In yesterday’s New York Times, Ross Douthat argued that Romney’s victory in the GOP primary is inevitable, despite the periodic surges of candidates like Bachmann, Perry, and Cain.
And he blames both the establishment and the Tea Party for the lack of plausible alternatives:
What’s more, Republicans have only themselves to blame for his inevitability. Romney owes his current position to two failures: the Bush era’s serial disasters, which left the Republican establishment without a strong bench of viable national politicians, and the Tea Party’s mix of zeal and naïveté, which has elevated cranks and frauds and future television personalities to the party’s presidential stage.
To date, neither the establishment nor the populists have come to terms with the failures of the last age of Republican dominance. And despite occasional flashes of creativity, neither has groped its way to a credible vision of what the next conservative era should look like.
What they have to offer instead is a largely opportunistic critique of a flailing liberal president. So it’s fitting that America’s most opportunistic politician is destined to be the standard-bearer for their cause.