Should Mitt Romney run for the U.S. Senate? By all means. Indeed, Sen. Orrin Hatch should step aside. The Old Souls in the House and Senate will be taking a beating this coming year and Judge Roy Moore, newly nominated gunslinger from Alabama, will lead the charge. Possibly on horseback.
For with the rise of Donald Trump to the Oval Office, America has entered a new age of Andrew Jackson. Trump has even placed a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office to boldly indicate the dramatic shift in paradigm. But it was a long time in coming.
I’d written back in 2011 that the rise of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to national politics was the first suggestion that we were entering a new Jacksonian period. It was Jackson, I claimed, who “put the fire in the belly of the heartland; a fire felt in the red states today and a fire that potentially will never go out.”
The rise of the new Jacksonian rebels intent on clearing “the swamp” brings perhaps a much needed transition in our ongoing American experience; a changing of the guard and a new approach to governance, moving toward decentralization. Maybe it is time.
But there are increasing dangers and instabilities as well and Romney could bring moderation and a bridge between rising political generations and those receding. As governor of Massachusetts, he was first to use the phrase “one size does not fit all” which has become the mantra for Jeffersonian approaches to states rights, decentralization, sound money and constitutional government, all themes favored in the first days of the rebellious Tea Party.
And anyway, Romney is not just considering running for Senate in 2018. He must be considering running for president in 2020. For Romney, more than any other, is the anti-Trump. And Romney, almost alone in America, can easily pull support from both parties as he did in liberal Massachusetts.
There were high hopes for Romney for president in 2016 almost right up to the end. Up to November when pollsters asked New Hampshire primary voter if they would go for Romney, if he was put on the ticket, when most all others hovered around 11 percent, they gave Romney around 30 percent. But it was too late. Although he had lost in his previous tries, he was still seen as the moral voice of the Republican party.
Maybe he still is.
In mid 2015, when Trump was first moving in the race, Romney said, “I think he made a severe error in saying what he did about Mexican-Americans. And it’s unfortunate.”
The language — “severe error” — resonated with nuance.
But the next day polls rose in favor of Trump and, in my view, Trump had “trumped” the moral leader of the party with his persistent vulgarity. Something else was happening in America and it is still happening. And it grows darker.
Romney’s job has always been to fix things which are broke. He did so at the great 2002 Winter Olympics, he did so at Bain Capital and he did so as governor of Massachusetts. And he is a good luck guy: Surrounding his governorship of Massachusetts the New England Patriots rose out of nowhere to begin winning everything there was to win. And the Red Sox even began to win, taking their first World Series since 1918 and lifting The Curse from us here in New England.
He should run for Senate in 2018 and for President in 2020. Maybe he could lift The Curse from America and the world this time. Because the misguided and staged Jacksonian theme is growing thin and has today the potential to lead America and the world into a quagmire from which we may never return whole.
The age of Jackson was a chaotic period in America and the kind of stability as we have come to know for the next hundred years did not begin until Abraham Lincoln was elected president 20-some years later. Much like the wild and wonderful Sixties which brought change and chaos to the country, the chaos would find its antidote in Ronald Reagan.
As this false era of Jackson spirals out of control, America will begin to look for the singular leader who stands alone and determined as a moral and responsible leader; a leader like Lincoln and Reagan destined to bring us back to ourselves.
As of today I can think of no one other than Mitt Romney who fills the bill.
Bernie Quigley, Haverhill, N.H., has been a print and broadcast journalist for 40 years.