- - Thursday, February 20, 2014

We’ve seen him everywhere lately. Interviews about President Obama, the economy, Hillary Clinton and the Olympics. Almost every reporter asks him if he’s going to run for president again in 2016. Mitt Romney’s answer is emphatic and clear: No. Sometimes it’s no, no, no, no, no!

Then there’s the “Mitt” documentary from Netflix. It’s great to watch, and offers up the biggest lesson about the debacle of the 2012 campaign: Don’t let the Republican National Committee machine run things.

In that film, we see the truly personal side of a great and decent family that never had a chance because of monstrous mismanagement by stunningly inept Republican “insiders.”

The problem was less Mitt than it was a machine filled with buffoons such as Karl Rove, who think they know it all, while losing elections and holding the American people in as much contempt as the Democrats.

Even among my rather diverse circle of friends (liberals, conservatives, libertarians, Christians, pagans and even an actor or two) in the People’s Republic of Los Angeles, there’s an interesting reaction to the Romney of 2014, a sort of regretful melancholy.

I imagine it’s the sadness you’d get from a guy who was talked into buying a Gremlin watching a BMW go by that he had passed up.

Everyone makes mistakes. The issue is, how do we correct them? The Rudolph W. Giuliani comeback is a prime example: He became mayor of New York only after New Yorkers realized the disastrous mistake they made with David Dinkins four years earlier.

As an independent conservative, I was thrilled with the 2010 Tea Party midterm extravaganza, and I remind people quite often how Ted Cruz’s victory, aided in great part by Sarah Palin, was the only serious GOP victory in 2012.

While Mr. Romney was not my first choice, I voted for him (and Mrs. Romney) and meant it.

Even though I knew he was imperfect and I would disagree with him on certain issues, I voted knowing we would have a couple in the White House who embodied the Founders’ expectation of virtue and also had the experience required to govern.

All of us want to be proud of the people who run this country. When you’re the laughingstock of the world, pride takes a holiday.

It’s not hard to imagine that the 4 million Republican voters who came out for McCain-Palin in 2008 but sat out Romney-Ryan in 2012 may also have some regrets.

With our genuine concerns about the actual conservatism of today’s entrenched politicians, it’s vital to realize any Republican would have been better than the reckless liberals now in charge.

There remain arguments about why Mr. Romney wasn’t the best candidate, or even whether he’s a genuine conservative. I’ve made some of those arguments myself, but here’s what I can tell you now, just off the top of my head.

This list explains why so many people are getting a bit dreamy about what might have been:

If a Republican had been in the White House since 2009, either John McCain or Mitt Romney, Border Patrol agent Brian Terry would be alive today.

Some 300 Mexicans killed by drug cartels using Operation Fast and Furious guns would still be alive.

Benghazi never would have happened, and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Tyrone Wood, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith would be enjoying their lives.

There would have been no scapegoated YouTube video maker sitting in jail.

Mr. Obama wouldn’t be spying on CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson, Fox’s James Rosen or every Associated Press reporter.

We wouldn’t have lost Egypt, Libya and Syria.

Ukraine wouldn’t be on fire and approaching civil war.

We wouldn’t be making it easier for Iran to get the bomb.

China would likely not be preparing for war with Japan.

The Internal Revenue Service wouldn’t be targeting political groups, liberal or conservative, for harassment.

No U.S. agency would be used by the White House to punish its political enemies.

The National Security Agency would be spying on terrorists instead of on every single American.

Solyndra never would have existed. If it did, it would have lost its own money, not ours.

If McCain-Palin had won 2008, the disastrous scourge of Obamacare wouldn’t exist, and we may have even found real solutions to the real issue of health care in this country.

A firm with one of Michelle Obama’s friends serving as vice president never would have received at least $300 million in taxpayer funds to build Healthcare.gov, only to deliver one of the biggest debacles in U.S. history.

And you’d still have your health insurance, your doctor and your hospital.

It’s a very good thing to want to replace liberals with conservatives in government. Now that it appears Americans are finally angry at being so fundamentally deceived by the Democrats, it could be rather satisfying to hire the guy we originally passed over.

So watch Mitt and ask, “Will Mitt go for it?”

A fantasy, I know, but if he were to leave the RNC campaign machine behind, a Romney-Cruz team, for example, might bring conservatives and the country together, and allow this nation to get off her knees.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News political contributor.

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