Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and 2008 presidential candidate, has filed the official paperwork to begin exploring a presidential run in 2012.
USA Today notes the announcement by describing Romney as “the second major Republican candidate to take this step,” and mentioning that “ex-Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has also formed a presidential exploratory committee.” Thus is the redoubtable Herman Cain, the first candidate to enter the race, relegated to the minor leagues by the bullet-point solons of USA Today. He can do nothing but stand on tiptoes to get a look over USA Today’s shoulder as the epic battle between Romney and Pawlenty unfolds.
Romney’s statement declares, “I believe in America. I believe in the freedom and opportunity, and the principles of our Constitution, that have led us to become the greatest nation in the history of the Earth – and I believe that these principles will confirm America’s future as well.”
His biggest problem will be the gigantic pile of rusted and threadbare RomneyCare baggage tied to his left foot, and the general atmosphere of “meh” that hangs around losing primary candidates from previous races. The latter can be overcome, but the former will be harder to get over, especially since the ideal time for overcoming it has long since past. Conservatives will always measure Romney against the born-again anti-ObamaCare crusader he could have been. It doesn’t help that, on the day he formally begins to explore a 2012 campaign, Romney also finds himself asking Democrats to stop “celebrating” RomneyCare.
He’s got a general habit of arriving late to the big national debates, weighing in long after others have already exchanged heavy fire with the Left. Leadership is all about timing – today’s bold move is tomorrow’s footnote.
On the plus side, Romney polls well among Republican primary voters, who love the Eau de Electability cologne he tastefully applies every morning. He’s got resources and organization. His successful business resume looks good to a nation that no longer wonders what would happen if a “community organizer” was put in charge of everything.
The beginning of a primary campaign offers established politicians a rare opportunity to re-introduce themselves to voters. The Republican electorate is about to meet Mitt Romney again, one last time.
Update: Romney launch video added below. It seems to imply he was just strolling around America, noticed how bad everything’s gotten, and decided to do his part by running for President. Attention candidates: your launch video should be at least as exciting as Tim Pawlenty’s.