Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 03:09 PM EDT
It seems that Mitt Romney is already back in the saddle, only 16 months after he ceded the GOP presidential race to John McCain.
According to a press release by Mitt Romneyâ€™s Free and Strong America PAC, Romney and his PAC have raised 1.6 million dollars since the beginning of 2009, more than any other potential candidate. He is also using some of that money to make key contributions to important election states. Conservative politicians running for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in Virginia (a newly blue state) have all received sizable donations from from the Romney PAC.
More notably, however, is the infrastructure that Romney has in place for a run in 2012. As reported by Politico, the campaign never really ended for the former governor of Massachusetts. The early primary states are still packed with former staffers and supporters who still interact regularly, forming a firm foundation for future political ambitions.
Furthermore, Romney campaign reunions are happening regularly in Washington, further fueling the strong campaign network. These established networks, in addition to the vast amounts of raw capital that Romney has already amassed (keeping in mind that the Obama administration is less than a year old!), clearly indicate that Romney is the fastest starter, and potential favorite for the GOP nomination in 2012.
Ideologically, he is also a strong choice. His business savvy and economic expertise would be his strongest selling points as a candidate. He presents the image of an â€œintellectualâ€ (instead of a â€œJoe Six-Packâ€) conservative, an essential representation when running against someone as polished as Obama. To show this, he has been writing monthly op-eds in major publications that highlight these qualifications, as well as his ability to be a â€œthought leaderâ€ for conservatives.
However, his Achillesâ€™ heel remains the same: social conservatives. While many might say that the new conservative movement isnâ€™t the same as its evangelically-based predecessor, the religious roots are still strong.
Ironically, Romney will have the exact opposite problem as Obama in the general election. Obama only had to fight for the moderate vote in the 2008 election, as he had the unanimous support of the far left. In 2012, after 4 years of bloated stimuluses, Romney will probably look like an attractive choice to the independent. Itâ€™s the foundation of his party â€“ the 20% that still supported President Bush at the end of his tenure â€“ that heâ€™ll have to worry about.
This article originally appeared on The Sad Elephant.