Those of you who couldn’t stand him in 2012 probably just wish he’d go away.

The most important thing is this: he’s almost certainly not running again, unless no other candidate emerges and people beg him, absolutely plead with him to run in 2016.

My reading of Romney is that he’s a man who doesn’t lack an ego, but that he has far less ego than most politicians. I think he actually is interested in public service, and that right now he’s been casting about—after over a year of laying low and thinking, and recovering from his defeat—for the role he can take on to best serve the nation and even the world.

If that’s grandiose, so be it. And the conclusion I think he may have come to is that he can serve as a guide to the party and as a symbol of solidity, a “what might have been” for the American people to compare and contrast to Obama and other Democrats.

As such, he can remind them that the current decline and chaos weren’t inevitable, and needn’t be inevitable for the future, if they are smarter next time and elect a more conservative candidate than Hillary Clinton or whoever will be the Democratic nominee.

Will it work? I don’t know. But I think that’s his plan, and so far he’s executed quite nicely. What’s more, there’s no other elder statesman available to fill the role. George H.W. Bush is too old and frail (as is Dole), and his son is (unfortunately) too toxic and has removed himself from the arena. McCain? Fahgettabout it; he’s lost most of what respect he ever had, and comes across as irrelevant.

New leaders will emerge, such as Cruz or Walker, or Perry or Martinez, or Rubio or Gowdy or perhaps someone I haven’t thought of yet. But none of that is clear, and they are all busy with their own political offices right now. Romney is retired and a gentleman of leisure, not that leisure has ever been his thing. Right after the 2012 election, I had thought he would fade into the sunset and we would hear almost nothing from him again.

But the really dreadful events of the last year or so, particular in foreign policy, and Obama’s abysmal performance on the world scene, have shown Romney he still has a purpose and that purpose is to say I told you so.

Not for self-aggrandizement, although there is almost certainly a bit of that going on. But the main purpose is to point out the contrast between a level head (his own, that is, or the other Republican and/or conservative Congressional candidates in 2014 or presidential nominee in 2016) and the skewed Democratic ones presently in charge of things.

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