I find it difficult to look at for two reasons. The first is that it makes me sad to think what might have been and is not, because I continue to believe Obama’s re-election is a disaster (one far greater than his election for a first term), and Romney’s election would have averted that disaster.
The second is that in some very basic way Romney is not the point. He never was. I supported him because he was the best possible nominee in a weak field, and because I thought he actually would be a good president. I also think he’s a good man. But he is not a compelling figure now; as he himself says in the interview, referring to his realization that he had lost:
It was a crushing disappointment. Not for us. Our lives are going to be fine. It’s for the country.
It’s an adjustment. You know, it’s interesting; in our church, we’re used to serving and you know, you can be in a very high position, but you recognize you’re serving.
And now all of a sudden, you’re released and you’re nobody.
And we’re used to that. It’s like we came and stepped forward to serve. But the good news is fortunately we like each other.
I actually don’t believe that’s the usual BS it would have been coming from nearly any other defeated candidate.
Now that I’ve read the whole interview, it reminds me once again of Romney’s qualities of essential goodness and modesty, as well as his lack of attack-dog capability. I guess those things tend to go together, don’t they?
Here’s Romney on his present role in the Republican Party:
Well, I recognize that as the guy who lost the election, I’m not in a position to tell everybody else how to win, all right? They’re not going to listen and I don’t have the credibility to do that anyway.
And on Obama today:
I look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there. It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done.
The president is the leader of the nation. The president brings people together, does the deals, does the trades, knocks the heads together. The president leads.
And — and I don’t see that kind of — of leadership happening right now —
WALLACE: What is this president doing?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, he’s campaigning.
He’s the only one that can say to his own party, look, you guys, I need you on this and get some Republicans aside and say — pull them off one by one.
We don’t have to have these — these gridlock settings, one after the other, on issue after issue…
WALLACE: So let me ask you specifically, how do you think the president has handled the sequester, the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, no one can think that that’s been a success for the president. He didn’t think the sequester would happen. It is happening. To date, what we’ve seen is a — the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing.
Now, what does that do?
That causes the Republicans to retrench and then put up a wall and to fight back. It’s a very natural human emotion.
You know, when I was elected governor of my state, I had a legislature 87 percent Democrat. It was not lost on me that to get anything done, I couldn’t be attacking them. I had to find ways to reach out to them.
The president has the opportunity to lead the nation and to bring Republicans and Democrats together. It’s a job he’s got to do and it’s a job only the president can do.
It’s not a job Obama is the least bit interested in, however.
Here is a very interesting passage, which indicates that (perhaps for the first time) Romney is aware of who Obama is and what his goals are. My guess is that Romney was somewhat naive about this during the election, unfortunately:
MITT ROMNEY: And why? Why would you [a president] not want to have the flexibility to do what you think is right for the country?
The only answer that comes back is that there may be more interest in showing pain and saying, see, what the other guys did.
Look, this is the country. And — and it’s — this is — this is America we’re talking about, at a critical time. And — and, you know, Nero is fiddling. I mean, it’s — it’s, come on, guys, focus on — on getting America through a difficult time and on the track to remain the most powerful and strong nation on the history of the Earth and put people back to work.
We get too soon old and too late smart—not that being more aware of this would have mattered much during the election. The Obama campaign still would have portrayed Romney as a mean sonovabitch intent on taking away your contraception, and that’s the sort of thing that won the day. But the realization might have caused Romney to attack Obama more, for what that’s worth.
Or maybe Romney was never naive about Obama in the first place, and just thought attacking wouldn’t get him anywhere because of Obama’s high likeability ratings and the sycophantic help of the press. We’ll never know, and in a way it no longer matters.
So long Mitt, we hardly knew ye.
[ADDENDUM: Mulling it over some more, I recall that during the campaign I kept wishing Romney would have attacked Obama for his propensity to blame everyone but himself, and have lauded his own ability to avoid doing that if he were to become president. I don’t remember whether I wrote a post about it, but I thought it would have been dramatic and attention-getting if, during one (or perhaps all) of the debates, Romney had promised the American people, “Elect me, and I will take responsibility. I won’t keep blaming Obama for everything wrong with the US after he’s out of office, the way he does Bush.”
But maybe that sort of “the buck stops here” mentality isn’t something most Americans admire anymore. Obama’s re-election indicates that.]