We have been unfair to Mitt Romney. We have depicted him as a man driven to be president, so eager to succeed where his father failed that he has been willing to twist himself into whatever pretzel the moment requires to pass muster with the electorate at hand. But no. Romney actually had no intention of making a second try at the White House after coming up short in 2008. That is, until the inability of the current president to turn the economy around convinced him that, like Michael Jordan coming out of retirement, like Churchill returning from exile, he was needed.
As he just told George Stephanopoulos: "We thought we weren't going to be running again. And, frankly, had the economy turned around like I expected it would and we got down to a 6% unemployment rate, I wouldn't be running. But the failure of this presidency compelled Ann and me to say, look, we've got to get back in, in part because of the experience I’ve had in the economy."
Never mind that Romney spent much of 2009 working on a classic pre-campaign, anti-Obama tract, "No Apology." Never mind that he spent much of 2010 traveling the country campaigning for and giving hundreds of thousands of dollars from his "leadership PAC" to Republicans running for local and state office, with a special focus on those running in early states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. Oh no, Romney was ready to hang it up, really he was. He was just going to kick back in his too-small beachfront house in La Jolla and watch Modern Family.
Really, he was.