The GOP's Romney Problem

Written by David Frum on Tuesday April 12, 2011

If the economy remains depressed into 2012, Romney could well defeat Obama. However, he would also be a very dangerous candidate for the GOP to lose with.

So here's my Romney problem, triggered by yesterday's formal announcement (hem, exploration).

I think Mitt Romney would make a fine president. If economic conditions remain depressed into 2012, he could well defeat President Obama.

But if the economy recovers, then the normal rule of American politics would expect the incumbent to win even if the GOP nominated the second coming of Teddy Roosevelt.

And while Romney would be a fine candidate to win with, he would be a very dangerous candidate for Republicans to lose with. If Romney should be nominated and defeated, it's easy to imagine Republicans deciding that the route to victory is to do Tea Party 2.0 in 2014 and 2016 - doubling down on the extremism of 2009-2010 long past their sell-by date.