Monday, December 08, 2014


Dave Weigel reads The New York Times and rolls his eyes:

He's responding to this story:
Dozens of the Republican Party's leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.

The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party's most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney.

All three are believed to be capable of raising the roughly $80 million in candidate and "super PAC" money that many Republican strategists and donors now believe will be required to win their party's nomination.
Romney seemed like a terrible candidate in 2012 -- but Hillary Clinton seemed like a terrible candidate in 2008. If we're already anticipating that an older candidate who once lost to Barack Obama will win the presidency in 2016, are we sure it couldn't be Mitt? Especially given the mainstream-media love he received when his documentary came out, and the energy he put into campaigning for Republicans in the midterms?

And I've always thought Romney was the most biddable of Republicans, willing, like Tina Turner's Private Dancer, to do whatever the people paying him want him to do. I keep going back to this David Frum post from early 2012:
Norquist: Romney Will Do As Told

... In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders.

They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives....

The requirement for president?
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
I suspect that's still the case.

Romney beat Hillary (though by only 1 point) in the latest Quinnipiac poll, the only Republican to do so. The entire GOP field loses soundly to Hillary in the latest Bloomberg poll, but Romney does the best (he trails by 8, while Christie, Cruz, Paul, and Bush trail by double digits).

Yes, Ed Kilgore has a point:
... the Daddy Warbucks wing of the GOP does not seem especially aware of the hate-rage that will break out among "movement conservatives" if the Establishment culls the field before "the base" weighs in. Hell, it could even spur a counter-crusade to pick a single True Conservative candidate, which would be bad news for the Establishment.
But the base has never been very good at thinking strategically -- last time, you'll recall, the base swung wildly from Trump to Bachmann to Cain to Gingrich to Santorum. And if the richies are looking to fund a winner, the base's choice may not even have the cash to run past the early primaries.

Know what ticket I'm most worried about? Romney-Ernst. It's male-female, old-young, slickster-rural, stolid-charismatic. In the just-concluded campaign, Ernst learned how to tamp down the crazy; if she can sustain that, and Mitt can stop sounding like J. Wellington Lotsobucks, that ticket could do better than you'd think.

I worry about Romney because he's capable of bringing the hate extremely effectively, in ways that motivate the base, and yet he has much of the country convinced that he's an Eisenhower Republican. I think he has potential if he runs better than he did last time.


Greg said...

He was more competitive than he really had any right to be, vs. the able incumbent Obama. So why not try again, especially if the inevitable uber-attacks on Hillary gain traction?

John Taylor said...

Time to bring out the 47% video and beat on it daily.

Anonymous said...

Plus, another advantage: Romney-Ernst wouldn't even remind THAT many people of McCain-Palin!

Steve M. said...

Palin has no learning curve and has the emotional maturity of a spoiled toddler. I'm afraid that's not true of Ernst.

Cerebus said...

True, and it's something to worry about. You know that the message the media will be pushing for the next administration is "it's time to put aside partisan politics" and that's not going to happen in another Clinton administration.

mlbxxxxxx said...

The VP candidate that gives me the willies is Carson. I think he's a dud as a presidential nominee and may even have sense enough not to run. But he could be a dynamite VP for someone like Bush, Christie or Romney (who I still think is a sure loser though Carson at VP could make it scarey.)

Unknown said...

Hillary was not a terrible candidate in 2008. If the extreme left had only had the perception to see the bloodbath of right wing extremism against newcomer Obama as president, we could be seeing a now "tested" VP Obama with a clear shot for the presidency, and a country that never had a tea party hate fest.

BKT said...

I disagree, Steve. Take it from an Iowan-- Ernst is just Sarah Palin with better handlers. There's always that chance that once she's in a bigger spotlight, she'll think she's earned the right to say whatever pops into her head.

And that's when people will be reminded of 2008.