Romney fundraiser to rich donors: You don’t want a Huckabee/Palin ticket at a brokered convention, do you?

posted at 4:35 pm on April 3, 2012 by Allahpundit

Are New York’s Republican glitterati really such panicky chumps that this longer-than-longshot scenario was enough to get them to toss bags of money at Mitt? C’mon.

[O]n March 14 and 15, Romney had raised over $3 million in New York and Connecticut. … The Romney campaign had a clever pitch for the event. Schmoozing with his money pals before the events, a Romney fund-raiser pointed out that “slightly more than half the delegates” to the GOP convention at Tampa “are evangelicals.” These true-believer conservatives are averse not only to Romney but to semi-reasonable types like Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels. As a result, said this fund-raiser, the “responsible Republican guys” are “starting to realize” that at a brokered convention “it’s not going to be Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, a ticket they could really love. It’s probably Huckabee-Palin or Palin-Huckabee.” That was enough to scare the Wall Street crowd into getting out their checkbooks.

That’s from the new Mike Allen/Evan Thomas e-book on the campaign. Point one: Why would evangelicals demand Huckabee or Palin when they could nominate Santorum? Given the odds against him now, it’d be a genuine accomplishment if he managed to hold Romney below a clear majority of delegates before the convention. He’ll be debate-tested and trail-honed, and needless to say, he’s the gold standard on “values” for social cons. Why jettison him for Huck or Sarahcuda, each of whom is more of a media presence at this point than a political one?

Point two: Last I checked, evangelicals want to beat Obama as badly as non-evangelicals do. They’re not going to roll the dice on anyone whose electability is questionable, especially since a dark-horse nominee would have just two months to boost his/her favorables before election day. That’s a major obstacle for Palin even though she remains very popular within the party. It’s less of a problem for Huckabee, who’s also popular among Republicans and came out of the 2008 campaign with far less media damage to his image than Palin. Popular or no, though, he has no campaign operation and famously doesn’t enjoy raising money. On what planet does it make more sense for an Obama-hating Christian delegate to hand him the keys to the campaign instead of holding their nose and taking their chances with Romney? Maybe, if there was some sort of serious floor revolt in Tampa, Mitt could be pressured to put Huck on the ticket — that’d actually be a nice regional/religious/class balance — but the only reason to gamble hugely on a dark-horse nominee would be if the convention wanted to bet the election on a supremely important principle like entitlement reform and balancing the budget. That might justify nominating Christie or Ryan or Daniels. But Huck?

Never mind all that, though. The piece you need to read to polish this off is Ryan Lizza’s delegate model for the rest of the GOP primaries. According to his calculations, with Romney needing 1,144 for a clear majority, he should finish June with … 1,122. Good news for Huck? Not quite: There’ll be 598 unbound delegates in Tampa, only 22 of whom would have to break for Mitt to wrap thinks up. Exit question: Huckabee/Palin 2016?


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