Would you suppose that the man who headed the Republican Governors Association in one of the worst election years for Republican governors in memory would be considered a prime candidate for the GOP presidential nomination? No, neither would I, but for some reason RGA Chairman Mitt Romney, who presided over one of the worst GOP performances in governors’ races, has a rising political reputation and is taken all together too seriously by everyone as a potential nominee for President.
It probably doesn’t help that two of the three states (Florida, Iowa, Michigan) where he wasted, er, invested so much of the RGA’s money didn’t come close to electing Republican governors (Nussle lost by 10, DeVos by 14) and the third was always strongly Republican-favoured thanks to Jeb Bush’s popularity. Meanwhile, governors’ races in states that should and could have been more competitive (such as Maryland, where Ehrlich only lost by seven, or Oregon, where Kulongoski won only narrowly four years before, or Wisconsin, where the margins were in single digits for a long time) were not receiving those resources. Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota just barely scraped through (he won by 1 point) thanks to his own personal popularity, but apparently without too much help from Romney. But for Pawlenty’s surprise comeback at the end, Romney’s performance as chairman would have been even worse.
It was always going to be a bad year for the Republicans (and well it should have been), but with the brilliant captains of Liddy Dole and Mitt Romney it was probably a lot worse than it had to be. This doesn’t bother me very much, but if I were someone who was terribly concerned about the fate of the GOP I would not be cheering on Mitt Romney after a mediocre-at-best showing as head of the RGA. Anyone who plainly gets outmaneuvered by the likes of Bill Richardson is not someone I would want leading my side.