I’ve long believed that the president of the United States should be a highly competent, non-ideological, milquetoast bureaucrat with hair that makes American proud. Someone who’s as pristine as a snow-laced Utah mountain range. A person with genuine decency. Mitt Romney will never brag about his enormous wealth or demean those who underperform in the real estate market by a whopping $13 billion. Instead, he’ll save the Olympics and help find lost children.
Mitt Romney just wants to get the job done. Whatever the job is.
And America has a potential opening. Ideologues have destroyed the institution of the presidency. With every successive election, the electorate demands that its candidates shower it with increasingly far-fetched promises. We demand transformative presidencies. We imbue politicians with more power, rather than demand that they be proficient executors who value stability and process.
It’s natural for us to have pitched battles over ideology in the legislative branch. Democracy is meant to play out there. As Publius (I know, how jejune) wrote, the “latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.” This is why separation of powers exists: to mitigate man’s pitiful character. This is why we need someone like Romney on that wall. Someone who will implement compromises forged in the legislative branch rather than spend his time trying to figure out ways subvert the process to push his own messianic worldview.
Romney is a man who can make his home in perhaps the nation’s most conservative state but governed its most liberal.
During the 2012 campaign, Romney famously argued that Russia was “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.” Barack Obama mocked him with a canned line: “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Later, Putin annexed Crimea and conservatives joyfully pointed out that Romney had been right. The truth is, Romney was right about a lot. Though I’m not sure anyone could have beaten Obama in 2012, he definitely wasn’t the sort of candidate who could convincingly play to the ideological and cultural demands of populism. In 2012, Romney tried to act like the ideologue he never was. That’s not what America needs.
Let Romney be Romney.
Needless to say, I was excited to hear that the former Massachusetts governor was planning to give a “major” address on Thursday on the current state of the presidential race. Could it be a third party run? Would he selflessly offer himself as the unity candidate? Would he bring some decorum to this pitiful display of anger, corruption, radicalism and unhinged populism we’ve been subjected to? As bad as he was, he was better than anything going today. I hope he brings a 32-point-plans to win back the White House. Because, truthfully, the only thing a Romney 2016 presidential candidate should be is ‘severely’ unexciting. It’s what America needs.