A perfect follow-up to yesterday’s NYT story about the uneasy alliance between our “Massachusetts moderate” nominee and the tea-party Republican House. Skip to 12:38 for 10 minutes from reps like Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, and Louie Gohmert, who brought down the house:
Rep. Louie Gohmert, the aggressively quotable former judge from Texas, basically conceded the point. “If you’re not sure about whether to support Mitt Romney,” he joked, “whether you’re liberal, or whether you’re very conservative, you ought to be excited, because he’s been on your side at one time or another.”
That’s from Dave Weigel, who, along with Joshua Green, is snickering at the palpable hesitation about Romney in the first few replies here. (The group gets back on message at 17:10 when some rep whom I don’t recognize offhand chimes in with a fairly enthusiastic endorsement.) What could they realistically say, though? They need to balance party loyalty with grassroots credibility. If they came out waving their pompoms for Romney, no one would take it seriously and tea partiers would be irritated. If they spent 10 minutes dumping on him, the left would have a field day and GOP leaders, starting with Team Mitt, would be incensed. The polite “anybody but Obama” message is how to walk the line. Besides, that attitude has the benefit of reflecting the bulk of pro-Romney sentiment among voters thus far, assuming anyone still believes the data in yesterday’s CNN poll.
Romney’s co-existence with tea-party congressmen will be a continuing subplot to the campaign, so think of this vid as episode one.