Yesterday, Politico teased that George Will would be dropping a rather explosive column trashing GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in his weekly Washington Post column this weekend.
Well, the full column--Mitt Romney, the pretzel candidate who may be inelectable--is out now and, judging from the hair-on-fire reactions at Redstate, Townhall and the like, this is going to leave a mark.
Will begins his column with a bunch of pretentious blather about Obama being a "floudering naif" (tell that to Osama bin Laden) who is "bewildered" and stumbling around half-blind in the woods on every issue possible. Even a ham sandwich could beat him at this point, Will implies, so why is the Republican's putative front-runner mired at 25 percent and in danger of losing not only the Presidency but the whole Congressional shebang?
According to Will, there is not a single principle Romney is willing to stand up for. From ethanol subsidies to his positions on the auto bailout and the recent Ohio ballot intiative, Romney has flipped and flopped and, sometimes, flipped back again to the point that he stands for nothing, lacking even "the courage of his absence of convictions."
Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.
Then Will really sticks the boot...well, the wingtip...in, calling Romney the right's own Michael Dukakis:
Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from “data” (although there is precious little to support Romney’s idea that in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is a powerful magnet for such immigrants) and who believes elections should be about (in Dukakis’s words) “competence,” not “ideology.” But what would President Romney competently do when not pondering ethanol subsidies that he forthrightly says should stop sometime before “forever”? Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?
I am fascinated that Will, the mainstream-iest of mainstream GOP columnists has chosen to shoot Romney, by far the right's most electable candidate, in both feet. The response, on right wing blogs, has been loud and despairing. They are waking up to the fact that their entire slate of candidates, including "safe Romney" is unelectable in a general election.
As snippets from the column made the rounds yesterday, I found dozens of comments, like this one from Redstate:
This is making me nervous
We risk Obama being elected and seeing this economy become the “new normal”. Even liberals can see this isn’t working. However, you can’t beat somebody with nobody. We are getting dangerously close to the perception that the whole field is weak.
And even more stating boldly they would not even vote if Romney were the nominee, like this one from Hot Air:
...If the GOP is ever going to be transformed into a conservative party that stands on principle, it will not happen until conservative voters are willing to stand on principle. We get the leaders we deserve. If we nominate a squishy moderate this election, we’re guaranteed to have a pack of squishy moderates lined up for the next election. That is common sense. If, on the other hand, we allow a squishy moderate to go down to humiliating defeat, we are far more likely to have principled conservatives lining up for the next election.
I don’t like the idea of 4 more years of Obama any more than the rest of you, but voting for Romney is myopic
I don't know what Will is up to with this blistering swipe at Romney, but it is clear the GOP is in disarray. Pass it on.