A PRESIDENTIAL BOOM—its birth, its nurturing and its outcome—is a fascinating thing to behold. This is especially true in the case of a political novice like George Romney, the Rambler Man, who is now regarded as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1964.
How did the Romney-for-President talk get started? The answer seems to be that it was started by former Vice President Richard M. Nixon. This was back in November, just after the announcement that New York's Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller and his wife would be divorced. More recently the word has circulated among Republicans that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower is also a Romney rooter, and this has proved to be an addition to the boom.
Naturally, these developments have brought to mind Wendell Willkie, who stormed the Republican National Convention at Philadelphia in 1940, captured the party's nomination for President, and so won the chance to take a beating from Franklin D. Roosevelt.
There are some differences, of course, one of them being that Mr. Romney is going to test his ability as a vote-getter by running this year for Governor of Michigan. He says himself that he starts out as an underdog. If he wins his uphill battle in November, and thereby becomes the first Republican Governor of the Wolverine State in 14 years, it would make him a major contender for the GOP Presidential nomination two years hence.
What is most fascinating about the Romney boom is that here is a man who is being talked about for the Presidency before he has even reached first base, politically speaking. Why choose a novice when there are Mr. Nixon, Governor Rockefeller and Senator Goldwater of Arizona, all professionals?
There seems to be only one answer. As was the case in 1940, the Republicans now see a popular Democrat in the White House and doubt whether any of their pros can dislodge him. Accordingly, the Republicans—a good many of them, at any rate—are sizing up the fellow in Michigan who looks so much like Dick Tracy.
Strategists in the Democratic party express confidence that President Kennedy will win a second term in 1964. Looking over the Republican field, they see no potential candidate who causes them apprehension—or so they say. Just the same, it would make them very happy if Mr. Romney were knocked out of the picture this November.