Mitt Romney’s press secretary Andrea Saul brought the full wrath of the GOP’s right-wing down on her unsuspecting head today by suggesting that Romney is, you know, proud of his signature health care bill. The scene of the crime was a Fox News discussion of an ad implying that a woman died because her husband lost his insurance when a Bain-controlled plant laid him off.
It's one of those days when the news cycle is moving faster than I can write about it. As of Wednesday afternoon, the chatter online is all about the Romney campaign's unexpected decision to cite his Massachusetts health reforms as proof that he cares about average Americans facing financial hardship. The decision is unexpected because Romney has spent the past two years vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, whose scheme for expanding insurance coverage is basically a national version of what Romney did in Massachusetts.
Earlier today I tried to explain why Newt's numbers had stabilized after their recent nose-dive: [W]hile Republican voters don’t want him to be their nominee, they don’t want Romney to stroll to the nomination either. The week-and-a-half or so Newt spent in freefall gave them a chance to imagine the primaries playing out as a Romney coronation, and they didn’t find the scenario especially heartening.
An increasingly despairing Erick Erickson goes there: I think it is time to move beyond wishful thinking and take seriously the idea of having a brokered convention with someone other than the current crop of candidates becoming the nominee...The candidates in this race are good people, but none of them are proving to be of a caliber of conservative leader we should be putting on the field to take on the socialist in the White House. The odds of a brokered convention are slim to none now. But I think we might need to have a conversation about it.
At the risk of piling on, it seems worth following up on yesterday's post drawing the link between my cover story on Mitt Romney's temperament and his testy Fox News interview to note that some of Romney's toughest critics on the right are now drawing conclusions about his sensitivity that some of my piece's critics on the left shied from.
[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] Yesterday in this space, Alec MacGillis argued the GOP field is such a pitiful morass of second bananas, we should scrap the primaries altogether. He makes a compelling point: Herman Cain is on the brink of implosion and Rick Perry is back in the gutter after Oopsgate. Republican voters will soon have cycled through a full third of the field in search of a viable non-Romney, only to witness each candidate flame out. Well, what about Jon Huntsman, deemed Obama’s most worthy opponent by the paper of record?
Former pizza magnate Herman Cain’s upset victory in the September 24 Florida Republican straw poll, and his subsequent rise to a competitive third place position in at least one national poll, are being generally interpreted as a function of GOP voter unhappiness with previous “top-tier” candidates (Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and arguably Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul).
There are two warring insider narratives in Washington right now over what Republicans really want in the negotiations over the debt limit. One is that the content of any deal is less important than how it is framed politically. The other is that the GOP is just driving a really hard bargain in order to gain maximal policy concessions.
-- The Wall Street Journal editorial page supports the McConnell plan. -- Erick Erickson describes the proposal as the “Pontius Pilate Pass the Buck Act of 2011” -- John Boehner gives a long and scary pause when asked what happens next if a debt-ceiling deal can not be reached. -- Michael Irvin’s support for marriage equality probably guarantees opposition from Eagles fans. -- Why “the flip” is the iconic moment of Derek Jeter’s career, not his 3,000th hit.
The Republican Party is campaigning with a stiff wind at its back this year, thanks to a terrible economy, ripe targets created by two straight heavily Democratic cycles, favorable midterm turnout demographics, and the famous “enthusiasm gap.” But, in Colorado, it seems as if the Republicans are conducting a meteorological experiment to test the strength of that wind, as they stumble disarrayed into today's primary. The race for the Republican Senate nomination is ugly: Candidates Jane Norton and Ken Buck are locked in a klutzy and tasteless competition to see who will screw up least.