The Last Republican

As I ponder the coming train wreck that future generations will record as the general election of 2012, I’m left wondering what will become of the Republican Party. As I write this, the odds in favor of Mitt Romney becoming the presidential nominee are pretty steep, as are the odds that his campaign will be a John McCain redux. If this happens, Barack Obama will be re-elected and, in my humble opinion, the GOP will likely implode. Mitt Romney will have the dubious distinction of being the last presidential candidate ever nominated by the Republican Party.

Thus Geoffrey Norman in the American Spectator:

When you think about this election — and you must, there is no escaping it — you wonder if it is not just the same old, same old. Is this just another “most important election of our lifetimes,” or something, actually, a little more important than that? Is it business as usual or are we entering a pre-revolutionary phase of history when, soon, nothing will be the same again?

Who knows? But to ask the question is to point out how unfit Mr. Romney may be to lead during these times.

To begin with, he has never given any indication that he even understands, or appreciates, the mood of these days. You can listen to Mr. Romney debate or speak for hours (some have, poor souls) and never get the feeling that he senses the fear, the uncertainty, and the outright dread that is loose in the land. People, millions of them, are not merely frightened; they are terrified.

Mr. Romney’s message of assurance?

“I’ll fix things. Trust me, I’m a businessman.”

An example of Mitts’s insouciance would be that line about how the health care mandate isn’t something to “get angry about.”

Nah. Geeze, man. Chill.

And on the existential (sorry, only word that will do) choices about just how much government the nation can afford and how much debt it can endure (or visa versa), Romney has never exhibited the slightest sign that he appreciates what a big deal it is. Nothing, he seems to believe, to get your knickers in a twist over. He’ll fix it. He’s a businessman.

Mr. Romney has captured the Republican flag and will carry it into battle this Fall. If he loses, those people who believed devoutly that the times require something more than a standard-issue Republican for whom all things political are negotiable and to whom there is no dispute that cannot be settled by compromise … those people will be saying, “Never again.”

They will have seen it before and one suspects they will be finished with a party that repeatedly sends out for slaughter candidates who do not represent their beliefs, positions, and ideas with conviction. If it is about common ground and compromise, they will say, then the hell with it and leave the Republican Party to people who consider it a boast to say, “I could work with Teddy Kennedy.”

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