Now that Romney has released a statement to his supporters announcing that he won’t be running in 2016, the next question is, to whom will he throw his support and his proven ability to raise money?

Many conservatives have long excoriated Romney for not being conservative enough—or not being conservative at all. But I’ve long thought that his instincts were actually more conservative than he allowed himself to be while the governor of the deep blue state of Massachusetts (although I agree that he’s certainly not as conservative as someone like Ted Cruz.) But those wondering about Romney’s present intentions might want to pay particular attention to this part of his message:

I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.

I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation…

I believe a Republican winning back the White House is essential for our country, and I will do whatever I can to make that happen…

I wish (and “wish” is not really a strong enough word) that Romney won in 2012. It would have made our country and the world a safer and saner place, and would have forestalled some of the awful consequences we’ve seen from the continuation of the Obama presidency (and sometimes I think we ain’t seen nothin’ yet compared to what the next two years will bring.) But 2016 is not Romney’s “time,” and he has had the smarts and the decency to realize it and act on it. It will be interesting to see who he ends up supporting, but I will go out on a limb and say it won’t be Jeb Bush. I entertain a hope that it will be my number one candidate at the moment, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, who neatly fits Romney’s description of “one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started…”

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]