The best explanation may be the simplest: He’s bored. The high-energy former businessman just isn’t taking retirement well, an unidentified Romney insider told Yahoo News.
“I last saw Mitt in December, and he was bored,” the source reportedly said. “He was watching the world blow up around him and feeling somewhat vindicated on a number of ideas he had put out there and positions he had taken and kind of wondering, ‘Is this the next 20 years of my life, just sitting here?’ He’s a purpose-driven guy.”
So what if Romney could spend half of those next 20 years running and perhaps being president? That would provide him purpose and escape from his boredom, right? It certainly would be more exciting than being the frontman for some hedge fund or chairman of some presidential commission.
The conventional wisdom was that Romney would only run if Christie or Bush didn’t run, or faltered after entering the race. They both supposedly represent the same wing of the Republican Party as Romney, though that’s probably a bit reductionist.
But Romney seems to be bucking conventional wisdom by making moves to prepare for a presidential campaign at a time that it looks more likely than ever that Bush and Christie will both get in. And there is some logic to it. Christie is not the same iconic figure he was in 2012. New Jersey’s economy is having its problems and Christie has been bruised by Bridgegate, even if no one has proven that he knew about it beforehand.
As for Bush, he certainly has potential to win the GOP primary, but it is not inconceivable that he turns into the Jon Huntsman of 2012.
This is not to say that if Christie and Bush fail to shine, Romney is a shoo-in for the GOP nomination in 2016. But he certainly would have at least as good a chance as most of the other candidates being discussed ad nauseam, and probably a better chance than most of them.
It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to put themselves through the grueling presidential campaign process a third time and risk national embarrassment if they fail yet again, especially if they are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and could spend their time on permanent vacation if they so desired. But Romney doesn’t sound like the type of guy who would enjoy spending his days reading the Economist by the beach. It sounds like he wants to be where the action is — and nothing would provide more action than being president of the United States. So with what is likely his final opportunity to achieve the golden ticket approaching, the former Massachusetts governor seems to be gearing up to go all-in.