The first time I saw Mitt Romney on the national stage I thought what everyone invariably thinks: He's straight out of central casting to play the role of president.
Unfortunately for Mitt in 2008, presidential aspirations were only skin deep.
That's partially the problem, of course, that Mitt Romney is, as the old expression goes, great from far but far from great.
Don't get me wrong, by the time the Republican nomination process wove its way to New York in '08, I voted Romney. What choice did I have? My first and second choices, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson respectively, were already out and my long-time belief that it should be "anyone but McCain" was turning into "anyone but McCain or Huckabee."
Now gearing up for 2012, with neither Huckabee or McCain in the race, the Romney option seems much less appealing.
It's not Mitt's personality or stiffness that is causing the conservative mass exodus. And it's not, as has been implied by some, his religion. It's that he's simply not conservative enough for a Republican primary.
Nobody who isn't strictly pro-life is going to get out of a Republican presidential primary. Mitt says he is but sometimes denies he was ever pro-choice. Conversions to the pro-life position are fine, Ronald Reagan was such a convert, but honesty remains the best policy. Romney's waffling will cost him Republican votes.
His biggest roadblock, though, is his recent defense of his misguided Romneycare program for Massachusetts. This seems to have sealed his fate among conservatives. It's unlikely that he'll have the support of the very influential Club for Growth this time around because of it. National Review has already rethought their 2008 endorsement.
In short, 2012 is a different universe from 2008 and just because Mitt Romney seems "next in line" doesn't mean that he should be the Republican nominee. In fact, if a history which includes "next in line" Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and John McCain has taught us anything it's that he specifically shouldn't be.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.