January 24, 2012

Rally Round the Romney?

Establishment GOP: "No! We mean someone else!"
A while ago I stopped reading National Review online because of their porous defense of Mitt Romney and associated attack on Newt Gingrich.  What became of National Review?  Conservatism is about being conservative and not about electability.  Nor is conservatism about protecting the candidate who best represents the establishment interests best.  National Review has proposed the premise that Romney is the best choice for Republicans.  That notion did not hold.  What does that mean?

Panic.

I have gone back to National Review twice since my initial mini-boycott.  I like to try to be fair, and perhaps they've come to their senses.  In addition, they have a number of excellent writers whom I like.  The first time I didn't see anything encouraging other than a few articles where the writers disagreed with the unabashed Romney and Huntsman love.

I went back again today.  What I saw was a new tack from National Review - Romney has his faults but Newt is just too risky.  Really? Really.
Establishment GOP: "No shells though, you bitter clingers..."
There is much more to general elections than debates, and there is much more to the presidency than giving speeches. On an intellectual level Gingrich knows this, but he has little experience either in contesting elections with large numbers of voters of varying views or in running large organizations. Romney has executive experience, unlike Gingrich or Santorum, and in past elections voters have seemed to value that experience. But at least Santorum, like Romney, has been elected to statewide office before, and like Romney has shown himself able to reach beyond the Republican base in doing so. Santorum’s record in this regard beats Romney’s, since Santorum won statewide in Pennsylvania twice. Only Gingrich has never been elected to office from anything larger than a congressional district; only Gingrich has never had to reach beyond the Republican base vote to win an election.

Gingrich has been a nationally known figure for a long time: when the economy was booming and when it has been in a slump; when Republicans were on top and when the public disliked them; when the national mood was sunny and when it was sour. Amid all the tumult of the last 18 years there has been this constant: Gingrich has never been popular.
Well, it looks like he's getting there now. The argument National Review puts forward is so weak an endorsement of Romney, rather it's just an attack on Gingrich, they even hedge their bets.  You don't want Romney?  Okay, maybe we can find someone else from the establishment that you might like.  Just don't choose Gingrich please.
Since neither Gingrich nor Romney can make the case that he is a purebred conservative or a world-beating political talent, both are now essentially relying on a negative argument: The other guy is unreliable and unelectable. There is enough truth in both indictments to explain the continued appeal of other candidates’ joining the race.
Clearly they are ready to abandon ship on Mitt, but they are now suggesting someone new enter the race - someone of their choosing.  Mitch Daniels perhaps?  Don't be surprised if the establishment Republicans try it, especially if the latest Florida polls with Newt in the lead hold up.

Addendum:  I am still boycotting by the way.  I have to start watching for comments from the likes of Jim Geraghty on Twitter I guess.
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