It was perhaps the dullest Republican victory party since Herbert Hoover.
Mitt Romney won the Texas primary and with it the national Republican nomination for president. What followed was a victory party that could have been sponsored by Serta and Sominex. No brass bands. No fireworks. No victory speech. Not even a candidate – Romney couldn’t make it.
In the tradition of Calvin Coolidge, he apparently had a warm glass of milk and went to bed.
It is “impossible to think of the GOP race without stifling a yawn,” wrote the editorial staff of the liberal Daily Kos news site.
“To no one’s surprise, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received the final jewel in the crown of his nomination quest on Tuesday — Texas awarded him 97 delegates in Tuesday’s primary,” wrote Jean MacKenzie of the Tucson Sentinel in an article headlined: “Texas primary: The big yawn.”
“You didn’t think you needed a yawn, but,” reported John Dickerson for Slate magazine, “Romney crossed the magic threshold of 1,144 – the number of delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination.”
CBS News, the Huffington Post and a number of other news outlets reported that Romney wasn’t even in Texas for the win, but instead was off wooing Donald Trump, who instead embarrassed him by surfacing more rumors that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is bogus and he’s ineligible to be in office.
Then a day or two later, Solon magazine revealed that Romney was searching for a vice presidential running mate who is “safe and, by design, unexciting — a deliberate anti-Palin.” The prized pick would be, according to an anonymous Romney official: an “incredibly boring white guy.”
An incredibly boring white guy?
Romney won over the Republican establishment by ignoring the passionate urgency of the Tea Partiers. As a counter to the charismatic and charming Barack Obama, he was a candidate whose lack of passion or spontaneity surpassed even that of his father, 1960s perennial presidential hopeful George Romney. Recently, a supporter told Mitt all about her financial woes. “At such a moment, Clinton might have offered her a big bear hug,” reported Stephanie Mencimer for the arch-liberal Mother Jones magazine. “Romney offered her cash, pulling $50 to $60 out of his pocket and thrusting it upon her.”
Instead of wiping a George W. Bush tear from his cheek, Romney “handed a wad of cash” to the woman, reported Emily Friedman for ABC News. “55-year-old Ruth Williams says she had been following the Romney campaign since he arrived in the state on Jan. 11, when she said she received a message from God to track him down.
“I was on the highway praying and said, ‘God just show me how to get [my] lights on,’ and I pulled up to a stop sign and his bus was there,” said Williams, who has been unemployed since last October. “And then God said, ‘Follow the bus,’ and I followed the bus to the airport.
“God didn’t tell me to go to nobody else, he told me to pray for Romney,” said Williams. “I listened to the Lord.”
The rest of conservative America seems to be waiting for a similar word from on high.
Atlanta talk show host Erick Erickson “and other keepers of the conservative flame have been trying for more than a year to muscle Mitt aside in favor of someone – anyone” who wasn’t Mitt Romney, reported Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz. “Now, there is no Plan B left, no savior waiting in the wings. It is a moment of truth for the dead-enders, who have to decide whether to relent and rally around Romney or hang back, even if it means helping Barack Obama win a second term.
“The unrelenting anti-Romney hostility has ruptured the conservative media movement — a movement that has come to define, and in some ways dominate, the modern Republican Party,” wrote Kurtz.
Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, doesn’t hold back when it comes to Romney: “Anything he does, there’s an automatic assumption that it’s the synthetic product of calculation. There’s something lacking at the core.”
“As the alternatives have faded,” continues Kurtz, “Lowry is trying to make peace with the idea of Romney as nominee: ‘If I have to manufacture enthusiasm, I’ll happily do so.’ Yet in the next breath, he frames the choice as ‘a flawed candidate running against a very flawed president.’
Another conspicuous holdout is Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, who does not disguise his distrust of Romney. Radio host Laura Ingraham openly questions whether Romney can beat Obama. Rush Limbaugh, writes Kurtz, “has played golf with the candidate but tells listeners, ‘Romney is not a conservative … He comes across as the prototypical rich Republican.’”
“Romney’s nomination has basically been inevitable since, oh, 2008ish,” writes New York magazine’s Noreen Malone. “But no one in his party has ever seemed particularly enthused about it, leading to the line-’em-up and knock-’em-down Cinderella stories of the GOP primary season, and the wishful thinking about late entrances from Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels.”
“Was Romney the worst of the Republican candidates this year?” asks Rick Bayan of the Moderate Voice. “Of course not; his competition was, for the most part, a procession of jaw-droppingly shallow and maladroit aspirants to the American throne. But let me say this much in their favor: as right-wing Christian populists, at least the Rick Perrys, Michele Bachmanns and Herman Cains could truthfully say they represented more than one percent of the population.
“So was Romney the best candidate the GOP could have produced? No again,” writes Bayan. “Romney is the kind of moderate who gives moderates a bad name. He waffles, he flip-flops, he tailors his utterances to the audience whose votes he needs at the moment – even going as far as to distance himself from his own healthcare reforms as governor of Massachusetts. In short, as Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland, California, ‘There’s no there there.’ This purported centrist lacks a center, a core of principle and conviction beneath the slick veneer of his ‘whatever works’ operating style.”
Will Republicans rally around their candidate?
“The two general election candidates are Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama,” writes Eric Golub in the Washington Times. “America will finally have the anticipated election between two people with vastly contrasting styles. Mitt Romney wants to cut taxes for everybody. Mitt Romney has a successful track record as a private investor. Mitt Romney will drill for oil on domestic public land.
“Mitt Romney will continue the George W. Bush interrogation methods that save lives. Mitt Romney saved the Olympics. Mitt Romney does not drink alcohol. Mitt Romney wants the stock market to be a free enterprise system. Mitt Romney will defend the Second Amendment. Mitt Romney has a 25 year track record of success in the public and private sectors. Mitt Romney supports freedom.
“The choice is crystal clear, and thanks to Texas, official. The future of America is at stake, and Mitt Romney is the Republican choice for President.”