The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence.Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Bénévent (1754-1838) (French Foreign Minister, Prime Minister).
Romney and his supporters are about out of time – the end approaches on Tsunami Tuesday. All that is left at this point is a frantic all-points-of-the-compass attack on McCain by the conservative opinion makers, plus whatever television advertising Romney can put together. Finally, Romney must somehow prevail on Mike Huckabee to withdraw, not later than the weekend. Still, it is very late, and I expect this effort to come up short.
This distaste for Republicans by independents – which leaps out of the polling data (particularly President Bush’s approval ratings) is why the Conservatives must swallow the pill of a McCain candidacy. The price of Bush's – and Republican -- unpopularity is a less conservative Republican candidate. What the Romney supporters and the others down on McCain don't seem to understand is that there is no way not to take this medicine. The Conservatives either swallow, and tolerate a less Conservative candidate than they would like, or they're going to swallow 8-12 years of probably the most liberal administration (whether it be Clinton or Obama) in America ever.
If you feel confident, for some unknown reason, in a Republican victory, it is possible that either candidate could win. If you feel the nation is aching for a Democrat, as I do, then the importance of choosing the strongest candidate fades a bit.
But any rational observer has to conclude that John McCain has a better shot of winning than Mitt Romney does.
And, if a failure to win means the election of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the stakes are too high to ignore the issue of political practicality in making a choice.