After losing in 2012, Mitt Romney spent the next few years swearing off presidential runs. Now, in 2016, the “47%er,” while not running himself, is hosting a summit in Utah that begins on Thursday, with the intention of teaching the Republican candidates how to win.
At least six Republicans are expected to be in attendance.
Romney And The 47 Percent
Romney comes across to many as a robotic chameleon. He can be whatever you want him to be; in politics, that’s both a gift and a curse. It’s a gift if you’re subtle; it’s a curse if you’re like Romney.
The real Romney didn’t come through until he gave a speech at a private fundraiser:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.
In what’s certainly a case of poetic justice, Romney walked out of the 2012 election with 47.2% of the electorate.
The R-Money Summit
Romney’s summit is scheduled at Park City, Utah. According to The Hill, six presidential hopefuls are expected to attend:
The site for the gathering is Park City, Utah. The Republican hopefuls scheduled to attend are Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina. According to multiple media reports, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was invited but could not attend because of a trip to Europe.
The Republicans are banking on Romney’s reputation, too. According to a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party, Craig Robinson:
I think there’s a lot you can learn from talking with a candidate who has run and won, but there’s also a lot you can learn from a candidate who has run and lost.
Officially, the Summit is going to be hosted by the E2 Foundation and is going to allow plenty of “bonding time” outside of the formal activities. Some of the non-formal activities include flag football with Rubio, skeet shooting with Graham, and hiking with Romney and his wife, Ann.
There remains, however, the critical question of what, if anything, they can learn from Romney. Romney’s campaign was autopsied ad nauseum following the 2012 campaign; even Romney himself acknowledged that there were some “missteps.” But Republicans in general are fairly impervious to criticism.
An even better question, then, is this: even if there was something to learn, would they learn it? Or would they take away the message that the only thing Romney did wrong was claim 47 percent when he should’ve said 57 percent?
The summit stretches from dinner on Thursday to lunch on Saturday.
Another pressing question looming over the summit is who Romney is going to pick as the teacher’s pet. Romney isn’t very popular with the base, but he has a formidable financial machine that is well worth abandoning the base for.
“Right now, he hosts these things, and that’s interesting,” said Robinson. “But what I am really interested in is seeing whether he would be willing to put his back and shoulder behind a candidate.”
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons