Monday, January 14, 2008

The falling stock of Mitt Romney

At this point, I think it's fair to say that the Great White Hope of Mitt Romney has failed to materialize. It's still plausible that he will be the Republican nominee for President. But if he is, then he won't win, and cannot reestablish the GOP as a competitive conservative vehicle after he's gone.

The reasons for this are pretty simple really. There's just too many people who smell him as a snake-oil salesman. This compounds his structural problems of Massachusetts and Mormonism. Add it all up and it's just too much headwind to overcome. But to a substantial extent even the reasons don't really matter. Mitt Romney has run a hard, disciplined, energetic campaign, with the best organization of any of the candidates. Nonetheless, a substantial number of base conservatives have rejected him, even to the point of selecting hairshirt John McCain over him.

At this point, there are only two decent outcomes for the GOP, and both of them are only barely plausible. The first is nominate Fred Thompson, whose candidacy is on life support, but who is campaigning in South Carolina and is said to have some momentum there. The other one is to nominate John McCain, _with_ the stipulation that he governs as an independent and does not attempt to control or speak for the conservative movement or GOP apparatus. Sorta like if the GOP nominated nobody but endorsed John McCain running as an independent.

But what's at least as bad is that the GOP lacks for ideas at least as much as it does for candidates. More on that soon.

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