- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Even as the tea party flexes its muscle in midterm primaries, the press continues to murmur that “Romney Republicanism” is alive and well, and that Mitt Romney himself has turned into a kingmaker. He’s not done with politics yet, and will underscore his increasingly pivotal role at a powerhouse gathering of Republican and conservative heavyweights most definitely closed to curious journalists. Come Thursday, Mr. Romney hosts a three-day policy summit and “leadership retreat” on his home turf in Park City, Utah.

And what leadership. The guests include Sens. Rand Paul and Rob Portman, Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and such longtime policy stalwarts as George Shultz, Hank Paulson and Michael J. Morell, former deputy director of the CIA.

Also in the mix: Mr. Romney’s wife Ann, their son Tagg, a host of serious donors and even former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat famed for declaring he’d make a better president than Hillary Clinton. Politicians and wonks alike can go mountain biking, horseback riding and skeet shooting in leisure moments, but agenda always calls. The group will examine America’s status on the global stage, economic competitiveness and that pesky “big tent” thinking and voter outreach that so confounds the Grand Old Party.

The GOP’s well-meaning, but often complicated relationship with women voters will be addressed by a panel that includes New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Mia Love, U.S. Senate hopeful in Utah, former Congresswoman Mary Bono and strategist Ana Navarro.

Meanwhile, Mr. Romney has already made six canny 2014 primary endorsements for the GOP, including Joni Ernst in Iowa. All six of his chosen candidates have won their respective bouts, earning him the title of “kingmaker” from the Boston Herald, Des Moines Register, Real Clear Politics and other news organizations.

He’s not done with a certain amount of grass-roots contact either. Currently underway: an all-expenses-paid date for a meal with the amenable Mr. Romney in Boston, a contest organized by the Republican Senatorial Committee and dubbed “Grab a Bite With Mitt!”>