Limbaugh: Romney’s endorsement of McCain is suicidal

posted at 10:11 pm on February 23, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Ben Smith, not for a moment do I believe this is true but it’s amusing to watch talk radio start to turn on their favored candidate from 2008 this early.

I like Mitt Romney, but I think he’s risking his career over a guy, endorsing McCain, who is so out of step with what’s going on right now. McCain’s always conservative when he’s running for reelection in Arizona. The tea parties have produced a wave of conservatism that have swept Republicans-in-name-only aside. I understand Palin endorsing McCain. She’s got no choice. Loyalty, plus if she doesn’t the media will cream her, “Oh, he’s good enough to be president but you won’t endorse him to be Senator?” And it’s understandable Romney would endorse Brown, but I don’t understand Romney endorsing McCain. I just don’t think it’s going to fly. These endorsements are unnecessary. What is there to gain by this? Look, it’s unfortunate, but people are weeding themselves out of the process all the while engaging in this kind of behavior. So in one sense it has a cleansing aspect to it…

This is what I’m telling you now, I tried to say that the Republican Party is trying to fight this off right now, they’re trying to fight off the tea party people. They’re trying to avoid being run over by them. Nobody is willingly going to give up a position of leadership they think they hold and a lot of people, it’s very difficult for people to change their core. Now, again, with Romney endorsing McCain, this is all about the future. This is Romney wanting McCain’s endorsement in 2012 if he runs for president. This is all about Republicans hanging together and this is one of the things that irritates people, especially new arrivals, to what is considered to be the same old politics. It is tone deaf, it’s suicidal, at least it seems to me, but at least you find out where people think things are important early on in a process like this so it’s got its value even though it does make you mad…

Okay, so imagine you got this tent, and we all know that McCain is still ticked off that he didn’t win the presidency, and he’s still ticked off that he had to fight so hard to win the nomination. So 2012 comes along, let’s say McCain loses the Senate run, so now he’s out there really ticked off, and some people just might — just throwing this out there, I’m not trying to convince you of this. I don’t even know if it’s true or even accurate. But maybe they’re just figuring down the road they’d rather have McCain not outside the tent throwing bombs at ‘em, rather have him inside the tent doing whatever he’s doing, I think either way it’s irrelevant because I think you’re right, the era of McCain’s over.

Well, look. Granted, Romney can’t go around endorsing every centrist against every tea-party darling; that would alienate the base irretrievably and he needs them for the general election if he’s the nominee. But he’s not stupid. He will endorse some tea-party faves, most likely starting with Rubio in Florida. That race is practically a foregone conclusion already and Crist screwed him two years ago by backing McCain so Mitt should have no reservations. If he jumps in for Rubio — the earlier the better — it’ll help offset his support for Maverick. As for why he shouldn’t support Hayworth too, what good would it do him if he did? Romney’s never going to be a grassroots all-star. He could endorse every last candidate touted by Rush Limbaugh and the base will still view him suspiciously, partly because of RomneyCare, partly because he’s an, ahem, “elitist,” and partly because of his record of opportunistically flip-flopping on social issues. (And, for some social cons, partly because he’s a Mormon.) Why alienate his natural base — centrists — to woo a faction that’ll never warm to him? As radical and risky as Romney’s “concede the south” strategy is, and as impressive as the growth of the tea-party movement may be, there’s no reason to believe that a center-right candidate is doomed to fail against a more conservative one in the primary, especially if the conservative is someone whom 70 percent of Americans think is unqualified. McCain’s endorsement will help Romney with centrists but Hayworth’s endorsement would help him with … who, exactly? The sort of people who already screech “RINO!” when they see him? I don’t get it.

Update: A commenter objects that Romney wasn’t talk radio’s favored candidate in 2008. He certainly was among the McCain/Mitt/Huckabee big three, but if you include Fred Thompson in the equation, I suppose that’s fair enough.


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There are 45 million of us who voted for McCain. Most of you people here.

You were never going to win with an uncharismatic backstabbing loser like McCain, but you tossed principle out the window and voted for him anyway. Not something I would brag about.

Pandering to someone who makes a habit out of giving the base the finger when he’s safe is not going to endear Romney to the base. He should have stayed out of it and let Palin blow the goodwill on her own.

As for McCain as a powerbroker; yeah, sure he is; for the Democrats.

austinnelly on February 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM

But what about Fred? I’m not able to listen to his show – is he giving any hints as to whether he’s more game this time around? Perhaps he just saw the proverbial handwriting on the wall on 08. It seems Repubs always go for someone who lost in the previous election cycle,thus you at least gotta show up even if you know you’re not going to win a certain year.

humdinger on February 24, 2010 at 12:40 PM

But what about Fred? I’m not able to listen to his show

He’s on right now, you can live stream him.

Here’s the link

entropent on February 24, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Endorsing McCain is foolhardy on Romney’s part, but his signing mandatory health insurance/health care reform legislation in Massachusetts will preclude him from getting the 2012 GOP nomination.

The country has gotten much more savvy about health care reform over the course of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi cramdown for the last 12 months, and he, more than any other potential GOP candidate, has come to personify the issue.

molonlabe28 on February 24, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Romney’s never going to be a grassroots all-star. He could endorse every last candidate touted by Rush Limbaugh and the base will still view him suspiciously, partly because of RomneyCare, partly because he’s an, ahem, “elitist,” and partly because of his record of opportunistically flip-flopping on social issues. (And, for some social cons, partly because he’s a Mormon.)

Or because he’s just bloody boring. Just his name is like warm milk and a big fuzzy blanket.

TheUnrepentantGeek on February 24, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Great post AP. You consistently provide among the best political analysis in the blogosphere.

dakine on February 24, 2010 at 1:22 PM

I never understood why Romney would even waste money on a 2012 run. He has no chance whatsoever.

He spent in excess of $1,000,000 per delegate he won in 2008, was the default “conservative candidate” (a complete lie, but nonetheless) and yet placed third behind McCain and Huckabee (two truly awful candidates) in the final delegate count. In short; Romney was a terrible candidate.

Tons of people who voted for Romney in 2008 will not do so in 2012. So his total primary vote total will likely be a lot less in 2012 than in 2008. He is also repositioning himself as a “centrist” republican. Besides feeding into the devasting “flip-flop meme”, that is likely to be a crowded field, with Pawlenty, Daniels and other potential “centrist” candidates running.

Rush is right.

Norwegian on February 24, 2010 at 1:38 PM

I don’t believe Romney can beat Palin without a formidable stalking horse or a number of them.

If Huckabee doesn’t run, Mitt won’t have a chance unless he can bleed a substantial amount of conservative support away from Palin. Mitt needs Huck to run and to mount a significant campaign in the Deep south and take some states away from Palin or for himself to come up the middle in states like Florida, NC, or Virginia.

Don’t bet against Mitt going all-in for this strategy very, very soon to stop Palin from picking up momentum due to the Tea Party movement.

technopeasant on February 24, 2010 at 1:39 PM

The mask is off….

HornetSting on February 24, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Romney’s endorsement of McCain for Senate probably won’t either help (Romney) nor harm him.

If McCain wins the GOP primary, he’s a shoo-in to win re-election to the Senate, whereas Hayworth could lose to a Democrat (he lost his House seat in 2008). Why would Romney take the risk of backing a candidate who could lose an otherwise safe Senate seat for the Republicans in what should be a good year for Republicans?

Looking ahead to 2012, after the 2010 elections, Republicans may be within two or three seats of a Senate majority, and lots of Dem freshmen elected in 2006 could be vulnerable in 2012, especially if Obama is unpopular and lacks coattails. If Romney was elected President, he would want as strong a Republican majority in the Senate as possible, and how would pushing McCain out of the Senate help THAT cause?

Romney’s endorsement of McCain is non-controversial here. Romney knows that McCain is too old to run for President in 2012, but doesn’t want McCain backstabbing him either.
Also, since Sarah Palin is backing McCain (probably to thank him for nominating her for VP in 2008), why would Romney want to pick a fight with Palin this far out from the election?

Whether or not Romney wins the 2012 GOP primary probably has nothing to do with his endorsement of McCain. If the 2012 election is mainly about the economy, Romney could win the GOP primary. If other issues (energy, foreign policy, etc.) dominate the news by then, another candidate could win the primary, but he/she would be wise to promise to name Romney as Treasury Secretary (which McCain did not).

Steve Z on February 24, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Romney disqualified himself with Romneycare, period.

PrincipledPilgrim on February 24, 2010 at 1:58 PM

OBAMA Anti-Romney commercial voiceover in 2012…………

“born of the greed of his friends on Wall Street”

“raised in a life of privlege”

“schooled with Elites and educated at the finest schools”

“Mired in the swamps of Wall Street Bonuses”

“Out of touch with Main Street”

“Global power and investment banker friends”

“Fat Cat Tycoon and enemy of hard working Americans”

Interest group ads for The Caliphs’ 2012 run will say:

“Power Broker”

“Elitist”

“Greedy Banker”

“Tycoon of the Rich”

“Mega Million Man”

“Zealot for the Rich”

“Extremist Robber Baron”

and so the Palinization of Romney will begin….his numbers will plunge, his campaign will be too timid to fight back and will have to sit thru 4 more years of the Caliph and his road to Oblivion for us and our Children.

PappyD61 on February 24, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Great news if true. He’s the biggest obstacle in the way of the Paul presidency. Sarah Palin will endorse Ron for the Presidency in 2012 like she endorsed Rand,.

The Dean on February 23, 2010 at 10:25 PM

I WILL KILL MYSELF.

NJ Red on February 24, 2010 at 2:04 PM

What’s the gay angle to this story?

Akzed on February 24, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Romney in 2012 is McCain 2008 the campaign against the base. No worries Mitt fans, Romney has almost 2 years to change his positions and experience shows he will. He just can un-endorse McCain. That is the end of his lousy political career.

Angry Dumbo on February 24, 2010 at 2:18 PM

That is he can’t un-endorse McCain (and this IS the end of my lousy post).

Angry Dumbo on February 24, 2010 at 2:21 PM

(And, for some social cons, partly because he’s a Mormon.)

Wow! I would consider myself a “social con,” does that mean I can’t vote for Romney? You mean I wasted my vote for him in 2008? Kind of folding up the “big tent” here, aren’t you, Allah?

mwdiver on February 24, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Great post AP. You consistently provide among the best political analysis in the blogosphere.

dakine on February 24, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Maybe for a Chamberlainesque, candy-assed RINO.

mwdiver on February 24, 2010 at 2:34 PM

mwdiver on February 24, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Nice to see that at least Mormons escape the broad-scope of your limiting views. I guess there’s hope for gays and other minorities.

The Race Card on February 24, 2010 at 2:49 PM

I gave money to Romney in 2008 because he was fighting the likes of McCain. Now that he has joined forces with McCain, it as if Romney has come down with a terminal disease, beltwayitis. I would vote for him over Obama, but I will not contribute time or money to him.

Angry Dumbo on February 24, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I would have voted for Romney in the primary in 2008. Of course, the idiot primary voters in Virginia and Florida took the ability to do that away from me. Also, the Huck b****** teamed up with McCain against Romney, while sliming the Mormon religion.

But like others, I think Romneycare in Mass. disqualifies him. I didn’t really know anything about it at the time. Now, I do. With the changes made after Romney left Mass. (and how stupid did you have to be not to anticipate those changes) it looks like the forerunner of Obamacare. Forced insurance mandate, universal coverage, exploding costs, doctor shortages.

I don’t care about Romney endorsing McCain. I would prefer that he didn’t but that isn’t the deal breaker. To get my vote he’s got to have a “come to Jesus” moment and disavow Romneycare. Unless he does that, he’s just the same old legacy-seeking, “compassionate conservative” politician like Bush and McCain. We’ll get to armageddon just a little later (if we’re not there already) than with Dems.

chris999 on February 24, 2010 at 4:04 PM

What’s the gay angle to this story?

Akzed on February 24, 2010 at 2:06 PM

I don’t know. You tell us. Is Mitt a secret, closeted homosexual? Or maybe Huck? Inquiring minds want to know!

chris999 on February 24, 2010 at 4:08 PM

The MDS blog….

Hey, thanks for Obama.

Boxy_Brown on February 24, 2010 at 6:59 PM

“MittCain”–Nuff said!!

chickasaw42 on February 24, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Maybe Romney’s trying to prevent a McCain endorsement of Palin.

darwin on February 24, 2010 at 7:40 PM

HuffPost covers how the Federal Reserve financed Saddam and Watergate

Professor Bob Auerbach of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin (and an economist at the House Financial Services Committee for eleven years assisting in oversight of the Federal Reserve) brought these issues to light in a book published by a university press:

In Deception and Abuse at the Fed, Robert Auerbach, a former banking committee investigator, recounts major instances of Fed mismanagement and abuse of power that were exposed by Rep. Gonzalez, including:

* Blocking Congress and the public from holding powerful Fed officials accountable by falsely declaring–for 17 years–it had no transcripts of its meetings;
* Manipulating the stock and bond markets in 1994 under cover of a preemptive strike against inflation;
* Allowing 5.5 billion to be sent to Saddam Hussein from a small Atlanta branch of a foreign bank–the result of faulty bank examination practices by the Fed;
* Stonewalling Congressional investigations and misleading the Washington Post about the6,300 found on the Watergate burglars.

Spathi on February 24, 2010 at 9:44 PM

It matter little what Romney says or does about himself or McCain. Romney’s endorsement isn’t going to help or hurt McCain in AZ nor will it help his own chances in 2012.

However, there is a chance Romney could end up hurting himself if he continues to endorse RINOs because all the evidence is pointing toward an even more right of center country today than in 2008.

Somebody needs to tell Romney the Rinocracy of the Republican party is over.

ConservativeTony on February 24, 2010 at 10:29 PM

There is a lot of nonsense in what Rush is saying and what posters here are writing.

First of all, Rush Limbaugh’s animus toward John McCain is destructive. Rush talks about McCain as if McCain were engaged in efforts at bipartisanship and aiding Obama’s agenda. The exact opposite is true. McCain voted AGAINST every Obama bailout bill. McCain voted AGAINST every Obama spending bill, denouncing Obama’s multi-trillion dollar deficit spending as “generational theft.” McCain voted AGAINST the confirmations of tax cheat Geithner, radical pro-abortion advocate Sibellius, leftist attorney Kagan and transnational advocate Koh to their respective positions in the Obama Administration. McCain voted AGAINST the confirmation of Sotomayer to the U.S. Supreme Court. McCain voted AGAINST the reappointment of Bernacke to the Fed. McCain has been voting AGAINST ObamaCare and was attacked by the New York Times for throwing bombs on the subject. McCain has announced that he will vote AGAINST this year’s cap and trade bill. You could not ask for any more conservative record. Yet, Rush dishonestly talks about McCain the way Rush does so as to treat McCain as a RINO, which McCain is not. McCain is a pro-life fiscal conservative and foreign policy hawk. Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, Mitt Romney and all the Arizona Republicans in national office are all supporting John McCain. They know what they are doing, and it seems to be driving Rush nuts.

Secondly, this business of calling a lot of national Republicans RINOs is dumb and destructive. You can call Colin Powell and Lincoln Chafee that, but not Romney, Gingrich, McCain, Huckabee and others such as them. If you go down that road, you just may end up blowing the opportunities that Democrat efforts to impose socialism will give us. That Ron (“America Is To Blame For 9-11″) Paul won the CPAC Presidential straw poll is a bad sign.

Phil Byler on February 24, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Spathi on February 24, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Surprise, you quoted an extreme left wing blog, quoting a liberal who was canned by Reagan for being a typical non-productive bureaucrat. Who ended up working for Gonzales a liberal hack and being a professor, the ultimate end for liberal hacks that have accomplished nothing…what a surprise.

(and an economist at the House Financial Services Committee for eleven years assisting in oversight of the Federal Reserve)

all, except for his final year, under democrats…at least he learned his trade of lying and deceiving under the best, Lyndon Johnson, probably the most corrupt president we have ever had…and look where this goon is teaching? At the Lyndon Johnson school for liberal losers….

right2bright on February 25, 2010 at 1:46 AM

Orrrrrr…. maybe Romney understands what a disaster JD would be!

Did you ever think of that? JD Hayworth stirs some pretty negative feelings for many.

JD is the stereotype of crazy-weird, far-righty, loud-mouth.

Plus, doesn’t Romney get some points for letting bygones be bygones? I wish McCain was as gracious in his attitude toward Romney. But alas McCain is McCain. Remember how badly he took defeat in 2000? The contrast is really stark.

petunia on February 25, 2010 at 3:11 AM

It matter little what Romney says or does about himself or McCain. Romney’s endorsement isn’t going to help or hurt McCain in AZ nor will it help his own chances in 2012.

That’s not really true. I didn’t think of this cause I’m a little out of the Mormon loop… I don’t live in the East Valley… but…

Mormon’s in AZ were really mad at McCain for some of the stuff he did in the primary. We are a large base of the Republican Party in AZ… and the reason McCain only won the Primary with 47% of the vote. Romney nearly won here.

Romney showing forgiveness toward McCain is probably what this is about. Like I said I didn’t pick up on that until you said that Romney wouldn’t matter to people in AZ. Romney does matter in AZ.

petunia on February 25, 2010 at 3:18 AM

So sad. Misquoting Rush is a MSM stupidity. Play the news straight and keep respect. After all that is your reason for existence.

If you are to be just another liar, there is no reason to visit this site.

We, commentators and observers alike click because you have a history of honesty. That’s a tough reputation to earn and all too easy to lose.

Frankly. my dear, Salem can do a SNAFU and HA is gone. Will be a shame but not new. “I remember when…” does not need to apply to HA.

Caststeel on February 25, 2010 at 3:36 AM

I understand the reservations about McCain. But you need a good alternative, too.

So far no one has been able to explain to me why a majority of the people should vote FOR Hayworth. As far as I can see, Hayworth has long been running on a single issue, illegal immigration. That issue never won elections in the past. Not even in border states. Not for Hayworth. Will he be effective as a politican? Single issue guys rarely are.

el gordo on February 25, 2010 at 4:24 AM

One Romney obstacle is getting around the state he governed and his record here. Our mandatory health insurance, re-upped AWB, and new & increased fees (Don’t call them taxes!). Of course we also got Deval Patrick out of the deal. Romney would probably make a good president and the above represent pragmatic choices based on the MA political turf. Or, they were weighed in the scale of packaging leading up to ’08 primary.

roy_batty on February 25, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Campaign Finance Reform – McCain Feingold

Cap N’ Trade – McCain Lieberman

Shamnesty – McCain Kennedy

If you haven’t figured out McCain by now, you will never understand those who oppose him.

Angry Dumbo on February 25, 2010 at 9:58 AM

This time is different. Any candidate will need the conservative base and the Tea Party to be the nominee of the Republican Party. It’s only after the nomination that the candidate needs the “Center” to be elected. If present trends continue Romney won’t be the nominee.

bindare on February 25, 2010 at 10:42 AM

hey retards, Palin also endorsed McCain along with the whole planet. get over yourselves

hanzblinx on February 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM

I think we’ve got some short-term memory about who “the favorites” were. McCain wasn’t anyone’s favorite, in Radio or elsewhere.

I think you’re forgetting Rudy…

Ludwig on February 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

come on rush its just a endorsment for a old man runing for his 10th term no big deal wont hurt him at all

al on February 25, 2010 at 2:15 PM

and i bet you fred and rudy will follow soon

al on February 25, 2010 at 2:16 PM

McCain did very, very well today in the “summit” with Obama on health care. It was solidly conservative. Substance, people.

Romney did well in endorsing McCain for McCain’s Senate race, as did Sarah Palin, Scott Brown and all Arizona Republicans occupying national office.

As for Angry Dumbo, he might consider McCain’s conservative voting record reviewed in my February 24 11:02 PM post. As to the three pieces of legislation cited by him, President GW Bush was either signed or supported them as well.

Phil Byler on February 25, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Plus, doesn’t Romney get some points for letting bygones be bygones? I wish McCain was as gracious in his attitude toward Romney. But alas McCain is McCain. Remember how badly he took defeat in 2000? The contrast is really stark.

petunia on February 25, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Bingo. I think the fact that Romney is endorsing McCain is a sign of Romney’s character. Romney has every excuse NOT to endorse McCain and yet he does anyways.

You hit it on the nail. Romney is much more gracious and forgiving than McCain is or ever hopes to be. McCain acted like a spoiled brat in after losing in the 2000 primary election to Bush.

hey retards, Palin also endorsed McCain along with the whole planet. get over yourselves

hanzblinx on February 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Tim Pawlenty has also endorsed McCain.

Seriously, what’s with all the fuss over Romney endorsing McCain?

Conservative Samizdat on February 26, 2010 at 4:12 AM

hey retards, Palin also endorsed McCain along with the whole planet. get over yourselves

hanzblinx on February 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Tim Pawlenty has also endorsed McCain.

Seriously, what’s with all the fuss over Romney endorsing McCain?

Conservative Samizdat on February 26, 2010 at 4:12 AM

The fuss is that all some people [ie, democrat sock-puppets, the easily lead and perpetually outraged, Michelle Malkin, lead paint chip eaters, etc.] have to do is hear the mans name and it reduces them into hysterical, bed wetting children.

Boxy_Brown on February 26, 2010 at 2:37 PM

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