Mitt Romney said on a conference call this morning that he would not run for president next year.
Romney is a good man, and I think I would like more about a Romney presidency than I would dislike. But he’s not strong in this field of candidates. I do wish he’d stayed in long enough to tie up Bush a bit. Romney’s departure will likely accelerate the coalescence of “the establishment” around Bush.
Thing is, “the establishment” GOP hasn’t won out of the chute since 2000, and that was by a hair’s width, if you’ll recall. Jeb Bush can’t win even a vaguely competitive general election. His last name alone is at least a 5-point penalty.
The successful Republican candidate will be a small-government conservative with grown-up and sensible ideas on foreign policy. These are the arenas in which Obama has done the gravest damage; consequently, I think little else matters. Right now, of those who could plausibly win, I think that candidate is either Scott Walker or Ted Cruz, with Rick Perry and/or Marco Rubio on the bubble.