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Le Nouvel Observateur, France

What Does the Future
Hold for Mitt Romney?

By Natacha Tatu

Translated By Georgina O'Neil

16 November 2012

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

France - Le Nouvel Observateur - Original Article (French)

Will he write his memoirs? Occupy a position of authority at the heart of the Mormon Church? Go back into finance? At 65, Mitt Romney could retire and devote himself to his large family, taking on the role of paterfamilias — of which he is so very fond — full time. The New York Times wondered, on the day following the election, what Mitt Romney's future held and considered all possible hypotheses for him. All except one. Mitt Romney will never play a leading role in politics. This is the end of the game for the Republican candidate. Unlike John McCain, John Kerry or even his running mate Paul Ryan, he does not have a senatorial role upon which to build a new legitimacy. And it is difficult to imagine him bouncing back like Al Gore, in taking on a major global cause. “He has no political weight in the party. He has neither team nor influence,” said University of Chicago political science professor Mark Hansen.* Candidate by default, Mitt Romney was chosen because he was the only one with a chance of beating Barack Obama. Full stop.

And he failed. He could have, at least, taken care on his way out. In spite of his defeat, his father will stay in the history books as a great civil rights campaigner. What will remain of Romney's campaign? A lot of blunders and tactlessness. Definitely not the image of a rallying convener he wished to give.

The day following the election, Barack Obama called for the two camps to come together, paying tribute to his rival twice. Romney declined the offer, which could have saved his skin. Unlike Bob Dole, who was a big hit after his defeat thanks to his sense of humor on the cult TV show “The Late Show,” Mitt Romney has, above all, given free reign to his bitterness. He has not said anything publicly, but during a telephone conference with his big donors, he accused his adversary of being “very generous” to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and said “he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.” Essentially, he accused him of buying the election. Not classy. The big Republican Party strategist Karl Rove accused Obama of winning thanks to an obscure New York Times blogger (Nate Silver?), a hotel employee equipped with a telephone (who filmed the scene in which Romney accused 47 percent of Americans of believing they are entitled to benefits) and Hurricane Sandy. Then he literally accused Obama of having stolen the election. There have been more elegant losers.

Both men, it is true, have reasons to be bitter. While the Republican Party rips itself apart and moderates and conservatives have started a civil war to find who is responsible for this stinging defeat, they have two guilty parties everyone can agree on. Their “million dollar plan” pathetically failed. Until the last second, they thought they had won. Crash! The generous donors want to know, now, why the return on their investment is not forthcoming. What was all that money and bludgeoning negative advertising that squandered millions for? Why did the man who promised them that he would direct the country as CEO not deliver? Why were the anticipated returns so bad? Whose fault is it? The head strategist? The financial director? Should all staff be fired? Mitt Romney has always sold himself on his skills as a manager. He will need them.

*Editor’s Note: This quote, while accurately translated, could not be verified.



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