The GOP’s Best Case/Worst Case

October 31st, 2011 at 12:09 pm David Frum | 62 Comments |

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In my column for CNN, I discuss how the Tea Party will react to the different possible outcomes of the 2012 election:

A new CNN poll finds that about half of Republicans sympathize with the tea party movement. The other half either remain aloof or (5%) even express hostility.

That second group of Republicans has received remarkably little media attention this cycle. Yet their man — Mitt Romney — has held steady in first or second place for the past three years. Meanwhile tea party Republicans have bounced from Sarah Palin to Donald Trump to Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry to (now) Herman Cain, transfixing the media every time they lose faith in one messiah and search for another.

Yet sooner or later, the tea party Republicans must converge on a single choice. When they do, they will present the non-tea party Republicans with a troubling menu of possibilities.

Possibility 1: Romney is nominated, Romney is elected.

From the point of view of non-tea party Republicans, this is the ideal outcome of the 2012 election. Yet it is also an outcome that looks worryingly out of reach. As we enter the final 12 months of the election countdown, Romney still cannot rise above 30% support in his own party. Worse, while it’s easy to imagine (say) Herman Cain’s voters shifting to Rick Perry or vice versa, it is very hard to imagine where Mitt Romney will find the additional Republican votes he needs.

Possibility 2: Romney is nominated, Romney loses.

For non-tea party Republicans, this second outcome opens all kinds of ugly, ominous possibilities. If candidate Romney loses, tea party Republicans will claim that the GOP lost because it failed to nominate a “true conservative.” That claim may fly in the face of political math (how would a more extreme candidate win more votes?), but it will pack a lot of emotional punch. Intense partisans are always ready to believe that the way to win is to be moreintense and more partisan. Back-to-back losses under John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 will open the way to an ultra-conservative nominee in 2016 — and a true party debacle.

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62 Comments so far ↓

  • indy

    I see the generic ballot just switched over from Republicans to Democrats for the first time since 2009. My question is this: if the tea-party candidate can’t win in the current economic climate, when can he/she win?

  • Watusie

    The Tea Party is a symptom. Flight from reality & rational thinking is the actual problem. Conservatism failed, spectacularly, 2001-2008. The response has been to pretend that everything was fine and dandy until January 2009. History repeats itself tragedy farce etc. etc.

    • overshoot

      The response has been to pretend that everything was fine and dandy until January 2009.

      Not universally. You also run into the “Democrats controlled Congress, therefore it’s their fault” and “GW Bush was a RINO” excuses to name just two.

      When you argue from the Truth to the facts that are necessary to support it, nothing can change your mind.

      • grayarea

        How does this explain spending $3000 Billion on illegally invading Iraq when you have budgeted $80 Billion? exporting all your jobs to China, and forcing your people to be dependent on foreign oil when your strength is cutting edge technology that could satisfy your own needs. The issue really is, how has the GOP managed to get people to vote against their own interests, “What is the problem with Kansas?”

    • grayarea

      Spot on. The reality that the Neocon Age was treason is so humiliating, our survival instinct kicks in, cognitive dissonance takes over and we blame someone who is very different from us. In a subconscious way, the GOP managed to dodge responsibility by not having McCain. Imagine if he had won, how would they have been able to separate 2009 from the previous decade. Enter stage left BH Obama. As the great modern American Philosopher HJ Simpson said, “blame the guy who can’t speak English”, so sure he can speak but he doesn’t look like us and seeing is believing.

  • Southern Populist

    The chance that Romney won’t be the nominee is close to zero. These polls mean little this far out. Romney is going to win NH with ease. The results in Iowa and SC mean little too. Romney will then march to victory with Tea Party support. Even though Romney is not their first choice, they still want to win. This is obvious, or should be. The rallying cry will be “anyone but Obama.”

    • Watusie

      AKA the Mitch McConnell slogan – the good of the country is a secondary consideration relative to the tribe’s visceral need to inflict a personal defeat on Barack Obama.

    • Rich T Bikkies

      But Romney won’t get the White House. In a normal Republican field in normal times (we have neither of these, to put it euphemistically) he’d have got trampled underfoot after one month’s campaigning. Obama will marmalise him – in spades, redoubled, vulnerable. Only in comparison with the Republican freak show he’s running against does Romney look good.

  • Churl

    “Will the Tea Party Doom the GOP?”

    I’m sure it will. A large number of politically active and committed people who agree generally with the principles of a party are certain to ruin that party’s electoral chances.

    • ottovbvs

      Curiously enough this is one of those rare occasions when Churl has it right. This is nonsense…

      “A new CNN poll finds that about half of Republicans sympathize with the tea party movement. The other half either remain aloof”

      What does “aloof” mean? They’re all going to vote the Republican ticket even if it’s a monkey on a stick, in fact it could well be a monkey on a stick but since when was competence or intellect or character of much interest to Republican electors. The obvious best long term option is that they nominate one of the tea party comedians and the entire know nothing far right goes down to catastrophic defeat thereby inducing some sense of reality. However, the most likely outcome is Possibility 2 and the civil war in the GOP continues.

      • Ray_Harwick

        This. That “aloof” jumped out at me, too. I thought, aloof means what **former** Republicans are who can’t even be counted any more as the “50% of Republican who are aloof”. We’re not merely aloof, we’re actively advocating for that catastrophic meltdown of the Republican Party *regardless* of who gets the nomination. In just 8 years I’ve gone from self-identifying as a Republican to wishing I could scrub any positive feeling I’ve **ever** had about them from my memory banks.

        Thank you GWB for bringing me to my senses. I look forward to reading your obituary.

        • ottovbvs

          Ray…you’re the exception. Most of them are going vote Republican even if they think the tea party crowd are satanists.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    it is very hard to imagine where Mitt Romney will find the additional Republican votes he needs.

    That just isn’t true.

    Remember, we know that the Tea Party is the same old conservative Republicans, who lined up behind everything George Bush Jr. did, who feel very mad and sad that the current president isn’t One Of Us. (See: ).

    Because self-identified “conservative Republicans”, like those in the Tea Party, spent so much time and effort applauding & voting for George Bush, we know for a fact that they do not care one iota about policy. Everyone who cared about math and reality knew that we couldn’t afford the Bush fiscal policies, and that our rationale for invading Iraq made no sense whatsoever. The TP/GOP didn’t care. They all flocked to the polls in 2004 for vote for Dick “Deficits Don’t Matter” Cheney.

    That’s because Republicans don’t have policy views. They have a favorite team.

    Sure, Romney’s enduring some potshots at this point. So was McCain, much later on (here’s an article about how much Limbaugh hated McCain, from Feb. 2008: ). It didn’t matter. McCain wound up being the least objectionable candidate to the most voters. It could easily happen for Romney, who is better at raising money, and is blessed with talentless opponents. If Romney’s nominated, Republicans will vote for him, in fear of Kenyan atheist anticolonialist terroristic radical Islam from a radical Christian pastor, just like they did in ’08.

    Remember, in the 1990s, Republicans were constantly filled with fury at President Clinton as he pursued centrist policies and presided over the greatest era of peace, prosperity, and prestige in living memory. Then they all voted for a “compassionate conservative” who went on to bankrupt America and make the world hate us by incompetently invading and occupying a country for no good reason. As Bush Jr. left office, 75 percent of Republicans approved of him. That’s because Republicans don’t care about policy. They have a favorite team.

    Corporate Mormons like Romney may not be exactly One Of Us to the tribalistic GOP base. But they’re more so than Kenyan socialists.

    • more5600

      True dat…

    • medinnus

      The problem is not that they’ll vote for everyone’s favorite Kenyan Socialist, its that with a candidate for the GOP that the base is, at best, lukewarm for, they’re more likely to stay home, and a low voter turnout on the GOP side would be a calamity for their electoral hopes.

  • mannie

    First, in the absence of a extremist third party candidate, I never saw the logic in pandering to your base. Its the middle of the road swing voter you want to win over. The extremists are going to hold their noses and plump for you anyways. So Romney should refrain from any strident adoption of TP policy, and hitch himself to a center-right agenda. Why is he running from Romneycare? The people of Mass love it, and it seems to be working. That is exactly what I want from a politicial. Policy I like at a price I can afford. Romney should be proud of what he did in Mass, instead of cow-towing to the TP puppetmasters.

    • overshoot

      I never saw the logic in pandering to your base. Its the middle of the road swing voter you want to win over.

      First off, most self-described “independents” vote consistently for one party or the other. Especially with open primaries, there’s no real point in belonging to one of the major parties, it just gets you more junk mail.

      Secondly, the closer people are to whatever passes for the center the less likely they are to vote at all. “A plague on both your houses” is a fine excuse, as is “not a dime’s worth of difference.”

      All in all, you can either try to turn the center towards you (good luck) or you can get your base (no question who they will vote for) to turn out. Possibly the biggest lasting influence Ronald Reagan had was proving that you could win landslides by playing to your base rather than the mythical “center.” And it’s been that way ever since for the POG; the Democrats keep punching hippies, which just reinforces the impression that the Republicans are the real thing and Democrats are just “Republican Light.”

      • mannie

        I dident use the term “independent”, I used “swing voters”…those who will vote the candidate and circumstance rather than party affiliation. And I do think they are the ones a candidate should woo. As for the base, getting out the vote rather than influencing the vote seems to be more of an orginizational effort rather than a policy effort.

  • jdd_stl1

    How about if we also look at what the four outcomes would mean
    for the COUNTRY and not just the GOP?

    1. Romney wins nomination and election
    I would assume that if Romney wins, the GOP hold on the House
    would remain intact and perhaps they would gain control of the Senate.
    If this happens will Romney set the agenda or will the Congress?
    Will Romney be a strong leader for the whole country and swing
    back at least a little toward the center or will he be pulled by his
    party to the right?
    If you are scared of the Tea Party destroying the GOP, shouldn’t you
    also be scared of what it will do to the country if the GOP gets control
    off both houses and the WH? If Romney is weak and lets Congress
    control the agenda, will it be much different than having a Tea Party president?

    2. Romney wins nomination and loses election.
    In this case it is hard to imagine the Democrats losing control of the Senate
    and they probably gain back some seats in the House but not a majority.
    Even with McConnell saying the election is a referendum on Obama, if
    Obama wins I expect continued obstruction from the Republicans in
    Congress but perhaps not as bad as recently.
    With this outcome we still won’t see any chance of the Tea Party agenda
    becoming law.

    3. Tea Party candidate wins nomination and loses election
    In this case it is conceivable that the election could be a landslide. I think if
    a Tea Party candidate gets exposed in the general campaign as lacking depth
    and compassion it could get ugly.
    The Democrats still maintain control of the Senate and maybe gain some seats
    but certainly not up to 60. And depending on how bad it gets, who knows what
    happens in the House. Either way, I don’t see the GOP being quite as obstructionist
    as they have been recently, but still some.

    4. Tea Party candidate wins nomination and wins election
    This is actually my nightmare scenario. It is hard to imagine Rick Perry
    winning and the Democrats hanging on to the Senate. I see the Tea Party
    agenda as being disastrous for the country in our current economic state. I really
    don’t think we need more austerity right now and I don’t foresee things being
    a lot better by January 2013. But sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to
    get people to come to their senses. This scenario might just do it.

    So, my bottom line(s)?

    I think there needs to be something in Washington that puts
    the brakes on the hard right movement in the GOP. If that hard right agenda gets
    enacted, I think we are in serious trouble. If the GOP controls Washington,
    do the Senate Democrats become the obstructionists?

    #4 is worst case for the country but it might cause a backlash that would sweep
    the hard right wing of the GOP out in the following two elections.
    #3 might sweep out the hard right wing of the GOP sooner rather than later.
    #2 might empower some growth in partisanship but maybe not
    #1 is almost as scary as #4 because I am just not sure that Romney is strong enough
    to stand up to his own party if hard right wing legislation comes to his desk.

    • elizajane

      I find your #1 scenario rather likely and very dismaying. I think that Romney would be an exceedingly weak president and that the Republican congress would feel empowered by having gotten rid of Obama. Romney would be completely unable to put forth any sort of moderate agenda because he would have zero support from either party in congress. People on the left have often complained of how the congressional Republicans have pushed the agenda rightward in this session, but that will be as nothing compared to what they’ll feel able to do with Romney in the White House.

    • think4yourself

      JD – well written. Here’s my take on those.

      #1 Romney wins general. I think that emboldens the TP and they push Romney around (the House introduces increasingly partisan bills, which Romney tepidly supports). The Dems in the Senate employ the same 60 vote strategy that the GOP has used.

      #2 Romney loses the election. Next 4 years are the same as the last 4. House continues to obstruct and GOP in the Senate requires 60 votes on everything. Very little get’s done, but hopefully it means that bad things also don’t get done.

      #3 TP Candidate loses the election. Doubtful that includes a turnover in the House and 60 Dem vote in the Senate. IF it does – I think the Dems try and push as much as they can through in the next two years while they have a Super Majority. If not, then GOP will continue to be obstructionist (I don’t think there is a place for moderates in the Party. After Obama’s election, we thought there would be but instead, they spent the next two years in opposition rather than in cooperation).

      #4 TP Candidate wins the election. IF that also includes majority in House and Senate, I think the TP throws the kitchen sink against every Democratic idea, especially doing all possible to overturn Roe V. Wade and against gay rights at all levels. GOP will try and enact a version or Ryan’s economic plan, and stack judgeships. GOP will enact protectionist trade barriers and become isolationist, but will also try and kill unions and other traditionally democratic supporters (teachers, lawyers, etc.). If GOP doesn’t have 60 votes in the Senate, the Dems will follow the GOP playbook of the last couple of years.

      In none of the above, do I see a scenario where the parties cooperate to address the nations serious problems.

      • overshoot

        The Dems in the Senate employ the same 60 vote strategy that the GOP has used.

        It only takes a simple majority to change the rules in the Senate, and the next time the POG has three elephants (House, Senate, White House) I don’t think they’ll take the chance of letting the opposition get in the way of their agenda.

      • laingirl

        I feel sure we will have a Supreme Court retirement (justice Ginsburg) during the next presidential term. Adding another conservative judge to the SC would be a terrible occurrence under either #1 or #4. I intend to vote for President Obama for several reasons, but would for that reason alone.

    • Graychin

      “How about if we also look at what the four outcomes would mean for the COUNTRY and not just the GOP?”

      Hold it right there! That’s thinking WAY, WAY outside the Republican box. The Prime Directive is to defeat the Hated Kenyan. Everything else is secondary: jobs, the economy, infrastructure, schools, getting troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan…

      More tax cuts for the wealthy is a close second.

  • Houndentenor

    Maybe we need for the GOP to take control, do what they always promised, and let those right-wingers see what it’s really like. Everyone I know who is of this political bent works for the government, works for a government contractor (no other client but the government), is on disability or other assistance or on social security/medicare. So let the GOP take over and cut all that out and see how they like it. It would suck for the rest of the country but it’s what it would take. It’s the only way to shake people from their cognitive dissonance.

    • FosterBoondoggle

      “We have to destroy the country in order to save it.” That wasn’t very convincing in Vietnam, either.

      Just look around if you want to see the damage that another GOP lock on government could inflict. Only this time it’ll be even worse because the GOP has stopped pretending to any “compassion” in its conservatism. It’ll be party time for the 1%, bread lines and barter for everyone else.

      • Houndentenor

        What I said is never going to happen. The GOP leadership (like the Democrats) make promises they know they can’t and won’t ever keep. It’s just not going to happen. I just get frustrated when people who would starve without government contracts or assistance moan about how we need to cut spending. They just don’t get it. A shock of reality would do them some good. They see other people as wasting taxpayer money and their own handouts as necessities. I have to vent that frustration somewhere. It wasn’t as if I suggested Democrats vote for a Tea Partier to make that happen. *shudder*

  • Hunter01

    It is strange, and obviously more totemic than it should be, that Democrats stand for economic rationality in this moment of crisis while Republicans stand only for animus toward Democrats. Frum’s twisted posts, one after another, wherein he begs his fellow Republicans to return to sanity and follow the lead of the Democrats (whom he slanders for proffering good ideas), are evidence sufficient for anyone with eyes open.

  • ompus

    Frum observes that the tea party platform is a formula for political and economic crisis. I agree.

    What scares me, however, is that I am hearing the call for ‘creative destruction’ on an increasingly regularly basis. Over the weekend, I heard otherwise sane, sensible people explain that a 25% drop in GDP is the ‘medicine’ we need to take if we are ever going to grow the economy. To these folk, the failure to balance the budget (without raising taxes) simply ‘kicks the can down the road.’

    • NRA Liberal

      You’d think that people on the right would think twice about that kind of Leninist tactic. Last time we had creative destruction, the New Deal got created.

    • Rich T Bikkies

      That variety of “creative destruction” is exactly the policy adopted by the Communist Party of Great Britain in the late 40s at the start of the Cold War.

      “On the political front a public Cominform statement had at last been issued which made it clear that my colleague’s prophecy that it might be our task deliberately to depress the standard of life of the West in order to assist the East was an accurate forecast.

      “The new line, laid down clearly enough in that statement, was at last solemnly discussed by the Party executive and, of course, adopted without dissent.”

      p247, “I Believed. The Autobiography of a Former British Communist”, Douglas Hyde. (Heinemann, London, 1950).

      But one crucial difference: the CPGB has never in its history had a wax cat in hell’s chance of running Britain.

  • Graychin

    “…if the voters are determined to fire the incumbent, then even a weak challenger can prevail. (See Barack Hussein Obama, 2008 candidacy of.)


    No doubt America was ready to fire the incumbent (George W. Bush) in 2008, for good reason. Did any president’s administration close on such a horrid note?

    But are you saying that Obama was a weak challenger? Weak in comparison to Candidate John McCain?

    Did you watch a different election than everyone else did? Or is this just your obligatory swipe at Obama that appears in every one of your columns?

    • more5600

      How exactly does one fire (vote of our office) an incumbent who is not on the ballot?

    • rockyfromdixie

      Grey….I am too. Anyway, couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t see how Frum completely discounts the possibility…..

  • ottovbvs

    On a more serious note who put the rat poison down for Cain? Rove? Romney? Perry? Frum?

    • think4yourself

      Good question. The Dems are getting the blame, but seems to me that Obama’s team would rather run against Cain than Romney or Perry. Cain has less access to party money, cancels out the racists who vote for the GOP because they won’t vote for a black man, plus he has policy issues and (apparently) skeletons in the closet.

      BTW, his argument that if the organization he was head of paid women off and he didn’t know about is just about the worst argument I can think of. Either he is (a) lying about that (which is what really happened) or (b) he was so not in control that his underlings did a payoff of which he neither knew of or supported.

      Lastly, I don’t watch Fox, but last night saw Ann Coulter blame this on the Dems and how they hate black men who are Conservative and as evidence listed this, Clarence Thomas and Michael Steele as examples of black men that Dems have tried to destroy. Really, Michael Steele? Didn’t the GOP throw him over (AND he went to MSNBC!) because he was ineffective, an embarassment and didn’t do the job that he promised the GOP he would do? But somehow that was the Liberals fault.

      • ottovbvs

        The democrats are being blamed by Coulter and similar. Do birds fly, fish swim?

    • elizajane

      Rove, or possibly a Perry operative. Romney is not actually worried about Cain. Perry stands to gain the most from any damage to the Cain campaign. Rove is just beside himself to see a brand he helped to form be messed with by somebody he can’t take seriously.

      • ottovbvs

        I disagree. Perry’s campaign and Bachmanns are collapsing. Where’s the first stop for their votes? Not Romney. They are going to gravitate to Cain, therefore Cain must be damaged. Not that hard to figure out really. I suspect it’s not Romney’s campaign (who wouldn’t want their fingerprints on it) that tipped off Politico but one of these shadowy business funded groups and my money is on Rove’s.

    • Clayman

      Looks like Rove’s fingerprints on the rat poison jar.

  • Argy F

    I’ve come to believe that although the words coming out of the mouths of these political actors might seem different (in timbre and nuance) – what they stand for is surprisingly similar.

    Very, very little difference between Romney, Obama, Perry, Palin, Biden, et al.
    All 1%-ers and as such will all serve the same master.

    Regardless of WHO gets elected the trend for the top 1% to increase their portion of the pie is GUARANTEED. In 4 years- check out the charts. At that time you won’t be able to say you’re surprised.

    Therefore, this thread is only of consequence to those who care whether the moniker “Democrat” or “Republican” precede the names of the ones elected.

    • more5600

      You act as if income disparity is the only issue, some of us care about the privatization of Social Security, the cutting of Medicare, the re-institution of DADT, the nationalization of DOMA, the end of legalized abortion. Must be nice to live in a one dimensional world but there are reasons not to accept your premise that elections in the US have no consequences.

    • think4yourself

      Argy, I disagree. There is a big difference between the candidates. Certainly Romney is for the 1% being one himself. Cain wants to be considered one, but a look at his financial disclosure shows he isn’t. I think Perry is one, but hides as religious TP. I don’t think that Bachmann man is one, she is evangelical through and through and the 1% could care less about God, unless He is putting money in their pockets. I don’t think Ron Paul is a 1% supporter (Don’t see many Wall Street types ready to “end the Fed”).

      Obama is not. Yes, he’ll give the 1% what they want, but it is in exchange for something for 99%. He is the only one proposing a tax increase on the 1% and he was the one that pushed through healthcare for the 99%.

      And, as Moore said, there is more to a Presidential candidate then how they help the rich line their pockets. Foriegn policy, DOMA, environment, abortion, etc. These are not 1% issues.

    • rockyfromdixie

      Argyle – You should really consider getting your 99% together(I’m not one because I’m of the 53%) and form a new political party. Call it the Socialist Party or something like it. Then, get some of the “99%ers” on a ballot and go vote for them. Or, you could get your 99% friends to join with many other like thinkers the Democratic Party. There’s a good chance you could get Frum involved. He and Obama are Yale alum. buddies. Good luck!

  • NRA Liberal

    Perry is not a Tea Party candidate, except in the superficial cultural trappings (which, admittedly, are what count with a lot of people.)

    As far as substance goes, he’s another GWB–the man whose failures and crony capitalism ostensibly drove the puritans of the TeaOP to purge their party.

    “…The tea party stands for a series of propositions that don’t meet the reality test: that deficits matter more than jobs, that cutting deficits and tightening credit will accelerate economic growth, that high taxes and over-regulation are the most important reasons that growth has not revived, and that America still offers the world’s best opportunity for the poor to rise. …”

    The entire Republican Party stands for these propositions. For some reason, you, Frum, an odd duck, persist in calling yourself Republican despite disbelieving them.

    • rockyfromdixie

      NRA I’ve got to give you credit… a duck that calls himself a duck is not always a duck..Frum is one of the reasons the Republican Party got to where it is. By being big on spending. G.W. really knew how to choose ‘em!

  • GGRaider

    The current state of the GOP is reminiscent of the the Democrats problems in the 80′s. While doing well in congressional elections, the Democrats struggled in presidential elections because the extreme flank of the party was excercising an inordinate amount of control and it had pulled the party too far to the left. Similarly, the Tea Party has done the same to the Republicans. The best option for the GOP to correct itself is to nominate a Tea Party candidate and lose BADLY. Kind of like Mondale in ’84 and Dukakis in ’88. In the ashes of those losses was born the Democratic Leadership Council from whence came the moderate, Bill Clinton.

    • NRA Liberal

      Your analysis is on the right track, but a closer analogy for today’s GOP would be the Democratic Party that nominated McGovern. Mondale and Dukakis were steps on the road back from the McGovern days, on the way to Clinton and Obama, who are farther to the right than old-school Republicans like Nixon.

      In other words, the Tea Party’s time in the wilderness is just beginning.

    • rockyfromdixie

  • redpetunia

    Don’t you think that there is a huge number of people who have forgotten that the Tea Party was about economics? For many it now simply means the religious right.

    I wish there was still a consensus of financial conservatives. And I don’t think conservative means a flat tax. In this economy the world needs a steady move to financial sanity, not big tax experiments that will lead to long fights in Congress with nothing getting done.

    Mitt Romney is the only real conservative, the others want to force some kind of imaginary Utopian taxless society!

    There is a lot of the Republican party who are just in dreamland, but when they wake up they will back Romney. He is the only man in American with a plan to get us past this.

  • ottovbvs

    “He is the only man in American with a plan to get us past this.”

    Since Romney’s plan seems to change by the day which plan are you going for?

  • baw1064

    Shorter Frum: I’d prefer a President Romney, but that’s not going to happen, so I’ll endorse Obama’s re-election against whichever flake the Tea Party decides on.

    • Graychin

      I’ll be really, really surprised if DF endorses Obama – against anyone.

      It’s all about electing Republicans.

  • rockyfromdixie

    David, David, David your out of touch with reality. America has had enough of slick talking politicians. Mr. Obama has completely broken any trust. A non-politician such as Mr.Cain could overwhelm the popular vote. To completely dismiss the possibility is either an aloofness or disconnect on your part. He will be included on state primary ballots you know. Is there not a chance he invigorate the conservatives, garner a percentage of minorities, split the independents and make the ticket. With Mr. Obama’s performance, anyone could beat him. Especially a non-politician..

  • indy

    Well I was hoping the RNC rule change that barred winner-take-all delegate primaries until April 1 was going to make this primary a great one to watch but there are obviously loop holes in the rule since Florida is being allowed to make their’s a winner-take-all.

    Anyone with any sense ought to see what is going on here. The outcome of the primary is being preordained by whatever tactics necessary. Frum is probably happy to see that at least that some remnant of the KGB arm of the party is still alive and kicking.

    • ottovbvs

      “Frum is probably happy to see that at least that some remnant of the KGB arm of the party is still alive and kicking.”

      Of course it is and now it’s been offshored since these private, secret organisations like the one run by Rove are taking in far more money than the GOP. There was a piece in the NYT the other day reporting that the RNC had handed over responsibility for it’s voter roll keeping and analysis operation to one of these groups. These groups are quite happy to use tea party types as cannon fodder but they’re scared they might nominate a candidate like Cain who is going to do all sorts of down ticket damage which is why at the end of the day Romney is the default candidate. And you’re entirely right they will rig the process to achieve that outcome. They’d probably have entertained Perry but once it became apparent what an inept campaigner he was that was the end of him and since Christie and none of the other white hopes were willing to step forward it returned them to the default position. With Cain gaining traction and quite possibly likely to win early primaries as the Perry, Bachmann candidacies collapsed he had to be stopped and he probably has been. Whether this provokes a revival of Perry or the re-emergence of Newt who knows. What is clear is that 70% of the base can’t stand the default candidate. If he’s the nominee they’ll vote for him but without much enthusiasm and I certainly don’t see Rove producing the 62 million he got to turn out for Bush in ’04. It’s hard to make reliable predictions in politics but ultimately a Romney candidacy is probably long term bad news for the GOP because it just prolongs the civil war. Frum and the establishment are making a big mistake they’d be better off letting the loonies have their way and using it as a cleansing experience so that the GOP can tack back to the center.

      • indy

        I absolutely agree and the loons are going to be even madder when Romney is nominated and he loses which I think at the moment is entirely likely. It’ll be just like after 2008 but on steroids. These folks aren’t just going to give up. They won’t give up even if they do get their candidate nominated and he is crushed in a general.

        As entertaining as I find it on some days, I am much more frequently disheartened by what a horrible state of affairs it is for the country. The GOP is entirely at fault for the damage but we all pay the price.

  • mannie

    I dont know what Mr. Frum and the rest of you think, but all I hear coming out of Mitt Romney’s mouth is very confused jibberish.

    • Sinan

      I feel the same way about the entire field of Republicans. Every time they open their mouths I sense that they are living in a land of make believe. Suspended rationality may make a great theme for a science fiction plot but it’s not a great way to pick a POTUS>