A week before the Iowa caucuses, Jennifer Rubin is urging conservatives to get with the program and hop on the Mitt Romney bandwagon.
As a preliminary matter, it will be incumbent on Romney antagonists, should he win the nomination, to give up the fiction that the "elites" or "insiders" or "establishment" foisted Romney on the party. The notion that any clique could exercise such power was always a red herring, but if Romney wins a majority of delegates it will be confirmation that he, and not his antagonists, have the confidence of the Republican electorate. Whether the pundits who railed against him might then consider how little they understand the actual electorate (as opposed to their limited readership) would be an open question....
In short, it will be time for anti-Romney forces, who flourish most visibly in the punditocracy and among activists and select organizations, to get real and get with the Romney election effort unless they want four more years of Obama. (And frankly some do, for being out of power allows them to foment continual discontent in the base and posit themselves as the guardians of political purity.)
Look, I've been saying for quite some time that Romney has the best shot of winning the nomination (though he's not inevitable). But let's not kid ourselves: if he wins it will be because of momentum from the early states or opponents who lack the organizational heft for a protracted nomination fight. It's not some misreading of the Republican primary electorate that Romney has barely been able to break 30 percent against a merry-go-round of mostly obscure opponents. The implosion of Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry wasn't the result of "confidence" in Romney. Gingrich wins Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida and we're not even having this conversation.
As for getting "with the Romney election effort," most conservatives will back him just like they did John McCain since the alternative is Barack Obama. But the idea that we're supposed to pretend Republicans love him any more than they did McCain is a bit much to take and these kinds of posts are probably the least effective way possible to rally the troops behind Romney. As for pundits, they should continue to call things as they see them unless we want to end up with watered-down versions of the same policies carried out by someone with an "R" next to his name.
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