"I don't want to go out and campaign for candidates" - George W. Bush.
But somebody, who's back on the ballot, DID ask Bush's successor:
"I needed somebody at my side who I could count on to get the job done. There was no candidate for the job of chief of staff who would meet the bill as well as Rahm Emanuel, which is why I told him that he had no choice in the matter. He was not allowed to say 'no.' This was a great sacrifice for Rahm, Amy and the family, to move out here. He has been a great friend of mine, he has been a selfless public servant, he has been an outstanding chief of staff."
As for Obama's potential competition, they're not exactly lining up fast behind the Mitt: "In each of the traditional early states, top Romney supporters from the last campaign tell POLITICO that they’re hesitant to get behind the nearest thing the GOP has to a frontrunner." Two Iowans quoted: Chris Rants sounds noncommittal while Branstad consigliere Doug Gross is flat out dismissive: “I haven’t talked to (Romney) in a long time.”
And indeed, Team Mitt is leaking word that Romney may skip Iowa -- forgetting the lesson from four years ago when Hillary tried leaking the exact same memo.
A frontrunner who tries Screw Iowa boxes herself in so she HAS to run on unfriendly turf. And Screw Iowa has never really worked for anyone. McCain gets an asterisk here. In 2000 he ran a true Screw Iowa campaign, but in 2007 he bailed out of financial necessity. If you're a frontrunner, you have to go all-out in Iowa, but McCain wasn't a frontrunner anymore. He didn't really win the nomination as much as everyone else lost.
Mitt was all-in for Iowa last time and got burned by finishing second, and the dynamic of internal GOP politics has if anything gotten worse for him. (I mean, if Doug Gross isn't in his corner at this point, who the heck is?) If he runs here he has to win here. The only way he does that is: 1) Ron Paul (or Rand, or Gary Johnson, but probably Ron) increases his indigestible share from 10% to 15, thus lowering the victory bar a bit; and 2) the 2008 Huckabee-Thompson vote splinters just right between Huckabee, Palin, Bachmann, Frosty The Snowman, and Rick "Most Likely To Drop Out The Day After The Straw Poll" Santorum. Then Romney's 30% or so is a weak first... but first is first.
Face it: Romney's only the GOP "establishment" choice because W screwed up so bad that they're too chicken to get behind Jeb till at least 2016. Just think how things would have been different if Jeb Bush hadn't been the only Republican in the whole country to lose in 1994...
Two more thoughts that don't fit elsewhere: This diary at Swing State Project has a bunch of four district Iowa maps and commentary. And Rachel "Now The Big Star At MSNBC" Maddow talks about some of our past socialist presidents:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things, but their number is negligible and they are stupid."Hint: Five stars.