The 2012 election is quickly winding down, with Mitt Romney even conceding Florida today in the aftermath of losing Tuesday’s presidential election to Barack Obama. But amid the questions of what the election results mean for America’s future, and with the fiscal cliff looming on the horizon, another question remains unanswered.
What does Mitt Romney do next?
After spending essentially the last six years running for president and losing twice, it’s all but certain that Romney is done running for office. His future options are somewhat limited, compared to others who have run for president and lost. He doesn’t have a seat in the Senate to go back to, like John Kerry and John McCain did, nor does it seem likely he will become a standard bearer for an important issue like Al Gore did with global warming.
However, according to some political columnists, losing out on the presidency twice doesn’t have to mean the end of Romney’s career in politics. At least two columnists have floated the idea of Romney joining Obama’s cabinet, a possibility made stronger by Obama’s post-election offer to sit and talk with his former GOP opponent.
One Forbes columnist suggested Romney would make a good Secretary of Defense. Another columnist, from the Boston Herald, put Romney’s name up as a possible choice for a new cabinet post Obama talked about during his campaign: Secretary of Business. That columnist also said Romney might make a good Secretary of Commerce.
However, there are substantial roadblocks in Romney’s path to a cabinet post. One, Romney did ridicule the idea of a Secretary of Business during the campaign. Second, and perhaps more importantly, Romney and Obama just don’t get along. It’s one thing for Obama to put Hillary Clinton in the Secretary of Defense position after defeating her in the 2008 Democratic primaries. They share a party, and Bill Clinton has been an important Obama supporter since his wife lost the primaries. Obama has less to gain and more to lose from adding Romney to his cabinet.
A more likely path for Romney involves returning to the world of business, retiring to spend time with his family, or creating some sort of political foundation dedicated to researching policy ideas that would help the Republican party.
Right now, though, Romney is lying low, and will likely do so for some time.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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