His chameleon-like shades of Republicanism — he presented himself as "severely conservative" during the
Most losing presidential nominees have remained in good graces with their old colleagues, and some have been revered as sympathetic figures or heroes. Think of
Some losers were fortunate enough to have been president before losing the job — Democrat
The three other presidential losers going back 60 years — Democrats
By contrast, neither among the
Even the Republicans' acknowledged bad apple,
It is difficult to picture Mr. Romney slogging in the political trenches with the same single-minded ambition and drive Nixon had. Late in this year's campaign, Mr. Obama needled Mr. Romney as being afflicted with "Romnesia" for seemingly forgetting previous issue positions he had taken. More likely, it is Mr. Romney himself who will fade from the memories of the Republican faithful, if not his political gaffes.
All last year, Mr. Romney was said to be driven by the political misfortune of his father, the Michigan automaker-turned-governor George Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and lost to that year's comeback kid, the same Richard Nixon. But it seems unlikely that son Mitt will ever lift himself off the canvas and try again in the national political arena.
And why should he? He is not driven by the kind of ideological conviction and certitude that is the stuff of successful comebacks. He has demonstrated without question his success in high finance and business, while laying bare his shortcomings in politics. Most notable was his inability to convince voters that he would be on their side in their current travails.
One can only wonder what Mitt Romney's future in the Republican Party might have been had the party adhered to the moderation of George Romney rather than pivoting to the conservativism of
Mitt Romney's political identity accordingly is left straddling the fence: mistrusted on the Republican right he so ineffectively courted, and on the party's left regarded as a pretender unfaithful to his father's moderate posture and intentions.