It was Obi Wan Kenobi who first said, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine," but so far, it is President Barack Obama who has made good on that promise, following up his party's disastrous 2014 midterm losses with a swaggering stride and a string of victories to back it up. Now, it looks like along with the Keystone pipeline and the last remnant of the Cold War, Obama can add Mitt Romney's would-be third presidential bid to his pile of trophies.
At Thursday's House Democratic Issues Conference, the supposedly lame duck even bragged about the influence he's having on the party that allegedly lame-duckified him, and on one Republican in particular:
"We've got a former presidential candidate on the other side who suddenly is just deeply concerned about poverty. (Laughter.) That's great! Let’s go! Come on! Let’s do something about it!"
Romney took to Twitter several hours later to respond to the jab:
That's President Obama, Mitt. Racist much?
Despite his rapier Twitter skills, though, it would barely be twelve hours before Romney was on a conference call with his inner political circle, telling them he had decided not to run for president after all, even though he is still beating the rest of the Republican field like they were the Indianapolis Colts with properly inflated balls:
“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,’’ Mr. Romney was expected to tell supporters, according to remarks prepared for the call.
“I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again, if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind,’’ he was to say on the call. “That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.”
Although he probably won't cite him as a reason, Mitt Romney's awkward shift to economic populism was always going to end with someone calling his bluff, as Obama did last night. The fact is that the best thing Romney ever did for the poor was to think up a health care plan for Obama to get done, and he was never going to be able to run on that. Plus, Romney already got beat by an Obama who was trying to get elected again, so the prospect of having to run against an Obama who has given his last fuck has got to be downright terrifying.