Palin & Romney: Heart & Head? More Like, Heart & Soul…less

Matt Lewis wrote a thoughtful piece about the Republican party and what the two leaders mean for the future of the party:

The most often repeated template is for Republicans to select the person whose “turn” it is to run for president. That’s how the Grand Old Party opted for Richard Nixon, John McCain, Bob Dole — and even George H.W. Bush. The other, less frequently employed model, says: “If you’re going to send up a long shot candidate anyway —perhaps a ‘sacrificial lamb’ — why not go with your heart?” That’s how the GOP chose conservative firebrand Barry Goldwater as its standard-bearer in 1964, a decision that guaranteed a landslide victory for Democrats.

Today, the perfunctory, “next in line” theory suggests that the most likely GOP nominee will be former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. While Romney dropped-out of the 2008 campaign earlier than Mike Huckabee, most conservatives concede that Romney finished in secondplace — and that is certainly the view held by the McCainiacs. So, by the logic that led to the nominations of McCain and Dole, it’s Romney’s turn. Even if rank-and-file conservatives find him less than perfect concede that he’s paid his dues.

But what about the other model? Who is this year’s Goldwater — and, just maybe, our Reagan? Who is the person movement conservatives really want? It sure ain’t Mike Huckabee. And it might be Sarah Palin.

Further, he says this [and yes, I’m heavily quoting, go read the whole thing]:

With three years to go, predictions are a risky business. Palin may not even run. And perhaps someone such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will emerge as the conservatives’ darling. If recent elections are any guide, the Republicans’ heads will tell them to choose Mitt Romney. Their hearts whisper something else. Is “Sarah” the name of this siren song?

There is an implication in this analysis that nominating Romney would be a “smart” thing. I would suggest, that is false. Mitt Romney, it should be remembered, lost to John McCain. Anyone who lost to John McCain should be discounted, in my opinion. John McCain was a weak and flawed candidate and everyone knew it. The Republican primary voters felt that the other candidates were weaker and/or more flawed.

Voting for Mitt Romney in 2012 would not only be not using one’s head, it would be outright stupid. Sure, he’s got the economic turnaround thing going, but he has the look and feel of someone a person just can’t trust. He is, dare I say it, unelectable. And everyone, but the most devoted Romney-ites knows it.

As for Sarah Palin being the luring conservative temptress, bidding the GOP to crash into the shoals of death, pain and panic…now, that is wrong, too. While the verdict is still out on Sarah Palin, she could be a very good or a very bad choice. How can anyone know that yet?

Sarah Palin has to delineate herself from not only McCain’s policies, she has to define herself as a Republican. Or is she going really rogue and starting her own party? We’ll find out soon enough.

Right now, I don’t think Romney makes sense on any level. Really, I can’t think of one Republican candidate for president who would be a good choice. But it is early yet. Strange times can lead to stranger candidates. These are strange times.

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