Does fate call back Mitt Romney?
© Greg Nash

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) leads the Republican primary polls here in New Hampshire this week. In fact, he leads in four of the five recent state polls and ties for another. And Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Fauci on Tucker Carlson vaccine comments: 'Typical crazy conspiracy theory' Republicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America MORE (R-Ky.) got a standing ovation this week it is reported, before, during and after speaking. Paul is a natural for New Hampshire hill country as his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is still regarded here as the "Gray Champion," as in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story; the grizzled warrior who stood in the middle of the road and called out the Washington establishment to say, "No more." But revolution takes longer and the son is not the father. Rand Paul is not likely to win the presidency in 2016. But Walker? If he wins the New Hampshire primary, he will be the first contender matched one-on-one to whomever wins Iowa, and American destiny will fall into his hands.

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But is that a good thing for conservatives? Can Walker win the presidency in 2016 or will he simply hand America's next destiny over to the Democratic candidate, which by every indication appears to be Hillary Clinton?

Thus all eyes fall to the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush (R). And observers say for Bush to win the Republican primary, he must first win New Hampshire. Right now, he is not.

"Jeb Bush has to win New Hampshire. It's a must-win for him, because he will lose Iowa. You've got to win one of them, particularly if [you're] considered to be something of a front-runner," James Carville, Democratic strategist and Clinton ally, offered in February.

"I will go further," Carville said. "If Jeb Bush loses New Hampshire, they'll get Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney, Sinema teaming up on proposal to raise minimum wage Family policy that could appeal to the right and the left Press: Corporate America defies the GOP MORE back in the race."

The Washington Post, covering Bush in New Hampshire, brought up Carville's quote toward the end of an article this weekend. And this is interesting: The Romney observation made the banner headline in the Drudge Report. Then the Drudge Report headline and Carville's comments were reported again in Salon. So something seems to be happening in the establishment press collective. A wish perhaps, but one shared in commentary by liberal and conservative alike.

Romney's appeal to New England liberals is interesting and subliminal. Doubt perhaps, creepy and insidious after all this time, like the cry from the heart in Bob Dylan's lonesome ballad, "A Simple Twist of Fate": "'Twas then he felt alone and wished that he'd gone straight" as the singular balladeer walks the docks in the chilly morning. The singular, agreeable and upright Mormon personifies the other path, the path not taken.

Three outlets then, four now, have raised the suggestion that Romney, the 2008 Republican nominee, consider running again in 2016. There is still time. He and his wife Ann have to be thinking about it. Because we face now that which might be considered ruination and possibly only Romney stands before it.

I proposed earlier in The Hill that if Hillary Clinton brings a Clinton Restoration, there would be a division in America much like the Glorious Revolution of England in 1688; a bloodless revolution which would determine once and for all what kind of country and culture we would become over the next centuries. It has been rising here for half a century. There is the anxious feeling that now, after all these decades, the moment comes to crisis. Possibly only Romney can take the center today, and hold it fast.

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.