I had just moved to Massachusetts as the gubernatorial election was heating up. And it was immediately clear that the election was a referendum on a very unpopular Democratic incumbent. Mitt had a pretty solid shot at winning just by keeping his mouth shut. It also didn't hurt that he used the now shopworn Republican tactic of talking like a centrist to conceal far-right political stances. It became obvious soon after the election that Romney saw the governorship of Massachusetts as nothing more than a stepping stone to national politics. He was immediately surrounded by rumors of a presidential run, and did nothing to convince people otherwise.
To that end, Romney hitched his wagon to Bush and started to portray himself as just the sort of guy the fundamentalist right would approve of. As other would-be fundamentalist presidents began to learn over the course of 2005, that tactic was a double-edged sword. The public has turned against the administration, and the fundamentalist agenda is viewed with increasing distrust by the American public.
Too bad for Mitt. At this point, he seems to have shot himself in the foot by alienating the constituency here (he's already announced he won't run again) and gambled incorrectly on his national chances. Good riddance, I say.
The Boston Globe does a good job here of calling it like it is:
By thumbing his nose at Massachusetts after less than three-quarters of one term as its chief executive, Mitt Romney, yesterday surrendered his clout and squandered his legitimacy. If, as it appears, his heart and mind are no longer in Massachusetts, he should resign.
Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is inexperienced. But the state would be far better off in the hands of someone focused on state problems, rather than someone touring the country ridiculing the people he was elected to serve. Romney has joked in several states that, as a Republican here, he feels like ''a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."
Romney's decision was no surprise, as he admits to presidential aspirations and has increasingly taken conservative positions that would appeal far more to GOP activists in the South and West than to Massachusetts voters. Romney said he would keep his commitment to finish his term, but there is no reason to. He might as well follow Paul Cellucci, who went to Ottawa, and Bill Weld, who left for Mexico City (though he never arrived).