A successful last-minute Republican candidate. Or, of course, that perennial media fantasy, the brokered convention.
The big problem with Silver’s analysis is that it just uses polling data to tell us what we already know: Romney isn’t very popular among the Republican base, and there was a huge opportunity for an orthodox conservative to surpass him. But this doesn’t change the fact that this theoretical alternatives didn’t want to run, and in the extraordinarily unlikely event that one changed his mind now filing deadlines and delegate math preclude a successful run anyway. And once a frontrunner emerges, especially with a Democratic incumbent that candidate will become acceptable to most of the Republican base.
You know, part of me is tempted to feel a little sorry for little Ricky. While Republican frontrunner status has fluctuated between the barely literate and people on book tours as Uncle Kvetch says he can’t even get any froth going, let alone a bubble. He’s a down-the-line conservative! He can handle things! He’s smart! He wants respect! Then I read stuff like his argument that obesity rates prove we don’t need food stamps, and his attack on Hillary Clinton’s historic speech. And then I remember that, just as Rick Perry has amazingly proven that you can be too stupid to win a Republican nomination, Santorum has proven that it’s possible to be too much of a smarmy asshole to win the Republican nomination.
Herman Cain still not running for president. Some upcoming stops on his book tour will apparently be cancelled.
…Jamelle has the slightly longer version.
OK, I’m pretty much convinced that Pawlenty was hopeless no matter what.
Again, I can’t really blame the campaign journalists for pretending that the GOP nomination race is still a going concern, but for anyone tempted to think that the Union Leader‘s endorsement of man who isn’t running for president Newt Gingrich is a big deal, let’s keep in mind that past endorsees include Steve Forbes and
Pierre Pete DuPont.
I understand horse-race reporters need something to talk about and there does seem to be a surge in the polls, but to say that it’s now a Romney/Gingrich race is just another way of saying that Mittens is inevitable. Although it is impressive in its own way that for weeks Romney has struggled to pull away from two candidates who aren’t even running for president.
If I were a teabagger, I wouldn’t be eager to accept that Romney is inevitable either. But he is inevitable, small groups of dead-enders notwithstanding. Perry was already dead before his latest embarrassment and he was the last chance. You can’t beat something with people who are either politically toxic, not really running for president, or both. I’m grateful to Jon Chait, who allowed me to not actually be the last person to figure this out, but it’s obvious. And when you have a scenario that uses the phrase “brokered convention” you really shouldn’t bother proceeding.
There are two forms of tribalism at work in the immediate Republican defenses of Herman Cain. The first is a desire to protect their vanity candidate, with some shots at the “liberal media” (especially long-defunct listservs that have always yearned to destroy the sun) icing on the cake. The second is an opportunity to argue that sexual harassment, like climate change and racism directed against anybody but wealthy white Republican men, doesn’t exist:
Sexual harassment is now nothing. Welcome to the era of gender harassment denialism. The harassment skeptics claim that harassment, like racism, used to exist but is now over. Twenty years ago, when charges were leveled at Clarence Thomas, supporters of the accused refused to take the accuser seriously. Now supporters of the accused refuse to take the accusation itself seriously. We have gone from not knowing what sexual harassment is to not believing it still happens. All in less than 20 years.
Remember, we don’t know what happened, beyond the fact that several employees came forward with complaints and received cash settlements. That’s not a lot of information. Cain defenders could have stopped there. Instead, great swaths of them have opted to assert that there could never be a valid sex discrimination claim because the whole thing is just a racket. And they went even further: The same folks criticizing the National Restaurant Association employees who came forward with claims that they were uncomfortable in their workplace are willing to deploy the most archaic and gender-freighted stereotypes to get there. Sexual harassment can’t be “real” because the women who claim it are money-grubbing, hysterical, attention-seeking tramps.
It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.
Read the whole thing; alas, it’s not just the Derb.
I think this is correct. In a field that has no logical winner, it seems pretty obvious that the closest thing to an orthodox conservative capable of speaking in complete sentences should have stayed in. (Both McCain and Kerry, after all, didn’t look like they had much of a chance at various points either.) In particular, I agree that (unlike with Huckabee, who Republican money hated) an Iowa win would probably have solved Pawlenty’s fundraising issues, and I think had he stayed in he’d be the frontrunner there. He was a pretty weak candidate, but anybody who could emerge as the alternative to Romney had a shot and with Perry’s implosion he would have been last man standing. As it turned out, things broke perfectly for him; Perry killed Bachmann’s candidacy while being too inept to displace Mittens. He just needed to wait.
…to echo what I’ve said in comments, it’s crucial to remember just how bad the rest of the field is. The nomination is a zero-sum game, and the fact that the base refuses to settle for Romney even if that means temporary embraces of vanity candidates means that the opportunity is there. Pawlenty didn’t have to be good; he needed to be better than Rick Perry.
I remember the first time I tried barleywine. I was really unusually expressive that night…
I’m not going to say, exactly, that this story affects Cain’s chances of getting the nomination. I think this changes them from zero to zero. But it certainly doesn’t help.