Referencing the My Tea Party straw poll, Jeffrey H. Anderson argues that only two politicians would be able to unite the establishment Republican and Tea Party votes in 2012 to edge out President Obama: Chris Christie and Paul Ryan. Anderson concludes:
It’s simple, really: If Republicans want to be enthusiastically united behind a candidate who can lead them to victory in 2012 – and thereby save the country from Obamacare – they’d better coax these two (à la George Washington in 1789 and 1792, who ultimately decided that duty called) into the presidential race.
Assuming that the My Tea Party poll is an accurate reflection of Tea Partiers’ preferences, it raises the question of whether Tea Partiers could back a purely “establishment” candidate if one escaped through the primaries, and if not, what they would consider disqualifying about such a candidate. After all, Paul Ryan cast many of the same votes — for TARP, most notably — that prompted Tea Partiers to primary other Republicans. Chris Christie wasn’t even the conservative in the Republican primary for governor of New Jersey.
So what is it about Mitch Daniels, for instance — who Anderson uses an example of an “establishment” candidate who couldn’t energize Tea Partiers — that would lead the Tea Party folks to sit out the national election if he were to make it through the primaries?