Sunday, May 22, 2011


For pundits who keep telling us that the Republican presidential race will be taken over by the adults any day now -- no, really! -- this is worse than a global apocalyptic earthquake accompanied by a rapture and zombies:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told supporters in an email early Sunday that he will not run for president in 2012, a decision he said ultimately came down to his family's reticence about a campaign.

... Er, no, wait -- maybe there's still hope!

The announcement by the former Office of Management and Budget director and favorite of much of the Republican establishment will again roil the unsettled GOP field -- and likely intensify efforts to convince another major candidate to join the race, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

If Christie and Jeb fail to come through, expect the right-centrist punditocracy to cling even more desperately to Jon Huntsman, even as he overcompensates even more for his past centrism by trying to wingnut up. (He's already gone semi-denialist on climate change and fully embraced the Paul Ryan budget -- can a call to abolish the Fed or at least the IRS, or certainly to eliminate the capital gains tax, be far behind?)

I don't know what happens to the right-centrist pundits if Romney struggles, Huntsman and Pawlenty fail to get traction, and no "sensible" savior makes a late entry into the race. I assume the desperate fallback will be a call to try to force a brokered convention. And I don't know how that could happen -- pundits begging voters in later states to vote en masse for a doomed candidate, just to ensure that no one can get a first-ballot victory at the convention? Possibly the late entry in various states of "favorite son" candidates whose delegates (if the plan works) can be brokered away at the convention?

I think that'll be the last desperate hope -- that Christie or Mitch or Jeb or Haley or Thune can get the nomination without running. I don't see how this is possible, unless we turn the clocks back about half a century, but they'll hold out hope.

(And given the craziness of the other likely delegates -- the delegates supporting Paul and Cain and Bachmann and Santorum and maybe Palin and Bolton -- a brokered convention might generate a nominee who's even crazier than the candidates who actually ran. Ready for an Allen West/Pam Geller ticket, folks? Just kidding, but hey, who knows?)

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