Articles

Romney for the Senate?

In local news, politics on August 27, 2009 by Editor Z

As unseemly and tawdry as it may seem ( hey after all we are talking about politics here), just who could succeed the now late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in the Senate is being speculated about.

The names of just who will succeed Kennedy are piling up. Former congressman and Lowell UMASS Chancellor Marty Meehan, as well as Congressmen Steven Lynch or Mike Caputano. State Attorney General Martha Coakley, as well as Ted Kennedy’s nephew former Congressman Joseph Kennedy or Senator Kennedy’s widow Vicki are being floated are being floated on the Democratic side.

On the other side, Republicans see themselves as having a once in a life time shot at an open senate seat, as a powerful incumbent is now gone and what all trends point to a good coming year for the Republican party nationally.

Some conservatives and pundits see former one term Governor, 2008 GOP (and almost certainly 2012) Presidential contender Mitt Romney (R-MA) as the ideal candidate. Romney ironically was a one time Kennedy rival who gave him a close run for his money politically speaking, for his senate seat in 1994. He himself is also a member of a political dynasty and with his Massachusetts as well as nationwide name recognition, deep pool of personal wealth, and boyish face could score a large political win.

Peter Kroff, (via Political Wire), sees Romney as a strong candidiate.

Surprisingly enough, this brings things back full circle to Romney, who up to now has been busy laying the groundwork for another presidential bid in 2012. It would be an intriguing thing if, after waiting a day or two out of respect for the late senator, Romney were to downshift and announce he will be a candidate in the upcoming election to fill Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat.

Such an announcement would likely be embraced immediately by the Republicans, who would like almost nothing more than to deny Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada his new, hard-won, 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority. As a self-funding candidate who has already been elected once statewide, Romney has nearly 100 percent name ID. And, in an environment where President Obama seems to be dragging the Democrats down, he would be a serious threat to the Democratic hegemony in Massachusetts’s congressional delegation. Meaning Romney likely would win.

If he did, Romney would then have a platform to actually introduce legislation modeled on the proposals he put forward as a presidential candidate in 2008 and planned to put forward in 2012. No guesswork. No empty rhetoric. Real ideas, on the Senate floor, that could be evaluated, debated, and perhaps even voted on.

But Massachusetts is about as liberal as say Utah is conservative. As Allah Pundit says, Romney ran as a moderate to liberal in the Bill Weld tradition on social issues, but vacillated on a whole potpourri of those issues in 2008 (gun control, gay rights, civil unions, abortion, affirmative action, etc). That conversion of his views to the more conservative persuasion would turn the vast majority of Massachusetts voters off. Besides running for the Senate seat would almost certainly take him out of the running for the job he really craves, the Presidency. Romney seems to be the next in line and if he wants to be President 2012 could be his best and only chance.

The last part of this analysis also pretty much sums up why Romney would be a poor choice for the Senate (if in the unlikely event he chose to run for it). Romney as Governor had a legislative record that was short on significant and tangible policy. By and large he chose to try and run the state like a CEO and in 2006 by and large had abandoned the state in his quest for the Presidency. His 2008 campaign consisted of few policy ideas and relied mostly on conservative platitudes to appeal to the base and his telegenic looks, and Romney by a large is a politician who doesn’t cloak his ambitions well. A seat in the Senate would put Romney on the spot and in the awkward situation of crafting substantive policies that would appeal both to the conservatives of the National Republican party and not alienate moderates and independents in his own state. A stance any seeker of the Presidency would be well to do without.

Update (3:40PM/ET)-
Nate Silver corroborates the point that well Romney may be a compelling candidate for National Republicans, a Romney victory in any general election, judging by his past numbers would most likely be beyond the reach of the possible.

Update: (4:15PM/ET)- Romney rules out Senate run.

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