I awoke yesterday to the news that Mitt Romney was dropping out of the Presidential race for the GOP nomination. While some had certainly hoped for this to happen following Tuesday’s results, I for one did not. I fully expected Mitt and Huckabee to stay in until at least March 5th, the day after Texas and Ohio go to the polls. While Mitt didn’t have a realistic chance of catching McCain, I figured he’d stay in to show what he could bring to a ticket, or at least what his support would be worth. I guess I figured wrong.
Mitt gave what was in essence his concession speach at the CPAC convention in DC, mere hours before John McCain was to take the stage. Catching the rerun of the speach later on, this was perhaps Mitt’s best speach ever. He hit all the right notes, and made the right gestures. This was one heck of a swan song for this year. If he had made presentations like this through out his campaign, he might not have had to give this one at all.
This will make the coming few weeks rather interesting. Mike Huckabe says he will stay in. I expect him to draw better than he would normally in a few places, but I do expect McCain to runaway with things now. Huck, while a likeable guy, is not a guy who can run the table against McCain. Nor can he do well enough to force a brokered convention. For all intents and purposes, John McCain is now the GOP nominee.
What I found most intriguing was what Mitt stated as his reasons for dropping out. This was what caught my attention, when he said he didn’t want to have the sacrafices we’ve made in Iraq be for nothing, and to allow time for the party to unite behind McCain and to win in November. While he may still be playing for the VP slot, this was a class move on his part, not only in recognizing the damage that could be done had he stayed in to the end, but that somethings trascend the usual ideological back and forth. Now if we can just get the talk radio nimrods to listen to that message as well. I won’t hold my breath though.
So this left John McCain to follow up on that. It was going to be hard enough for John given his past history with some of the big wigs involved with CPAC, but after Mitt’s swan song, it was going to take a lot for Mac to get the full spot light. Well, he didn’t grab it all to himself, but I think he did enough to assure many in attendence. For a break down of Mac’s CPAC speach, with analysis form a Romney supporter, read Ed Morrissey’s entry here at the Captain’s Quarters.
Now Mac is not going to win over the talk radio “conservatives.” That’s pretty much a given as they aren’t even interested in uniting the party, or even conservatives. Instead they promulgating a purge of the “ideologically unsound,” or at least trying to. They are putting their ideology over the good of the nation. They have gone so far as to say better to let Hillary or Obama ruin the country to “punish” not only the GOP, but the American public in general.
I have to ask, what purpose does this serve? Do they honestly think that having Hillary or Obama in the White House for four years will cause a big enough back lash that the country will turn against them? That’s rather unrealistic at best, and down right fantasy at worst. Is dividing the GOP, and splitting the vote a worth while endeavor? All that will do is conistently hand the Democrats election victory after election victory, year after year. I know, I’ve seen it. It happened here in NY, and now talk radio wants it to happen nation wide. No thanks.
You see, back in 1990, the NY GOP split over the goubenatorial nomination. The party structure went with Pierre Rinfret, a Canadian that was imported for the race. This left out the popular, conservative candidate Herb London. Herb got so incensed at the party, that he took the nomination of the Conservative party and ran anyway. The sitting governor at the time was Mario Cuomo (remember him), and he was very vulnerable. So when it came to election day, the GOP vote was split, and Mario was returned to office. He should have gone down in defeat, as the totals for London and Rinfret easilly topped what Mario got by a wide margin.
The party recovered slightly four years later with George Pataki. Three terms later, we have next to nothing. Oh it began before that, the whole Rudy dropping out of the Senate race against Hillary, forcing Rick Lazio into the spotlight unprepared, the squabble over who would get the nod to run against Spitzer, the losses in the Assembly and Senate, not to mention the Congressional losses. We’ve been left with no real leadership, no charismatic public figures, and no sense of unity. And this is what talk radio and “real” conservtives want for the GOP nation wide.
We’re suffering under a sleezey governor, outrageous property taxes, a failing economy, all because the talking heads prevailed over the rank and file. And there is no hope in sight at the moment. My hope is that John McCain, who has real appeal here in NY, will energize some people to take a more active stance, not only in the party, but to seek out public office. There are several congressional districts that the GOP could take, if we can get someone with just a bit of drive, and is not the same old staid entrants.
Even if it’s some of the same old people, a McCain candidacy will bring out voters here in NY, and they will vote for the Republican candidates for Congress to help support Mac. This could be key in retaking on congressional seat, and taking away another. Even if Mac loses in November, we could still take several congressional seats away from the Democrats, preventing a “super majority” in either the House or the Senate. That alone will be worth the effort.
So I ask, no I plead, with the hard liners dead set against Mac to see some reason, and not sabotage his candidacy or his chances at winning in November. It’s not just about ideological purity. It’s not about punishing the GOP. It’s about doing what is best for the American nation. And if you really think that 4 years of either Hillary or Obama would be good, then switch parties and vote for them.