Pundits have tried to hype a third Mitt Romney candidacy, but evidence from nationwide polls show he's not even close to leading the Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential contest.
That hasn't stopped speculation that another Romney run is just around the corner. Conservative Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah thinks Romney's going to prevail. So does Washington Post reporter Bob Costa. According to an Inquisitr article, Romney's leading a New Hampshire poll of GOP candidates and there is a petition with 60,000 signatures asking Romney to run.
It's amazing how little it takes today for someone to be considered a front-runner. But given the scrum that's the GOP 2016 presidential primary, where every politician seems poised to throw their hat in the ring, anything's possible, right?
Even in this environment, Romney's made little real traction.
Analysis of a nationwide poll of GOP voters by CNN doesn't include Romney. But they also asked these voters if they would consider "someone else." That "someone else" got six percent, less than half of the total amassed by front-runner Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. That "someone else" was a few points lower than a CNN poll taken at the end of last year. And it assumes that every undecided voter would go for Romney, when there were other viable candidates not on the list.
But what should we make of that New Hampshire poll?
It's a bit misleading. Most of the other candidates on the list aren't New Englanders, and Romney at least served as Massachusetts governor for a term. He's been carpet bombing the state in support of former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who is trying for a political comeback in New Hampshire against Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
Romney can afford to spend more time there. Others, like Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, etc. can't, because they all have jobs that keep them pretty busy. Only Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum also have a lot of time on their hands.
One wonders what's behind all of the hype. A story from "The Week" likens Romney to "the comeback kid," using tales of Romney III being like Rocky III. Except that Rocky actually won the crown before.
The author of that Romney story, Matt K. Lewis, also explains how Romney might be like Richard Nixon, who rose from the ashes of a failed presidential bid in 1960 and a lost gubernatorial race in 1962 to endorse Goldwater in 1964 (that didn't go so well) to prevail against George Romney in 1968.
But there's another group that benefits from a Romney candidacy: Democrats.
Lost in the hype that Romney would defeat Obama in a rematch is the same CNN poll revealing that Hillary Clinton would hammer Mitt Romney 55 percent to 42 percent. He fares no better against the Democrat front-runner than a host of other GOP nominees, and worse than some, despite having a lot more money and name recognition.
Perhaps Lewis is on to something with his "Rocky" analogy. Romney may wind up in history being like the political "Rocky:" Nelson Rockefeller. This Rocky was the wealthy heir to a fortune, served as a governor in the Northeast, starting as a liberal, but often moving wherever the political winds would take him, who ran several times for the presidency, losing each time. Sound familiar?
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at email@example.com.