Romney's GOP rivals should hold grudges

The love affair with Mitt—this newfound nausea of niceness—raises a bigger question: What is to be said to all the Republicans who donated money to the anti-Romney candidates, volunteered their time, and argued with friends and family about the appropriateness of strapping a dog to the top of their car? Were they all chumps? Was this bitter, tough primary just a game? Were any of the vicious invectives thrown at Romney sincere? We don’t all have to be Hatfields and McCoys—even I’m willing to acknowledge that went a little too far—but there’s nothing wrong with standing firm behind your own candidacy and ideas, and staying that way. For an appropriate mourning period, at any rate. Poor Seamus, at least, deserves better.

Anyone remember the good old days, when political battles were hard-fought and losers stayed sore? After Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter’s renomination in 1980, Carter held a grudge for thirty years. Gerald Ford was so ticked at Ronald Reagan after their 1976 primary battle that Ford carried the grudge to his grave, allowing his unkind words about Reagan to slip into a book published after Ford’s death. Not every candidate has to be a jerk about it. When Adlai Stevenson lost—for a second time in a row—to Dwight D. Eisenhower, he quoted Lincoln about the boy who stubbed his toe: “He was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.”