U.S. News and World Report's Peter Roff thinks Mitt Romney could jumpstart his plans to run for national office by aiming for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. The former Massachusetts governor is expected to run again for the Republican presidential nomination, but Rolff speculates that Romney might opt to "downshift" and make a run for Senate instead, adding that the move would be embraced by Republicans who want to deny Democrats 60 Senate seats to break filibusters.
But could he actually win? Rolff thinks so, arguing that Romney has won statewide before, can self-fund his campaign, and would be boosted by President Obama's effect of "dragging the Democrats down." Is this Republican dream scenario too good to be true?
- It's a Pipe Dream Nate Silver said Romney may "almost certainly not" win the seat. Romney left office with roughly 35 percent approval among the public in 2006. The Bay State is thoroughly Democratic and while voters often cross party lines to vote for governor (as was the case for Romney) this is only true for 22 of 100 Senators, Silver said.
- Senate Can't Help the White House Even if Romney won a seat in the Senate he would have "about five minutes to start passing legislation for it to do him any good in a presidential campaign that will start in earnest next February," said James Joyner. Romney would join the GOP minority that can't pass bills on their own without compromising with Democrats, said Allahpundit, "not something a guy who’s already suspected of RINOism is wont to do."
- Republican Hero But wait, Lisa Schiffren at National Review said Romney could be the leader of a renewed Republican opposition "Then...the sky’s the limit." Allahpundit said a Senate seat would give Romney extra gravitas and name recognition, but losing would be a catastrophe.
- Too Many Flips Needed Steve Benen said Romney ran for governor as a "center-left, pro-choice, tolerant New England Republican. He left office after just one term as a conservative with an approval rating in the 30s. Which version of Romney would run for Kennedy's seat? He couldn't run to the right; he'd lose. He couldn't run to the left; it would ruin his presidential ambitions."