The media and the entrenched wing of the Republican Party have decided that Mitt Romney will be the nominee for 2012. No others need apply. This may be part of the “it’s his turn” sentiment of the party, but that could apply to Sarah Palin as well. That rule gets confusing, too. Mitt lost the nomination in 2008 and it went to McCain who lost the nomination in 2000. Bush 41 won as an appendage of Ronald Reagan and lost on his own record in 1992. Ronald Reagan himself got pretty screwed by the party. He ran in 1968 as a Goldwater Republican, then lost to one of the most shameful presidents in history, who lost the general election in 1960. But I guess it was Nixon’s turn. Reagan then lost the nomination to one of the most embarrassing presidents in history, who won because he was Nixon’s appointed Vice President, then pardoned him. Only George W. Bush bucked the trend of paying dues and he got two terms. Losing the presidential race does not qualify you to be president.
Still, a win is a win. The Republicans have won a lot of elections with retreads. The Romney strategy was likely formulated in the summer of 2008. McCain would choose someone like Joe Lieberman for vice president, get outspent beyond belief and lose a couple of big swing states. In the next two years, Democrats would spend like crazy and the Republicans would win enough Senate seats for a proper filibuster. The Democrats would keep the House and taxes would get raised. Then Romney rolls in as the only alternative to a Democratic president and Congress on a conservative platform of economic sanity.
But a funny thing happened on the way to 2012. People got tired of waiting for the political parties to save them. They found allies in the decimated Republican Party and turned the House red. In turn, the Republicans didn’t seem to know how to use them for their purposes. Now, those same people looking to green-light Romney are scared of the Tea Party wing they relied on in 2010because they seem to shift from candidate to candidate and never settle
for on Mitt Romney.
The GOP contenders have either disparaged the Tea Party, (Huntsman) tried to bend them to their agenda (Bachmann) or pandered to them when possible (the others). Only one prominent Republican has gotten what the Tea Party is about from Day 1. That’s Sarah Palin.
Bachmann, Cain and to some extent Perry have been stalking horses for Palin. They rise and fall depending on how badly they fit the mold. I still don’t know why Palin isn’t running, but I suspect it may have to do with the Republican nomination more than the general election. She could easily get 40% to Romney’s 25% and take a number of delegates. Then there would be a convention fight which she would likely lose. If she won, the party insiders have shown in 2010 that they will sit home rather than let a Tea Partier be elected.
Sarah Palin is reloading. If the Tea Party is strong enough to keep victory away from Romney, she will keep her endorsement from him. If he is nominated, she will work to elect enough down ticket Republicans to effectively neuter President Obama. Sometimes it takes a few election cycles before people are ready to nominate the right woman.