John McCain and Bob Dole are the two recent nominees who most obviously resemble Austen’s Mr. Collins — in a moment of honesty, any conservative would express disgust with their records.
But even the nomination of George W. Bush was a marriage of convenience rather than love. The GOP married Bush for money: By the summer of 1999, Bush was so clearly dominating the field in fundraising that he became the de facto front-runner before there were any reliable polls. Being the front-runner, and being inoffensive to the base, sewed up the nomination for Bush.
Democrats have their Mr. Collinses (John Kerry and Al Gore), but they also have their Mr. Darcys (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama).
Republicans, on the other hand, haven’t married for love since 1980. This year, it seems, things won’t be any different. Dear Republicans, you’ve nearly landed your Mr. Romney, and I wish you every imaginable happiness.