Contingencies on Mitt Romney

A few weeks ago I posted some on Mitt Romney. Since then his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness has come out. I do not think it bodes well that David Frum, who I suspect is close to the Center-Right demographic that Romney will target in 2012, gives the book mixed reviews. But a bigger issue: if the Democrats make the individual mandate to buy health insurance a feature of American landscape, can Mitt Romney shake his own endorsement of this policy in Massachusetts? I am generally a believer that the media has a short time-horizon on these sort of issues because it has to cater to the dull public. Fall of 2012 is over 2 years in the future. But, it seems likely that if the Democrats succeed the health care debate will be a live issue up to the 2012 presidential election, especially if the Republicans retake at least one of the chambers of Congress on a plank of repealing what the Democrats may enact within the next month (whether they can actually repeal much of anything before 2013 is doubtful because of presidential veto).

Here are my odds: I think Mitt Romney has a 1 out of 5 chance of gaining the nomination in 2012 for the presidency if the Democrats do not pass health care legislation. This is in my estimation the modal probability in the field for individuals which we know of. That is, I think this is better odds than any other potential candidates currently on offer (remember, I think there’s a serious chance that a “dark horse” may rise to prominence and win the nomination, so I would still put “someone-we-don’t-know/aren’t talking about” as a higher probability than any of the “top-tier”). If the Democrats do pass the individual mandate I put Romney’s odds at 1 in 20, and would guess that other 2012 hopefuls such as Tim Pawlenty would now have a greater probability of gaining the nomination (for what it’s worth, I think Sarah Palin’s odds are around 1 in 20 with our without health care).

What are you assessments of the odds?

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