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Hey Mitt, come home

Silly voters. Silly, moronic, nave little voters. Back in November 2002, you thought you were electing a new governor of Massachusetts. So did I. Instead, what we were electing was a Bush family lackey, a spectacularly coiffed frequent flier who wears his ambitions so far out on his sleeve it's a wonder he can move his wrists.

After seeing his singularly languid performance at the podium of Madison Square Garden this week, I have just one bit of counsel for Mitt Romney: Come home, our wandering little friend. For your own sake, for our sake, for God's sake, come back to Boston.

Surely, you remember Boston, Mitt. It's that city where you used to work as a venture capitalist. Remember making all those gobs of wonderful money? Come on, Mitt. Boston. Massachusetts. Your new friend Tom Menino lives there. It's 448 miles north of Washington, D.C., 109 miles south of Lake Winnipesaukee, 2,365 miles east of Salt Lake City, roughly 4,900 miles west of Athens. Some people even call it the Athens of America, if that makes it any more palatable to you.

There's a nice hill there called Beacon Hill, and on top of the hill there's a big building called the State House, and inside the State House there's a room called the Governor's Office, and that's where you used to sit. It's why people call you Governor Romney.

The truth is, I don't particularly care if you want to be president. Ambition is often a good thing. The problem is, you're getting some horrendous advice from some exquisitely mediocre people who surround you.

For starters, you're setting yourself up for a colossal fall, and not in the 2008 presidential campaign, but your 2006 reelection. Shannon O'Brien's not going to be running against you anymore, reminding voters of that old joke: ''For sale, brand new set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. $100 or best offer. Just got married. Wife knows everything."

This time, it's probably going to be Tom Reilly, and he has the ability, the credentials, and the organization to eat your lunch. You can already picture the ''Where's Waldo"-style television ads showing your globe-trotting ways, underscored by questions about what you've done for the state lately. A defeated governor will hold all the stature of Carol Moseley Braun in a presidential campaign.

If you do make it into a presidential race, it helps to have a record to run on. Oh, boy, blank stare there. OK, a record -- you know, like when you make a deposit into your bank account, they give you a record of it. That's what you get when you do something as governor, sort of.

I know what you're thinking. You're a telegenic Republican who got elected in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. You held the line on new taxes. You axed Billy Bulger. You fought against gay marriage.

All of which is fine to most, and valuable to some. But the reality is, to run for president you need a record of accomplishment, not merely obstruction. You need to think in the positive, not the negative. You need to look into the future, and not just your own. It's one key reason why George W. Bush won the presidency last time around, because of a litany of laudable accomplishments while he was governor of Texas.

So I'm going to tell you what your starry-eyed advisers apparently aren't. You need to grab a pick and a shovel. Work to make the Rose Kennedy Greenway the most beautiful park in urban America. Squeeze the rest of the fat from the Turnpike Authority and Massport. Turn Springfield into the Athens of Western Massachusetts. Put your auto insurance reform front and center of your agenda. Do something.

In other words, focus your ambitions here for the next couple of years. You may someday be president, but first you have to prove yourself a good governor. That hasn't happened yet, almost in spite of your potential.

Come home, Mitt. Come home. The truth is, we can all help each other get where we want to be.

Brian McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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