ABC: “Top” GOP Senator says if Mitt can’t win Michigan …

posted at 10:30 am on February 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Silly me; I thought that when one candidate in a primary race lost a state, it meant that another candidate was stronger.  Not so, according to an unnamed but “prominent” Republican Senator contacted by ABC’s Jonathan Karl.  If Romney can’t win, it’s time to call in … Jeb Bush?

“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.

The senator believes Romney will ultimately win in Michigan but says he will publicly call for the party to find a new candidate if he does not.

“We’d get killed,” the senator said if Romney manages to win the nomination after he failed to win the state in which he grew up.

It would have to be somebody else, the senator said.  Who?  “Jeb Bush,” the former Florida governor.

The Secret Senator believes that Rick Santorum would lose 35 states in a general election, and apparently thinks so little of Newt Gingrich’s chances that he doesn’t even raise him as an alternative.  No, it would be better to call the younger Bush and skip over the rest of the primaries, apparently, since it would be almost impossible at this point for a new candidate to qualify on enough ballots to win a majority of the delegates.

I have nothing but respect for Jeb Bush, but … really?  I recall a point in the race where people objected to Rick Perry because Barack Obama and the Democrats would paint him as a second coming of George W. Bush.  Perry’s defenders on that score — and I was one of them — never once offered an argument that it would be just great to have a return of an Obama vs Bush debate in 2012; we rejected the idea that Perry somehow equaled a Bush in terms of policy or temperament.

Jeb Bush did a terrific job as governor of Florida and is very well regarded in the state, but he’s still a Bush, and his elevation to the nomination without having bothered to enter the race would look like the ultimate establishment act.  Needless to say, the grassroots Tea Party movement doesn’t remember either President Bush with particular fondness, the first on the reneging of his pledge not to raise taxes, and the second on his big-spending “compassionate conservatism” platform.   A move to install Jeb Bush at the top of the ticket without having subjected himself to the vetting and the tough work of earning the votes in the field would be a disaster for the Republican Party, especially if that push came entirely at the convention.  Winning 15 states at that point might be an optimistic outcome.

How about this for an idea: let’s hold a primary among those candidates who had the courage to put themselves on the line for almost a year, and stop worrying about those who sat on the sidelines.  Stop looking for a Deus ex machina and start building the organization that will help whomever the voters choose as the nominee win the general election.


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