Overthinking It?

First, I’d thank Doug Brady at Conservatives4Palin for pointing out this story, because based on timing, I might have missed it otherwise.   Like everybody at C4P, he’s a great writer, so be sure to stop by there and check them out.  The Hill has an article today titled: A brokered convention: Jeb Bush vs. Sarah Palin.  His speculation centers around the idea that if Santorum and Newt remain competitive, with Ron Paul still grabbing delegates along the way, with half the delegates yielded by the early states to the National Party, there’s a very real possibility of a brokered convention so long as nobody manages to acquire the 1144 delegates needed to sew up the nomination before the convention.  It’s clear that this has been part of Romney’s worries all along, and it’s probably part of why Romney went full-bore after Gingrich in Florida. Just a few days before the Florida primary, Jeb Bush quietly suggested that he would not be making an endorsement after all, as many had expected him to endorse Romney in the days and weeks leading up to that  state’s primary.

There have been some who have been speculating that the tentative Bush family support of Romney is aimed at making Mitt Romney a placeholder for precisely such a move, whereby Jeb Bush could jump in via a brokered convention and walk away with the nomination.  While highly speculative, naturally, that remains a possibility. What Bernie Quigley’s article on The Hill proposes is that rather than just a Bush entry through a brokered convention, you might instead have Sarah Palin placed into the mix by virtue of her overwhelming support across a broad base of the party, a factor that was inescapable if you watched her speech at CPAC on Saturday.  Every one of the candidates did their best on Friday, with Newt Gingrich probably motivating the crowd most thoroughly among them, but the three rooms worth of overflow seating added for the Keynote speech on Saturday evinced a strong preference for the message of Sarah Palin.  She clearly and thoroughly rocked CPAC as I reported, and her performance there was stunning.  Quigley didn’t miss this either:

But as The Hill’s Josh Lederman reports from the CPAC conference, the former Alaska governor received far and away the most spirited and enthusiastic reception at the convention of about 10,000 conservative activists. She drew the audience to its feet more than a dozen times during her keynote address on Saturday.

“The cheers for Palin were so loud that they drowned out her remarks again and again,” he writes. “Conference organizers had to set up three overflow rooms to accommodate the throngs of supporters eager to hear her words.”

It’s self-evident: Palins performance Saturday led many to question whether the Republican Party is running the right candidate.  After all, as was apparent Saturday, none of the actual candidates at present fill an auditorium like Palin, and none of them were able to rouse their respective crowds in so engaging a manner.  Quigley’s speculation focuses on the idea that if we actually arrived at the Republican convention without having settled on a nominee, things could become exciting if Bush and Palin have their names dropped into the hat for possible selection. After all, Bush has solid support from his home state of Florida, but he’s also a Bush, which means that many simply won’t be willing to further a dynasty, and rightly so, I might add.  The other person who might get proposed would be Chris Christie, but I think Quigley’s right to point out that none would be more eligible with respect to the party faithful than Sarah Palin.

Quigley goes on to speculate about the possible combinations of nominees and their running mates, but I suspect that while entertaining and interesting, this sort of speculation is liable to give rise to false hopes about an unlikely set of events.  The conditions for this to occur would require that the delegate count would need to continue to be split up, denying Romney (or any of the others) the opportunity to obtain the needed 1144.  That may not be possible, as Romney’s advantage in cash makes him much more able to sustain a long campaign.  Still, it’s a fascinating study in “what-if” thinking, because if Quigley’s view turned out to be correct, it would certainly invigorate this race at a time when the party will need it most, particularly since this theory assumes that the convention will have commenced without a decided nominee.  The problem is that even if it went anything like what Quigley suggests, it wouldn’t be so easy as his abbreviated narrative might suggest.  Nothing is ever that easy in politics.

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