I never really did think he was running, but this "Run, Mitt, run?" boomlet ginned up some hope that maybe, just maybe, he would clog the "establishment" field for a change and open a straight shot to daylight for a conservative consensus candidate.
Alas, it is not to be:
After a three-week flirtation with a new campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney announced Friday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.
"After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee," Romney told supporters on a conference call.
Romney's exit comes after several of his former major donors and a veteran staffer in the early voting state of Iowa defected to support former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would have served as Romney's most likely rivals for the support of the Republican Party's establishment-minded voters.
Although that's not to say that Mitt didn't dispense some surprisingly sage, and decidedly non-"establishmentarian" advice:
"I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee," Romney said. "In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case." [emphasis added]
No, Mitt wasn't endorsing Governor Walker. At least, not yet - remember from where his 2012 running mate hails....
....But it seems he's sending a pretty clear message to Jeb to follow his get-the-tired-blood-the-hell-out-of-the-way example - or "stop looking to the past," as Walk himself put it - and that the GOP and the USA need a third Bush even less than a third Romney presidential run.
Not that Jeb is listening, of course; just look at his thinly veiled elation at Governor Romney's bowing-out announcement:
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to make a bid, was one of the first to issue a reaction. He described Romney as a "patriot" on his Facebook page.
"Mitt Romney has been a leader in our party for many years. There are few people who have worked harder to elect Republicans across the country than he has. Though I'm sure today's decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America's promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense.
"Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.
Translation: "Boo-ya! Now all I have to worry about is that fat slob in Jersey, and once he has his coronary, I can just sit back and watch all those idiot Tea Partiers tear each other limb from limb. The GOP nomination is as good as mine! <hyuk>"
Speaking of that fat slob from Jersey, he hasn't had a coronary - at least, not yet - and may he never suffer such a nasty fate, but Governor Chris Christie did recently guarantee that he will be forever remembered as the 21st century Gerald Ford:
I don't care what the Big Man ever hereafter does, I don't care what the Big Man ever hereafter says, he will never be taken seriously in this country again after this video. Even losing two hundred pounds may not be enough to overcome it. Hell, President Ford wasn't fat, and he was already in the White House, but after Chevy Chase and Saturday Night Live got through with him, he was a national laughingstock, and down he went in 1976. Okay, gaffeing that Poland wasn't part of the Warsaw Pact and pardoning his predecessor may have had something to do with it too, but stumbling down the steps of Air Force One didn't help.
If you don't want Bush III, my Tea Party friends, get on the Scott Walker bandwagon. And in the meantime, try to make pictures like this go viral as well.
"If you think going #2 was good, wait'll you go #3!!"