Everyone hates Mitt Romney. Everyone. Not just the 47% of Americans he dismissed as welfare takers during his slapstick presidential charge in 2012, and not just the workers he said he "loves to fire" during the same burlesque campaign.
Absolutely everyone hates him. Democrats, Republicans, the Tea Party... even the British, including David Cameron and Boris Johnson, who rounded on the former governor after the then-candidate suggested the country was ill-prepared to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
That'll be the same Olympics that were globally hailed as the best in decades, though in Mitt's defense he did enter a dancing horse with a Twitter account as compensation...
This week, backpedaling on assurances that after two failed presidential bids he would not run again, Romney announced to donors that he was thinking of running again.
Adding levity to the proposal, the multi-millionaire corporate raider, who once disdained social welfare programs and made fun of poor people for wearing plastic ponchos, leaked that he was going to run as the poverty candidate -- as in the Republican candidate most concerned about the poor.
Even Romney can spot that inequality is the current cause célèbre. However shoehorning a man who once said "corporations are people" into Russell Brand's "doyen of the downtrodden" plimsolls will be a Sisyphean task. It would be easier for Donald Trump to run as an African-American, or Hillary as a man.
Yet antipathy for Romney is not just bubbling up from the hoi polloi. Rupert Murdoch, another who thinks that wealth and politics are perfectly good bedfellows, called Romney a "terrible candidate" this week, adding that the 67-year-old had "had his chance".
Trump too, speaking on MSNBC, said that Romney "blew it" in 2012, the bewigged birther dismissing his fellow businessman as "a dealmaker that couldn't close the deal".
Even Sarah Palin, a woman whose political opinion has not evolved beyond the unlettered populism responsible for her preposterous tilt at the VP's job in 2008, pushed for "new energy... new blood... and new ideas".
Following the leak of Romney's intention, the other likely presidential candidates formed a firing squad. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took aim, saying, "I think it's difficult to make an argument about moving forward when you're arguing about things from the past," while Kentucky Senator Rand Paul pulled the trigger, calling Romney "yesterday's news".
Another desirous of the Oval Office is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who returned to his oft-quoted line from Ronald Reagan demanding "bold colours" (Cruz) not "pale pastels" (Romney). According to Republican mythology, the long-dead Gipper currently sits on the right hand of God (receiving a pedicure from Ayn Rand) so Cruz's dismissal carried all the weight of scripture.
So everyone hates Mitt. Except, it seems, the business executives and donors who are pushing for Romney round three, along with his loyal spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, who like Cruz invoked the divine to defend his client. "Reagan ran three times," said Fehrnstrom this week, "Mitt learns from experience. If he does run, he will run his strongest campaign yet."
Romney leads several polls, mainly due to his name recognition from 2012, and the fact that no other candidate has officially thrown their Stetson into the ring. Yet the most relevant poll was taken in 2012, when Obama secured a second term at Romney's expense when a Republican victory seemed very achievable. After that defeat, Romney 2016 seems impossible.
As Jonathan Chait put it in New York Magazine this week, "Nothing could convince me that Romney will actually run for president, not even Romney taking the oath of office."Suggest a correction