Anybody old enough to have played with the actual toy would agree that an Etch-A-Sketch isn’t a bad metaphor for the neverending Romney campaign: Hours of tedious calibration along rigid horizontal/vertical axes gave you a jaggety graphical image roughly caricaturing the subject you intended to draw, and after a few weeks’ use the ghosted outlines of previous sketches would obscure the newest image until you gave up and shoved the thing down to the bottom of the toybox. But this year’s True Republican Conservatives(tm) no longer have the luxury of switching to a new and less frustrating plaything, so they’ve decided to proclaim that getting stuck with The Candidate Nobody Wanted is somehow a proof that they’re #winning. Erick “Voice of the GOP Gated Community” Erickson, the man whose primary vote went to Rick Perry even though Perry had long since retired from the race, squares his beefy shoulders and sticks out his manly chins for “The Nominee“:
…[A]s Romney piles up more and more wins and neither the Gingrich nor Paul campaigns remain factors, let alone have pulses, the inevitable will set in. Conservatives may not really like Mitt Romney, but they do not want a fractured party too divided to beat Barack Obama. There will be no white knight, no dark horse, and no brokered convention. We have our nominee.
If, come November, Mitt Romney wins, he will owe it to a lot of Republicans who put their reputation on the line and it will be payback time. If Mitt Romney loses, party leaders will undoubtedly try to blame conservatives as they always do, but it will be really hard to cast blame when Romney’s supporters have billed him as Mr. Electable since shortly after they they billed Harriet Miers as a genius conservative pick for the Supreme Court.
Either way, conservatives have and no doubt will continue to make it very clear that Mitt Romney may be the standard bearer of the Republican Party, but he most definitely is not the standard bearer of the conservative movement. The disentangling of the movement from the party will continue. So too will our shared effort to oust Barack Obama from the White House.
Such we-are-Sparta displays & proclamations gave Jeb!, aka “The Smart Brother”, a reason to slither out from the parched remnants of the Florida swamplands he’s done so much to sell off to his corporate backers. As Dave Weigel nicely phrases it:
Noted “Stand Your Ground” Legislation Supporter Endorses Mitt Romney
Jeb Bush could have picked any week to endorse Mitt Romney. This week? Sub-optimal. The reason, though it might get ignored, is contained in this 2005 piece about the “Stand Your Ground” legislation that
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has signed a bill giving residents the right to shoot in self-defense anywhere they feel threatened by would-be assailants.
The bill was signed as the National Rifle Association’s lobbyist, Marion Hammer, looked over Bush’s shoulder.…
Doghouse Riley isn’t impressed, either:
… Listen, you don’t have to tell me that “conservative” has no actual meaning in contemporary American politics, but if you’re obliged to use it anyway, could you do so with some consistency? When people say “Romney will have trouble with conservatives” they mean the red meat, gun-totin’, Jebus-spouting neo-Confederates who make up a third of the party, not “self-described conservative” members of the “conservative” party. This exchanges something approximating “reality” for the more comforting one in which people like John Dickerson don’t have to call those people “nuts”….
[H]e’s Mitt Romney, nobody’s sweetheart, and no liberal except to the knuckle-draggers of his own party. Fifty-one percent, or something approximating that, have repudiated them, at least as regards selection of a national candidate. The same thing happened last time, except last time the “real” “conservatives” had only tax-raisin’ Mike Huckabee to carry the banner; this time they’ve had a half-dozen to chose from, all duds. It’s time to acknowledge that Mitt Romney is the face of the national Republican party, or the face it wishes to show the rest of the country, neatly coiffed, tone-deaf, and vacant behind the eyes, rather than the ravening Bronze Age thinkers who represent 40% of its voters and most of it Congressional representatives. It’s the party which now admits that addled oligarchy, however unpopular, has to run things because that’s preferable to the alternative. Time for the rest of y’all to say so, too.
So, Willard “Mitt” Romney is every conservative’s moderate and every moderate’s conservative — just as Julius Caesar was every women’s husband and every man’s wife. As a Stoic in the classical sense, I am forced to agree with Mr. Charles P. Pierce:
I don’t know about the “Republican establishment” — I’m still not sure there is one — but, apparently, every smart pundit out there is of the opinion that it consists of the Bush family and their assorted hangers-on. This is, of course, despite the fact that, by 2008, C-Plus Augustus had turned the family brand into the political equivalent of a fast-food restaurant called Long John Salmonella. And let’s not forget the fine work that Jebby did as governor of Florida, meddling in the death of Terri Schiavo and developing such a warm relationship with the state’s various minority communities that they were sitting in at his office by his second year as governor.
The one thing that Jeb Bush’s endorsement does do is fairly well put to bed the lunatic speculation that he might mount a bid of his own. Was the country really prepared to take another chance on the Bush family? Even on The Smart One? Now, though, it has become plain that, by electing Willard Romney, the country will be electing something of a Bush manque — the third term of the Avignon Presidency. (I know. The link is to the blazing heart of Wingnuttia, but who are you going to believe on a story like this one?) Is it possible that there burns in the souls of the former Bush administration flunkies the desire to avenge their boss’s memory through the use of Mitt Romney to defeat the man who was elected in 2008 as the living embodiment of the country’s revulsion at the previous eight years, whether he was comfortable in that role or not? Remember, the entire campaign of George W. Bush was in some measure an act of revenge against the administration that had turned Poppy out in 1992. I put nothing past these people.