Ann Romney

The End of Mitt Madness? Please?

Ann Romney

The “sharelines” at the Los Angeles Times website are a dubious idea: Here, this is what you are supposed to share! In a way, it’s kind of like Upworthy telling you how you are supposed to feel. To the other, it is not so different from lede points, or whatever the hell they want to call those bullet summaries of stories.

Maeve Reston covered the launch of the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at a Boston hospital. The article opens with a line about Mitt Romney’s presidential potential, but that “shareline” feature makes it clear that even if one doesn’t give a damn about Ann Romney trying to get other people to fund a research center with her name on it there is still a political nugget for the non-story obsessing Beltway reporters: “‘Done. Completely,’ Ann Romney says in squashing speculation about a third White House bid by husband Mitt”.

We’ll have to see how this goes. After all, the Reporters to Draft Mitt movement seems to be arguing that they know the former Massachusetts governor will try a third time because, well, you just can’t believe a word coming out of his mouth.

This time it came from Ann Romney. One wonders if the journalists on the draft board will notice.

On another matter that has been the subject of much political babbling lately — a potential third run for president by her husband — Ann Romney was happy to wave off the possibility.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-ann-romney-new-center-study-neurological-diseases-20141014-story.html“Done,” she said. “Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done,” she said, referring to her five sons. “Done. Done. Done.”

Asked whether there were any circumstances under which she would encourage the former Massachusetts governor to attempt another run — or if she would support him if he wanted to run — she said she hadn’t “been pushed to that point mentally,” but that they would make the decision together.

She reeled off a long list of what she called “really interesting” potential Republican contenders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and her husband’s 2012 choice for vice president, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin.

The desperation really bleeds through. “Done.” Okay, but are there any circumstacnes under which you might decide that he shouldn’t be done?

Really?

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Why Mitt Will Run for President … Or Not … NYT Magazine Edition

Mark Leibovich, dreaming of Willard.

With a war on, one might expect the news media to give this kind of attention to whip counts, but apparently that’s something wonky that needs to be reserved for more politically specialized discussions of current events. After all, what proportion of voters actually know what a whip count is?

Of much greater fascination, perhaps because it is something journalists can pretend is simple and human and episodic like reality television, is pressing Mitt Romney to run for president. Leibovich tries his spin for the New York Times Magazine, opening with a picturesque description of the Romneys at home—nine paragraphs about tchtchke, geese pooping on the lawn, and the troubles of being rich and having more stuff than anyone actually needs.

Then comes four paragraphs on the troubles of being rich and losing a presidential election, and while it’s true that everyone has their troubles, and privilege doesn’t mean a person is without worry, and, sure, there must be a “human story” in Mitt Romney, somewhere, they are really bad paragraphs setting up the inevitable:

Romney, for his part, is noticeably playing along. He recently told a radio host that he was not planning on running for president but allowed that “circumstances can change.” A recent column by the conservative pundit Byron York noted that Romney had kept in close contact with many of his advisers and aides. As we spoke, Romney compared the barrage of 2016-related questions to a scene in the film “Dumb and Dumber.” After Jim Carrey’s character is flatly rejected by Lauren Holly, she tells him that there’s a one-in-a-million chance she would change her mind. “So,” Romney told me, embodying the character, “Jim Carrey says, ‘You’re telling me there’s a chance.’ “

This was the obvious opening for me to ask if there was a chance. Romney’s response was decidedly meta—”I have nothing to add to the story”—but he then fell into the practiced political parlance of nondenial. “We’ve got a lot of people looking at the race,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

As deftly as Romney plays the self-deprecating bridesmaid, he is open about his dread of becoming irrelevant. After his father, George Romney, a three-term Michigan governor, lost the state’s primary in 1968, he struggled to get meetings. “I remember my dad becoming quite frustrated,” Romney said. “He used to say that Washington is the fastest place to go from ‘Who’s Who’ to ‘Who’s That?’ ” In the saturated media landscape of today, the son has been luckier. “I have been able to get on TV, get key interviews, get op-eds published,” Romney said. When I showed up in Wolfeboro, as Romney led me to the living room, he made sure we were on the record. “You have a tape recorder? Notebook?” he asked me as he was describing the potential mold problems of New Hampshire storage. He wanted to make sure I got this.

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