morning, “[I]nterviews with more than two dozen Republican activists, elected officials and contributors around the country reveal little appetite for another Romney candidacy. Beyond his enthusiasts … opinions range from indifference to openly hostility.
Maybe they haven’t heard about the existential threat Romney poses to ISIS?