As much as I have criticized Huckabee, and as much as I have criticized McCain, and as little qualified to be president as I think Ron Paul is (while acknowledging him to be a consistently principled man), I must say that the deal the McCain folks and the Paul folks cut with Huckabee’s team in West Virginia is just basic convention politics. Yes, Romney had far more support the convention than any of them, and yes, without the deals he almost surely would have received enough votes from the Paulites and the McCainiacs to get a majority and thus sweep all 18 available delegates… BUT, there is nothing dishonest about wht the dealmakers did. Anybody who has ever been to a convention will tell you that that is just how conventions work. And as long as the deals themselves don’t involve corrupt actions (there is nothing inherently corrupt about voting for one man over another), then those deals are nothing less than a fascinating and often quite healthy exercise of participatory republican (small ‘r’) governance.
The reality is that, one way or another, the Romney campaign has made itself the major point of agreement among ALL the other campaigns: The other campaigns all dislike the Romneyites (or Romney himself). Hey, if I were in West Virginia, I would have voted for Romney. But Romney’s failure to figure out how to attract the supporters of the other candidates is a failure of effective politics. And it may well be a microcosm of his whole effort, explaining why he hasn’t (yet) caught on with enough voters to become the front runner.
Huck won West Virginia, fair and square. Romney lost. No whining allowed.