In what you might regard as an unhealthy sign for Mitt Romney’s
campaign prospects, conservatives have turned to debating the question
of who is to blame for nominating this man in the first place.
Arch-conservatives Erick Erickson
and Ben Domenech
blame the moderate establishment for foisting Romney upon the base; relative moderates Ross Douthat
and Daniel Larison
blame the conservatives. Oddly, nobody seems interested in claiming credit for Romney’s nomination.
The case for
Romney, such as it is, falls to his anonymous advisers, who tell Politico
that he is a brilliant and wonderful man but sadly bad at politics:
Being terrible at running for office sounds like a pretty serious drawback for a presidential nominee!
So, anyway, whose idea was it to nominate Romney? The basic
answer is: nobody’s. It’s true that Romney managed to persuade many
conservative activists to support him during, and in the immediate
aftermath of, his 2008 campaign. But by 2010, conservatives had moved
farther right and left Romney behind. It’s not as if the Establishment
were pining away for him, either. Most mainstream Republicans spent the
cycle pining away for another candidate to jump into the race.
The real split during the primary occurred between conservatives
who reluctantly fell behind Romney because they had no alternative
(which is to say, the alternatives were such characters as Michele
Bachmann, comatose Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick
Santorum) and those who were willing to support one or all of those
characters rather than Romney. Nobody, except Jennifer Rubin and Matt
Drudge, actually displayed any real enthusiasm for the man. He won by
default. And yes, he is turning out to be a below-average candidate, but
almost surely superior to any of the alternatives who actually ran
against him, and perhaps Republicans should recognize that the
fundamentals made Obama at least a moderate favorite to win all along.
Meanwhile, in perhaps the cruelest dagger yet, Fox News
has joined the left-wing media conspiracy by releasing a poll showing
Obama leading Romney by five points among likely voters. The good folks
who have applied their unique interpretive methodology to public
polling to find Romney leading in a route, work their magic to remove
the pro-Obama bias from the Fox News poll and find that as a result …
Obama leads by two points. Either Romney is really, truly, behind even
in the unskewed
polls, or the liberal polling conspiracy has
penetrated not only Fox News but unskewedpolls.com itself. It's not
clear which explanation is more grim.