As Mitt Romney gears up for his third presidential campaign in a desperate effort to stave off the Patakimentum, the Boston Globe reports that his rationale for this third campaign will be some combination of his foreign policy prescience from 2012 and an economic program that will help the disadvantaged. On foreign policy, the claim seems to be that a President Romney would never have let things like the Islamic State happen.

Now, as someone who didn’t really think Romney would run a third time, and really didn’t think his 2012 campaign showed much in the way of foreign policy prescience, I confess that my initial reaction to this news was:

After I thought about Romney’s rationale for a few minutes, however, my next reaction was:

And then, after a few minutes more, my reaction was more like this:

Maybe this seems unfair, but I don’t think I’m alone in this. Here’s GOP campaign communications strategist Liz Mair on Twitter this AM:

Mair reminds us that the one time Mitt Romney traveled overseas on a “foreign policy trip,” it…

.  And even before that trip, it’s not like Romney was displaying a great deal of



What’s really interesting is that the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin implies that a key advantage for Romney is that his foreign policy views might resonate with the GOP’s donor class – but the Post’s Robert Costa, Matea Gold, and Philip Rucker suggest otherwise:

Romney, who lost decisively to Obama in 2012, has been making the case to former donors that he would prevail in another campaign because, as he put it, “I’ve been vindicated,” according to people familiar with the conversations. That argument has not been persuasive to some major party financiers. “It is mystifying most of them,” said one highly placed GOP operative who is in contact with wealthy party donors, adding: “This doesn’t look like it was well thought out and organized.”

GOP 2016 candidates will have a lot to chew on with respect to Obama’s foreign policy record (as well as Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state):  his failed “reset” with Russia, his Libya adventure, his ham-handed relationship with Netanyahu, his neglect of the Islamic State threat, and his tepid support for his own foreign economic policy. A quality hawk — say, Marco Rubio — will also hit him on his Iran policy. A quality dove — say, Rand Paul — will also hit him on his abject failure to reform the national security state.

Mitt Romney might believe that his 2012 rhetoric vindicates a 2016 run. Almost everyone else on the planet Earth, however, thinks that Romney is, at best, an imperfect vessel to challenge Democratic control of the foreign policy machine.

What’s interesting from a narrative sense is that the further Romney pushes for a 2016 run, the more difficult it will be for him to back out gracefully. And as establishment Republicans start lining up to bash him, this tweet from the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru will prove more prescient than Mitt Romney’s 2012 foreign policy rhetoric: