William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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FAME IS FLEETING – AT 9:39 A.M. ET:  I thought Mitt Romney ran an honorable campaign.  I thought he deserved to win.  But have you noticed what name has faded from political discussion in only six days since the election?  Mitt Romney.

In politics, nothing fails like failure.  And it's worse when you have no public position to fall back on.  John McCain went back to the Senate, as did John Kerry in 2004 and Bob Dole in 1996.  They stayed in print.  Bush 41 was defeated, but, as a former president, he has continuing prestige.  Al Gore lost his public salary in 2000, but reinvented himself when he bought a thermometer.  Michael Dukakis, defeated in 1988, now shares an office at a university in Boston.

I doubt if Romney will play any significant future role in American politics.  For whatever reason, he just never connected with the American people, and, indeed, never really connected with most of his own party.  Imagine:  If about three percent of the vote had gone the other way, we'd be hearing from President-elect Romney today. 

As Andrew Malcolm of Investor's Business Daily reports, the 2016 race has already begun, led by one of our favorites here, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio really is going to Iowa this week for a fundraiser.

No joke.

True, Rubio isn't going to Iowa until Saturday, which means it will be much closer by then, only 1,449 days before the 2016 election. And even less time until the nation's first primary caucus. Oh, look! Those first local caucuses to start choosing the GOP nominee will be in Iowa in January of 2016.

The alleged reason for the 41-year-old bilingual Republican star's visit to Iowa is a fundraiser. Remember what those are? Obama did quite a few of them the last couple of years, charging upwards of $40,000 per person.

And...

Other Republicans will likely show up too during the next 18 months or so. The party has an incredibly deep bench of governors. A Chris Christie bid is likely DOA after his Sandy suck-up to Obama. But there's Scott Walker, Nikki Haley, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Susanna Martinez, Rick Perry, among many.

Once he's settled into Indianapolis, newly-elected Gov. Mike Pence could show up. Maybe Sen. John Thune or Kelly Ayotte, in case Republicans haven't had enough of an ex-senator in the White House.

It's not that any of them have actually decided to run in 2016. It's just that a massive undertaking like a presidential campaign requires such extensive and meticulous spadework that they have to start far out just to have the option of realistically deciding when the time comes.

COMMENT:  We make no predictions here.  Four years is about 150 lifetimes in politics.  Republicans must first get through the 2014 Congressional elections. 

And then there's the other party, and Hillary.  Will she or won't she?  I'm not sure she really knows.  The only way the Democrats could deny Hillary the nomination would be to give it to another woman, and the new darling of the Democratic Party, incredibly, is Elizabeth Warren.  Hillary must love her.

November 12, 2012