I have a rule about politicians who seek office. It's a rule I've adopted after a lifetime of observation and experience in the trenches of political warfare.
Here it is: If they want it too much, they don't deserve to have it. If they lust for the office, it should not be theirs.
If they need it so that it's everything to them -- that having it can and will come to define them -- then watch out; they're not deserving of election or re-election.
Reagan was a success before he even entered politics. He was a certifiable star. He had nothing to prove. He didn't need to be Governor. He didn't need to be president.
And that helped to make him a spectacular success.
By contrast, LBJ needed it; Nixon needed it; Carter needed it. And, in one way or another, they all failed.
Clinton openly lusted after the presidency (and much else) and proved to be near-fatally flawed.
Ike didn't need it. And so the presidency suited him and he was uniformly successful (even without his uniform). Why? Because neither the uniform nor the office defined Ike.
It's clear to me that Mitt Romney is quite competitive and he really intends to be President of the United States; no question about it. He's definitely in it to win it.
But Romney doesn't salivate for it. This is not what defines him nor will it define him.
Listen to what he tells Peggy Noonan in Peggy's current column in the Wall
"This for me is not my life, meaning I don't have to win an election to feel good about myself." Romney says he's achieved success in business "beyond my wildest dreams." He's "hoping to make a contribution and go to Washington and go home when it's over. . . . Who I am has long ago been determined by my relationship with the people I love, and with my success in my professional career."
Good God, that's refreshing.
And I love this about Mitt Romney. LOVE it.
To me this makes him so much more honorable; so much more credible and so much more right for the job.
This is a man who has his priorities in order, a man who has lived life, a man with a balanced sense of himself,a man who can honestly look himself in the mirror every morning, a man of character.
That's precisely what you want in a president.
That's Mitt Romney.