RESIST? NAHHH. ROMNEY WOULD JUST GO BACK TO WEATHERVANING.
A Talking Points Memo reader writes this about Mitt Romney's likely response to calls for him to drop out of the race if he falters in the upcoming contests:
Does anyone really think he would just step aside for a new nominee or hand over his delegates at a brokered convention? He has been running for this job for years. He has plenty of money. They cant offer him a bigger job, financial power, etc. So what could the party leaders offer him to step aside. It wouldn't be "wait until next time" because stepping aside would show he is damaged goods politically.
Josh Marshall agrees:
... this is basically why the whole White Knight fantasy is so preposterous. Go quietly. Mitt? Like he did when it was time for Newt to take it away from him? Or Santorum?
... not going to happen. And really, why should he? Absent some massive, crippling scandal, which seems all but unimaginable from Mitt, he remains by far the most plausible and competitive candidate against President Obama.
I disagree. I think if the entire party machinery genuinely united and made it clear to Romney that it was time for him to go, he's extremely likely to cooperate at the right price. After all, what has he done all his life besides calibrate his actions to the demands of others?
The party would really have to be united, it would have to make going forward seem riskier to him than not going forward (surely there are skeletons in his closet he doesn't want revealed), and it would have to dangle a lot of carrots as well as sticks. (Fed chairmanship next time a Republican gets to pick? Presidency of the World Bank? Lucrative sinecures for his sons? Hell, he's got a law degree -- maybe a Supreme Court appointment?)
I agree with BooMan that this shouldn't actually come up after tonight, because Santorum won't win big in Michigan if he wins at all, and Romney will win big in Arizona. And I don't agree with Jamelle Bouie that an attempt by party leaders to find a white knight will necessarily outrage the base -- I can't think of too many substitute candidates who'd please the party hacks and the base, but Chris Christie certainly would.
In any case, I don't think the hurdle would be Romney. Go along to get along? That's what he's done all his life. They should chisel that on his tombstone.