Political Animal


November 15, 2012 1:01 PM How Mitt Can Stay In Touch

By Ed Kilgore

I had totally missed Mitt Romney’s remark during his now-infamous post-election donor call that he was considering staying in touch with his friends and supporters via a “monthly newsletter” of some sort, until TNR’s Michael Schaffer penned a nice send-up of what a “Mitt’s Monthly” might have as content.

For all I know Mitt’s alleged interest in entering the publishing world might have been a ritualistic throwaway line, much like the president’s election night pledge to sit down with Mitt and discuss the whichness of what. But on the call, he said he wanted to stay in touch with donors “so we can stay informed and have influence on the direction of the party, and perhaps the selection of a future nominee” (and then quickly reiterating his lack of interest in running again himself).

And that raises the question: what kind of influence could this man actually have in the GOP? That’s hard to say, despite a relatively close defeat. He holds no office and has no obvious platform. He has no real personal following in the party (other than among the LDS faithful, and he’s already satisfied their desire for respectability by winning a major-party presidential nomination and then waging a campaign that did not significantly arouse religious tensions). His only “signature” policy positions were one he tried never to talk about (RomneyCare) and one he probably should have never taken (“self-deportation”). We all joked about his many home states and multiple residences, but the fact remains he’s not exactly “from” anywhere. And beyond all that, is there any subject on which it would be natural for Republicans or non-Republicans to seek his counsel? None that I can think of.

Having said all that, it’s understandable that the man would find it difficult to transition quickly from a full-blown presidential campaign to invisibility. But he need not mess with a “monthly newsletter” to make his views known for anyone wanting to hear them. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump have shown the way to the low-cost “newsletter” of the future. Mitt should just get him a real Facebook page or a Twitter handle, and he’ll find out real fast if anyone wants to stay in touch.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • trh on November 15, 2012 1:14 PM:

    Garry Wills nailed it -- Romney has no future in Republican politics, nor in U.S. policy debates. The man with every position on every issue is ultimately the 'nowhere man.' http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/nov/09/what-romney-lost/

  • martin on November 15, 2012 1:25 PM:

    Maybe he's jockeying for an appointment as special ambassador to the Cayman Islands

  • davidp on November 15, 2012 1:30 PM:

    Mark Shields said on PBS a while ago that there were no bumper stickers saying "I'm a Romney man," or "Romney's my guy." For me that highlights the weirdness of Romney's candidacy. He was more like an actor who had landed a role than a political figure in his own right. He'll now vanish in the way W vanished. The actual movers and shakers will look for another figure to carry their message.

  • c u n d gulag on November 15, 2012 1:36 PM:

    GOP POV:
    Mitt who?
    Mitt Romney...
    NOPE! Doesn't ring a bell.

  • Steve P on November 15, 2012 1:38 PM:

    Not a newsletter, but a webcast: Mitt sitting at the drawing board, trying to figure out what went wrong, with Rafalca standing at the Dutch door, telling him how to do it better next time.
    "Oh Wiilllard!"

  • bigtuna on November 15, 2012 1:51 PM:

    He just spent 4 years, milions of dollars, etc., on a futile effort. He is sort of a human, so lets give him a bit of room to decompress and come to grips with his new reality. My guess is that in a little while, the LDS church, in no way collaborating with the republican party, will call Willard to a Quorum of 70 [aka, one of the seventies, in LDS lingo]. THis will happily put him in church service, where his shrewd number centric background, and his moral background, will serve him well, and he will no longer be in the public eye, nor will he be expected to speak publically. In a few years, he will then be called to The Presidency of the Seventy. At that point, he will be heard from as a 60ish spokesperson for LDS/governmental matters, and will be looked upon by LDS faithful as as great man, who almost became president. IF he keeps a clean nose, in about 10-15 yrs, he will be called to the Quorum of the twelve apostles. Then, maybe at 70 or so, he will become part of the First presidency.

  • BJ smith on November 15, 2012 1:52 PM:

    The primary started it all & it was downhill from then on. When you think about it, the length, obscene amounts of money, the really poorly run campaign,the returns handled very, very badly, the non answers to nearly every question,the almost exclusive Fox only interviews, the neverending lies, lies & more lies, really think about it was there ever a chance to win? Hasn't he become irrelevant?

    All this talk now about being shocked, why? Only one very short time, after the first debate, did he even catch Obama. The whole episode is as irrelevant as Rush & Fox news & that is pretty damn irrelevant.

  • cwolf on November 15, 2012 2:13 PM:

    Unless Mittens starts drinking, smoking & whoring around he will never have anything in common with the GOOP.

  • T2 on November 15, 2012 2:17 PM:

    Wow...I hadn't seen the words Sarah Palin in a few weeks.
    As for MItt - the GOP breathed a massive sigh of relief when he was smashed. He will now join George W. Bush on the "don't ever mention their name again" bench, out of the Conservatives hair forever.
    Just for fun, consider the last three GOPers to run for president....GWBush -loses the 2000 vote, still makes it to the WH...9/11, Lie-based Iraq War and Great Recession happen on his watch. John McCain..I'll leave it at that. Willard Romney - robot multi-millionaire who viewed 99% of the country as his maids and butlers. Loses big-time.

    And the Conservative hierarchy thinks they just need to "express their policy better and they can win". uh, maybe not.

  • Josef K on November 15, 2012 2:23 PM:

    A permanent Romney presence in cyberspace, where nothing ever truly disappears for good?

    I feel ill.

  • Marko on November 15, 2012 2:27 PM:

    And beyond all that, is there any subject on which it would be natural for Republicans ... to seek his counsel?

    Yes, "How to Lie, Cheat & Steal"

  • emjayay on November 15, 2012 2:28 PM:

    Mitt already wrote his first article:

    The Democratic Party way: Voting for Gifts.

    Seriously, I was pretty surprised when the formerly secret (but of course esposed) and delusionally patrician Mitt resurfaced only minutes after he lost the election. Seems like in the weeks just before the election he was all about being the president of all Americans, because as all Republicans know, a person's a person, no matter how small.

  • DJ on November 15, 2012 2:44 PM:

    In a few years, he will then be called to The Presidency of the Seventy. At that point, he will be heard from as a 60ish spokesperson for LDS/governmental matters, and will be looked upon by LDS faithful as as great man, who almost became president.

    Your timeline is a bit off. Romney is 65 right now.

  • Peter C on November 15, 2012 2:53 PM:

    Has he shown his tax returns yet? No? OK, I still don't care what he thinks. Next!

  • azelie on November 15, 2012 3:04 PM:

    But if he tweeted or posted on facebook, the help might be in on the conversation. Of course someone might turn a newsletter over to someone who shouldn't see it, but if he's thinking of this as a plan for the Right People (his big donors) to get back in control of the GOP, a newsletter is probably more like what he's looking for. Now whether anyone wants him to be involved in shaping the party is a different story....

  • T2 on November 15, 2012 4:35 PM:

    Note to Mitt: The GOP never liked you and are happy you are going, going, gone. The rest of America doesn't like you either. You are a Loser despite your millions of tax-free money. And for what it's worth, Paul Ryan is a loser too. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.

  • Doug on November 15, 2012 6:38 PM:

    Perhaps Romney could be named an "honorary" Consul?
    By the Cayman Islands.