Wednesday, August 26, 2009


National Review's Lisa Schiffren is taking very seriously a bit of speculation (a trial balloon?) from Peter Roff of U.S. News -- that Mitt Romney might run for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

... It would be an intriguing thing if, after waiting a day or two out of respect for the late senator, Romney were to downshift and announce he will be a candidate in the upcoming election to fill Kennedy's vacant Senate seat.

... If he did, Romney would then have a platform to actually introduce legislation modeled on the proposals he put forward as a presidential candidate in 2008 and planned to put forward in 2012. No guesswork. No empty rhetoric. Real ideas, on the Senate floor, that could be evaluated, debated, and perhaps even voted on.

From the Senate floor, Romney could show his fellow Republicans, and the country, just what kind of president he would be. How he would approach national problems. As an added political benefit, it would give him the opportunity to establish true conservative bona fides allowing him to finally overcome the suspicions many conservatives in the GOP's primary electorate still harbor about him. Rather than tie him down, Romney could actually use the Senate seat to lock up the GOP nomination in 2012.

Now, wait a minute -- which Romney is going to do this? The pro-choice, pro-gun-control moderate who was elected governor of Massachusetts? Or the bellicose ("double Guantanamo") flip-flopping right-winger who ran for the GOP nomination? Is he going to flip back to centrism to run in Massachusetts again and then flip back yet again once he's in office? Hell, even the Democrats could craft effective attack ads against an opportunist as shameless as Mitt.

Then again, why am I paying any attention to ex-Quayle speechwriter Schiffren? She says:

...should Romney run for and win that seat, he would actually be in a position to make a real difference in the health-care debate.

Um, the special election to fill Kennedy's seat is likely to be in January. We bloody well ought to have some resolution to this health care debate by then.


UPDATE: It's been pointed out (in comments and here) that Mitt Romney isn't even a legal resident of Massachusetts anymore. That could be a small stumbling block. On the other hand, he didn't really meet the residency requirements when he was elected governor, and yet he was allowed to serve; having a gazillion dollars can make people look the other way, I guess. (Admittedly, at that time he at least had a house in Massachusetts; he doesn't have one anymore. Details, details....)


UPDATE: It's possible William Weld will run, as Nate Silver notes (Weld lost to Kennedy in '96) -- but he's a bit of a flip-flopper himself. Unlike Romney, he mostly sticks to positions on the issues, but like Romney he can't seem to decide what state he lives in -- a few years ago, after moving to Manhattan, Weld made a serious bid to be governor of New York ("I think I could run a good race in this state, being a native New Yorker and now a resident of the Upper East Side, Long Island, and with places in the Adirondacks and the Catskills," Weld said at the time; tension between Weld and local GOP macher Al D'Amato and other factors forced him to drop out). In the last presidential election cycle, Weld (as Nate notes) endorsed Obama -- after endorsing Romney in the primaries. Plus, he was a Palinesque quitter years before Palin, resigning his Massachusetts governorship allegedly to devote all his attention to his fight to be Bill Clinton's ambassador to Mexico, even though it was clear to everyone that Jesse Helms wasn't going to let him be confirmed. If he were to win, would he serve out his term?

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