Normally I wouldn’t ask, but since Huck and Sarahcuda have both anted up — he for DeVore, she for Fiorina — I think it’s about time everyone shows their cards, no? This has been a constant source of irritation with Romney, exercising prudence to a fault in not endorsing Doug Hoffman or Marco Rubio until it became politically “safe” to do so. Grassroots conservatives want to see some nerve; a principled candidate who’s out for more than his own political self-interest should find someone to like between Campbell, Fiorina, and DeVore.
Assuming that Romney’s only out for his self-interest, though, which candidate should he endorse? DeVore would give him “true conservative” cred that he needs but DeVore’s a likely loser at this point. Why alienate Campbell and Fiorina when they’re more likely to be in a position to help him in the Cali presidential primary? Campbell’s the front-runner at the moment, but he also has an “Israel problem” and Romney doesn’t need any headaches on that front. As for Fiorina, a reciprocal endorsement from her isn’t guaranteed if Palin also runs in 2012. If he wants to lock someone up, Campbell’s the obvious pick.
I think DeVore’s the smart choice since it’ll buy Mitt some grassroots cred vis-a-vis Sarahcuda, which he’ll desperately need if 2012 turns into a race between the two of them. Granted, if Fiorina wins the race she’ll be in a position to help Palin, but who cares? A Republican senator’s endorsement won’t be determinative in California, and by backing DeVore, Romney neutralizes Huckabee’s gesture to the base. An easy call here, right?