The Plank

Romney: The Veep That Might Have Been

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Mitt Romney just opened his speech by attacking East Coast elites.

That would be the same Mitt Romney who holds two degrees from Harvard, ran a top East Coast consulting firm, served as governor of Massachusetts, and makes his (primary) home in the wealthy Boston suburb of Belmont.

Seriously, though, I still have a soft spot for Romney. Yes, he's one of the most transparently calculating politicians of his generation. And, yes, to the extent he holds ideological principles I oppose them strongly. But I respect what he's accomplished, both in the private sector and in government. He's smart and serious and, down deep, believes in the importance of public service. 

I know many people thought that, politically speaking, Romney would have been a terrible choice for McCain's number two. And there are plenty of good reasons to think that's true. Still, he would have brought a lot of assets to the ticket, too. He certainly understands policy, particularly economic policy. He'd have put Michigan in play. And, as we're seeing now, he gives a pretty good speech.

So the partisan in me is glad Romney is not on the ticket. But the citizen in me has some regrets. Romney may be the political equivalent of Plastic-Man, but I wouldn't lose sleep knowing he was a heartbeat away from the presidency. And that's not something I can say about McCain's current choice for running mate. 

--Jonathan Cohn 

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