Not sure if this WAPO article is throwing salt in the wound or not. Nevertheless, its a good profile sketch of a highly ambitious man who was very recently on the cusp of history. Romney was an overachiever in academics and enormously successful in business. A man who would eventually emerge as the de facto leader of the GOP. A candidate who was this close to winning the presidency. Now he is left with his thoughts, self doubt, and the reality of facing his setting sun with time available to imagine what might have been.
I can’t imagine for a man intensely driven and who probably felt he was destined to win the White House, to simply flip the switch over to living an ordinary personal life as something being a smooth and easy transition for Romney.
SAN DIEGO — The man who planned to be president wakes up each morning now without a plan.
Mitt Romney looks out the windows of his beach house here in La Jolla, a moneyed and pristine enclave of San Diego, at noisy construction workers fixing up his next-door neighbor’s home, sending regular updates on the renovation. He devours news from 2,600 miles away in Washington about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, shaking his head and wondering what if.
Gone are the minute-by-minute schedules and the swarm of Secret Service agents. There’s no aide to make his peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Romney hangs around the house, sometimes alone, pecking away at his iPad and e-mailing his CEO buddies, who’ve been swooping in and out of La Jolla to visit. He wrote to one who’s having a liver transplant soon: “I’ll change your bedpan, take you back and forth to treatment.”
It’s not what Romney imagined he would be doing as the new year approaches.
Four weeks after losing a presidential election he was convinced he would win, Romney’s rapid retreat into seclusion has been marked by repressed emotions, second guessing and, perhaps for the first time in the overachiever’s adult life, sustained boredom, according to interviews with more than a dozen of Romney’s closest friends and advisers.
“Is he disappointed? Of course he’s disappointed. He’s like 41,” adviser Ron Kaufman said, referring to former president George H.W. Bush. “Forty-one would hate to lose a game of horseshoes to the gardener in the White House, and Mitt hates to lose. He’s a born competitor.”
The defeated Republican nominee has practically disappeared from public view since his loss, exhibiting the same detachment that made it so difficult for him to connect with the body politic through six years of running for president. He has made no public comments since his concession speech in the early hours of Nov. 7, and avoided the press last week during a private lunch with President Obama at the White House. Through an aide, Romney declined an interview request for this story.
After Romney told his wealthy donors that he blamed his loss on “gifts” Obama gave to minority groups, his functionaries were unrepentant and Republican luminaries effectively cast him out. Few of the policy ideas he promoted are even being discussed in Washington.
“Nothing so unbecame his campaign as his manner of leaving it,” said Robert Shrum, a senior strategist on Democratic presidential campaigns. “I don’t think he’ll ever be a significant figure in public life again.”
Yet friends insist Romney is not bitter. Bitterness, said one member of the family, “is not in the Romney genetic code.”
Read the rest, here.