No matter how far we come in the primary process, the desire for a last-minute messianic entrant into the GOP race just won’t die. What’s more, preparatory finite strategizing for this imaginary candidate hasn’t stopped, either.
Over the weekend, James Pethokoukis, drawing on reporting from Politico’s Mike Allen, outlined “how the GOP presidential race blows up, and a new candidate comes on the scene.” According to Pethokoukis/Allen, at least one top Republican strategist thinks a new candidate could enter the race after Michigan and still have time to secure enough delegates to ensure a contested convention. The strategist sounded especially confident:
“If somebody came on the scene that week after Super Tuesday with, ‘I’m coming in. I’m taking a look at this,’ there are enough delegates. He would suck all the oxygen out of the race. People wouldn’t even give a shit who won on these other dates in March that are after Super Tuesday. I mean, seriously, who would care? It would all be about a new savior.”
The unnamed expert implied he’d thought about a new candidate in detail because he’s fearful Rick Santorum will win Michigan. Santorum, this fellow said, would lose “35 states” in the general election. Naturally, Jennifer Rubin gleefully interpreted all of this as an argument for Mitt Romney’s electability.
Thankfully, the GOP has Paul Ryan to inject a little sense into this conversation:
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said it would be unwise for anyone new to enter the Republican primary, even if Mitt Romney were to lose the primary in Michigan at the end of the month.
Ryan himself was once discussed as a potential contender.
“I don’t see how that can happen,” Ryan said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “It’s just too late, I think.”
The anonymous Republican strategist might have taught us that it’s technically not too late, but Paul Ryan, as usual, reminds us of reality: It’s just too late. Do these dissatisfied Republicans want Obama to win? A late entrant would be sure to lose, as all his past missteps would be illuminated at just the right time to benefit Obama. If that is what these discontent GOPers desire, there’s an easier way. They can stay home in November, let Obama win and come back in four years to nominate a hero then. The rest of us will recognize that the GOP frontrunners are solid alternatives to Obama, vote enthusiastically for whoever secures the nomination and support him and the hopefully Republican Congress as they tackle the real work of taming the debt and rebooting the economy.