"Some Republicans are aghast," said Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, that Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney Meadows: Bolton manuscript leaked 'to manipulate' senators over witness vote Republicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Collins expected to announce Georgia Senate bid MORE would run again. Did they really think he would not? It has likely never left a portion of his brain since his father's difficult and fateful departure from the troubled presidential campaign of 1968. The panel on the Fox show "Outnumbered" was collectively apoplectic. And Rupert Murdoch weighed in. "A terrible candidate," he said of Romney.

But the race of 2016 has not yet started and two speeches should be noted: The one yesterday by Romney at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in San Diego and the one on Jan. 24 at Rep. Steve King's (R) Iowa Freedom Summit. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who does not yet appear on the political horizon, is the natural leader of the rising right of real issues evolved from the Tea Party; of states' rights, sound money and conservative government. This must coalesce soon around a single, capable individual; a big-state status governor like Perry, or all will be lost and forgotten.


Romney understands the long journey. If you want to be president, it helps to go to Harvard. If you want to be president, it helps to live and work in Massachusetts as both Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Overnight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change MORE (D-Mass.) and Romney have.

Liz and Mitt. It's a "Bay State Battle Royale," says the Boston Herald.

Between the two, the question I would ask is: Whom would you feel more at home with in the core culture? At a Bruins-Canadiens hockey game? Whom would you feel most relaxed with at The Paramount, a popular working-class diner — there are two, actually, one in South Boston and one on Beacon Hill — that speaks still to the common soul of Boston as it did more than 70 years ago?

I guess I would have to say Warren. It is an interesting choice, because both come to us from elsewhere. Both have advanced us. Both have brought us something we, the native-born within a notably Irish political class, did not have before. It is something we needed; a step forward into the heart of the American condition, another step away from the darkening shadows of Europe.

A recent study says people feel at home with Warren; they would like to have her live next door. But that should not discourage Romney. If my next-door neighbors ran the country, we would be in dire straits.

Then some say the best new thinking is coming from the Jacksonian hill country in the southern Appalachians and Jim Webb, former Virginia senator, former amateur boxer, former warrior, former secretary of the Navy, novelist, orator and historian. He's the best "challenge to Hillary," if this is important. But it is more important for Democrats to think it through again from scratch; to find a new beginning. Possibly only Warren and Webb bring that.

But where did he go? He is recuperating from knee surgery. He had a new knee put in to repair shrapnel damage that has plagued him since Vietnam. He's catching up on recent episodes of "Downton Abbey."

Webb is unique to our world; warrior, littérateur and self-proclaimed "child of the East." He has had that war wound since 1969, and there has been plenty of time to get it fixed. I know he will appreciate this from the greatest of all war stories in Eastern literature. There is Lord Krishna at the dawn of the great battle, when Prince Arjuna suddenly hesitates: "What is this mad and shameful weakness?" he asks. "Stand up and fight!"

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at quigley1985@gmail.com.