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    The Other Shoe Dropping

    Last night, thanks to Annie Laurie from Balloon Juice, I finally understood what the Republicans are about to do to themselves.

    I've been thinking of primary voters choosing whether to run Mitt Romney or to run an undisciplined crazy person.

    Of course, they will end up running Mitt Romney and an undisciplined crazy person. Of course they will. They're just working out which one.

    Now I don't feel well.



    I think Rich sums it up nicely here for the most part:

    The 75 percent is determined to take a walk on the wild side. This is less about rejecting Mitt—who’s just too bland a figure to inspire much extreme emotion con or pro—than it is about fervently wanting something else. While the 75 percent has been splintered among the non-Romney candidates, it is largely unified in its passionate convictions.

    I would disagree with him that it is "less about rejecting Mitt." I think his perceived flip-floppiness, his Mormon religion, and his connection to the health care plan (and thus all things liberal and socialist), has many in the GOP out-right opposing him.  They are like some on the left who say there is no difference between Mitt and Obama, in which case it is easier to oppose someone who is from a different party.  Mitt is also seen now as the representative of the Establishment against which their anger is partly directed.  His blandness is manifested in his supporters, who seem to be absent on the blogosphere.  If one comes across a passionate conservative blog or comment that mentions Mitt, it is almost always from someone who believes Mitt will continue to drive this country over a cliff.

    If 75% cannot be to some degree corralled, it will lead to a brokered convention, and then all bets are off.  The GOP Establishment has not had to deal with for a long time, and many probably were not of a voting age the last time it happened.  You can count on people falling in line behind the chosen one only so often before there is a demand for something different than the same ole same ole.

    I think the quote starts out good ... and then peters out at the end. Ultimately, a big reason the 75 percent keeps fracturing (and, really, Ron Paul has held 10% long enough that we should just call those his and acknowledge that it's more like 60% who are flitting from candidate to candidate) is because they are not unified at all in their passionate convictions. For example, many Ron Paul leaning types are appalled at the idea the federal government would get between them and their doctors on abortion ... while many evangelicals are appalled at the idea of the federal government doing anything but.

    I'm not sure how many of Ron Paul's Republican supporters are that "appalled at the idea the federal government would get between them and their doctors on abortion", but as for the other side, Ron Paul has made it quite clear that he's not against state governments getting between them and their doctors on abortion. Not only that, but he voted "in favor of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003" (per that same Ron Paul campaign source).

    Yeah. The anti-abortionists are *pissed* about that. He busted out a signing statement on their asses. Too funny.

    It doesn't bug me too much as far as issues go mainly because I know that the president literally has nothing to do with amending the constitution ... in that regard I think Paul might do more in congress than in the presidency. But, yeah this is one of the areas where I disagree with Paul. So do a lot of Republicans ... not quite a majority, but a really big chunk (and a surprising number of Democrats are for outlawing it, btw).


    Maybe he'll do an inverse Obama and make a play for the center-left by nominating Buddy Roemer.

    I don't think we should assume that Romney would pick one of the runners-up. Presidential nominees have often selected running mates who did not run in the primaries. Moreover, none of these folks are particularly appealing even to the right-wing--otherwise they'd be kicking Romney's ass--so I doubt that he'll go there.

    That said, if Romney were to win the nomination, I'm confident that he would pick someone who appeals to the right. I just don't think that it would be one of these jokers.

    Probably a conservative from the South, believing he can compete with Obama in the NE and West.

    Jeb Bush? Chris Christie?

    I doubt Jeb would want it.  Chris is a possibility.  But then again I don't know if they would want to hitch their horses to Mitt for fear that the suspicions about his true conservativeness would rub off on them.  Republicans like Chris Christie always walk a fine line between appealing to the uber conservative base and the moderate base.  Being joined at the hip with Mitt during a long battle for the WH could make it more difficult getting the far right behind them should they be pondering a 2016 run. 

    I think it would be someone from the religious right.  My understanding is that the sidekick's traditional role is to attack the opposing top of the ticket, Obama in this case, so that the Nominee himself can stay above the fray and look presidential. Most likely they're learned the lesson of Palin, not to go beyond the pale and piss off the suburbanites in Pennsylvania. 

    But for those in the suburbs who are not already on board with the religious right's agenda, isn't someone who is from the religious right by definition beyond the pale?

    From what I know about Pawlenty he could pass muster in the suburbs.

    Pawlenty doesn't excite the right (or anyone else for that matter), which is why he dropped out.

    Ideally, Romney would want someone as galvanizing as Palin but with fewer negatives and less likely to overshadow the candidate. I would think that it would be someone like Paul Ryan--though I'm not predicting that he will be the pick.

    Fwiw, I would keep an eye on Christie. While I don't think that he is conservative enough or Christian enough to galvanize the right, he clearly cut some kind deal with Romney. He's been stumping hard for Mitt ever since he announced his decision not to run. If not VP, he would surely get some cabinet position.

    PS Though experiment: If Pawlenty had not dropped out, would he have had his moment as the anti-Romney? I bet that he would have and that he would have done better than these other losers.

    On Christie, he's definitely a good bet. Don't know about the geographical concentration in the N.E. or the religious component. But he has that "take the wood to Obama" quality that the tea party loves. 

    On Pawlenty---right, this might have been his moment.

    Don't have the link handy, but I noticed Chris Christie said he would "consider" running as VP earlier in the week.

    I think you are kind of right about Palwenty. Paring him with Romney is like a double zz. He might have done wonders to balance out one of the more colorful candidates though. And yeah ... he really must be kicking himself for not staying in the race, he'd likely have done far better than the rest.

    I think a lot depends on how much churn Romney hits on his way to the nomination. If he pulls out Iowa and then drops the hammer in New Hampshire, the rest of the primaries will just be slowly grinding the rest of his opposition underfoot. Then he'll be able to pick a cultural conservative running mate who wasn't a primary opponent. In other words, he'll have the luxury of choosing a disciplined crazy person, which will be a substantial advantage for him.

    (And yes Huckabee, who is a talented campaigner and communicator, is probably the best running mate Romney could pick, given his particular political situation.)

    If, on the other hand, he's still in a dogfight the morning after Super Tuesday, that's a sign that he's going to be wrestling with a rebellious base all the way to the convention, and that will put more pressure on him to appease that base by choosing one of the Not-Romneys that they've rallied around. Failing that, some undisciplined crazy person to be named later (for example, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Christine O'Donnell, Joe Arpaio, or The Riddler). Basically, Romney would be forced to take on a substantial disadvantage in the general just to keep his troops from mutinying.

    That's the real underlying story of these primaries, on lots of levels: How much does Romney have to handicap himself for the general in order to get the nomination and keep the party activists in line?

    Dear Doc,

    Your blog made me laugh hard, in particular these lines:

    Of course, they will end up running Mitt Romney and an undisciplined crazy person. Of course they will. They're just working out which one.

    Hahahaha, yep!


    It'll be Romney and Huckabee, with lots of money stirred in to soften the raw edges of the partnership. The message to voters will be that here are two guys who, thanks to a thing called "America," manage to find common ground in their approaches to business, to government, and to religion.

    Why would you need Obama and his bipartisanship when you could get it right here, courtesy of Huckleberry and the Huckster?

    I am hitting my head going "why didn't I think of that?" That's a strong ticket that would both rally some disgruntled tea types and have appeal for some independents! Having the Huckabee would do what Palin did in shutting up conservative talk radio hatred of McCain, while not having Palin's downside for independents He knows how to pander to religious right "family values" in a way that's not so scary to outsiders

    I can't wait for the mtv appearance...Huck on bass, Mitt singing lead.

    From the crowd

    "Boxers, briefs, or...or...what's that thing called?"

     Huck can cosign for Mitt with the snake handlers.

    "Romney will sheepishly claim the mantle like everyone knew he would, and the party will piss and moan and line up behind their guy just like Democrats did behind Walter Mondale in ‘84."
    From the Balloon Juice article. I couldn't have said it better myself, and in fact I didn't, so I'm quoting it here.
    I would like to point something out. Some people say there's no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. But here's one important difference:
    --the Republicans who are going to get Mitt Romney elected--I like to call them the Lucrescenti--do not give a flying rip what Mitt's religion is. (Unless, of course, his religion would cause him to vote anti-business. That's the only situation in which they would care, and they would not like an anti-business vote.)
    --the Republicans who do give a flying rip what Mitt's religion is are the people who will actually cast the votes. We're not officially a Money Monarchy yet, so the Lucrescenti will need to go through the quaint exercise of using their marketing knowhow to buy enough votes to get their guy in. The simplest way to do this is to get somebody well-liked by large groups of easily-convinced voters (Mike Huckabee for example) to explain that in spite of his apparently different religion and many years spent making money in the company of those fancy city slickers, Mitt is a guy who, deep down, is a lot like them and will support their cause despite constant interference from said city slickers.
    It is crucial to understand that in the Republican party, the electors and the vote-casters are two different groups of people, and the creation of a comfortable, vote-getting message at the lowest possible cost is the key to elector success. (Tea Partiers and Libertarians have tried to point out the inherent ideological disconnects in this practice, but in general, the vast cynicism of the moneyed class has, well, outclassed them.)
    It's not quite like that in the Democratic Party--some of us complain about a similar bifurcation of ideals between our economically dialed-in leaders and our more progressive elements, but basically, having at least a little pride is what separates us from our Republican brethren and sistren. It's not much, but it's something on which to hang our hats.
    What I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't look at Republican races as if they were supposed to make sense.

    Erica, I don't disagree with the broad picture, but it's too pat. The "Lucrescenti" as you call them (you're dominating google fwiw) do have some influence over the rank and file, but they don't control them. Boehner represents the Lucrescenti, but he is the weakest Speaker in many years, and right-wing congresspeople have repeatedly defied him.

    In the past, I've compared the right-wingers to the Visigoths. Emperor Valens invited the Visigoth into his army, seeing them as "a splendid recruiting ground for
    his army." Then they sacked Rome.

    My middle name is Pat!

    I've compared the right-wingers to the Visigoth


    Now, waaiiit just a damn minute here....

    Show a little sensitivity to the barbarians...sure, it's always the fault of the guys with the dubious hygeine.

    I will have you to know that what you call "the sack of Rome" we consider an instance of the application of "self-help" to a collection problem.

    In 410, my illustrious forebear Alaric "The Goth" Balt was driven to employ vigorous, even strenuous measures, enforcing payment of an obligation due from Honorious, Emperor of Rome, for services rendered.

    It's good to know that someone is looking out for the Visigoth's honor.

    The Visigoth Wrecking & Demolition Company, celebrating, last August, 17 centuries of deconstructing antiquity. (Hey, Trope, get it?)

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