Remember the grandeur of the Obama inauguration in 2009? The Republican party was in shambles. Everywhere you turned, you saw articles about how the Republican Party was going into a 40-year oblivion. President Obama wanted to be a transformational leader and that transformation needed at least a banishment of the GOP from the bastion of political power.
It didn’t work that way because Obama went too far & too in the face. The fear of oblivion is a powerful force. And it sprung forth a spontaneous grass roots movement that became known as the Tea Party. They saved the Republican Party. While they were welcome up to a point for what they had done, the GOP elite didn’t think they were the right sort of people for the “good” of the GOP. The last 8 years have seen an internecine conflict within the Republican party. The insurgents got their choices in the mid term elections while the elite got their choice in the big one – the 2012 presidential election.
This conflict within the GOP is a replay of the Reagan-Bush conflict of the 1980s. Ronald Reagan won the presidency by bringing in the blue collar worker into the white collar, white shoe GOP. In contrast, George H.W. Bush was and remained the elite establishment of GOP. In his four years and despite his accomplishments as president, the blue collar middle class felt unwanted by Bush’s GOP and moved away. So George H.W. Bush lost his reelection battle in 1992 & remains the only one-term President of the past 36 years.
Mitt Romney was a throwback to George H.W. Bush. Prescott Bush, father of George H.W., had been a Wall Street executive banker and a Senator. George Romney, father of Mitt, was the chairman of American Motors and the Governor of Michigan. Mitt Romney also could not connect with the blue collar middle class that makes up the industrial Midwest and he lost those critical states to President Obama in 2012.
Though Ronald Reagan is worshipped in name in today’s GOP, the establishment elite remain in the Bush mold. That is also the mold today’s big donor class of the GOP. This combination has tolerated the Tea Party insurgents because they are necessary to win the large number of low expense races in congressional districts. But notice was served in 2012 that only the establishment wing is allowed to contest for the big expensive presidential election.
That is why Jeb Bush, the “intelligent”, favored, & more acceptable son of George H.W. Bush, was anointed as the establishment GOP candidate for 2016. It is an open secret that Romney wanted to be asked to run as the establishment nominee. But he understood that it was Jeb’s turn and he accepted it as the Party elder. Unfortunately, Jeb Bush faced a force of nature named Donald Trump who destroyed him by continuously belittling him, knocking him down early and then stomping on him as Jeb tried vainly to get up from the ground.
Can you imagine the frustration of Mitt Romney as he watched Jeb’s campaign go down in flames? Could Romney watch helplessly as an insurgent named Trump ran away from his party, the party of his father, the party of which he was the establishment?
What follows, folks, is mainly conjecture. But a conjecture based on facts we see and comments we heard from smart observers like Chris Mathews of MSNBC.
Look at the time line of the past six days. Jeb Bush withdrew from the race on Sunday, February 21. Trump won the Nevada caucus on Tuesday, February 23. Mitt Romney stepped in on Wednesday, February 24 to launch a blistering attack on Trump. Marco Rubio made a U-turn on Thursday, February 25 in the Houston debate and attacked Donald Trump with a wanton ferocity he has never shown before.
Where was Rubio on Tuesday evening when he beat Ted Cruz to finish second in Nevada? Rubio had proclaimed victory when he finished 3rd in Iowa; he had proclaimed a march to victory when he placed 2nd in South Carolina with endorsements from Governor Nikki Haley & Congressman Tim Scott. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch had endorsed Rubio on Monday, September 22. So why wasn’t Rubio in Nevada on Tuesday evening? Did it have anything to do with Romney’s sudden entry into the fight on Wednesday morning?
Everybody including Marco Rubio knows he has very little chance of beating Donald Trump in the primaries. And Rubio is an ambitious young man who has many elections before him. So he had played it safe by steadfastly refusing to attack Trump. As late as the morning of the debate, MSNBC anchors Joe Scarborough & Mika Brezinsky were talking about Rubio as Trump’s vice president.
So why did Rubio turn so violently and so rabidly into an attack dog against Trump? That is how Vice Presidential nominees behave, not Presidential contenders. Chris Mathews of MSNBC has been talking about he was hearing – that the game was to take the contest to the Republican Convention where a deal would be made to unite against Trump. But Mathews kept saying he didn’t get it – how could the convention give the nomination to the loser who had lost almost every contest to the frontrunner Trump? Why would a senior Senator like Orrin Hatch endorse some one like Rubio who had never accomplished anything, Mathews kept asking.
It came to use suddenly after the Thursday debate – Rombio. The team of Romney & Rubio. Rubio’s 180-degree turn and his sudden lack of fear about his future only makes sense if he had found a new patron, a major figure who could push him into an assured future even if he lost his challenge to Trump. The only man that could be is Mitt Romney. That’s when the name Rombio clicked – Sugar Daddy Romney and his boy Rubio.
But that still felt incomplete. The strategy of foisting young untested also-ran Rubio over No. 1 Donald Trump simply didn’t make sense. But what if the plan was for Rubio to present Mitt Romney as the true nominee at the convention with Marco as his VP? Mitt Romney had won virtually all the White vote he could in 2012. His Achilles heel was the lack of Hispanic/Latin support. Marco Rubio as his Vice Presidential nominee would solve that problem. Mitt Romney was pure GOP establishment unlike Donald Trump. And Rubio was the future of the GOP.
Think about it. Marco Rubio had nothing to lose in this plan. He had little chance of winning the 2016 nomination any way. If he turned down the party establishment, their anger could doom his chance of becoming Florida’s Governor. If the Rombio ticket won the general election, he would be Vice President and the next consensus Presidential candidate post-Romney. If the ticket lost the general election, he could run for Governor and then run for President on a record of accomplishment.
This Romney-Rubio or Rombio plan is the one scenario that explains the strange events of this week and the 180-degree transformation of Marco Rubio. It is the one scenario that explains why Mitt Romney turned suddenly from a party elder into a candidate in waiting.
3. Hero of Obama & Democrats?
Does the GOP establishment understand what would happen to the Republican party if they pulled something like Rombio at the convention? We understand their pain. They would rather be a pure or softly conservative Grand Old Party of Bushies & Romneys with their National Reviews & Think Tanks. Donald Trump is as much anathema to them as Ronald Reagan must have been to the establishment in late 1970s.
But are they willing to destroy their party for the sake of ejecting Donald Trump? Do they have a clue about the fury with which the supporters of Donald Trump would turn on them? What about the Tea Party? If the establishment elite can do this to Donald Trump, why won’t they do the same to a Tea Party nominee in the next election?
President Obama & the Democratic Party dreamt of ending the Republican Party in 2009. They could not. But Mitt Romney and his elite establishment cohort could achieve that in 2016 if they are stupid enough to try.
We don’t think they will. At least not now with the weapon Trump unleashed on Friday – Chris Christie. What you saw on Christie’s face was joy, pure unadulterated joy. He had been driven out of the race by Rubio’s superpac. Now he was going to drive Rubio out of the race. And don’t forget Romney. After wooing Christie, Romney had dumped him unceremoniously and chosen Paul Ryan in 2012. Don’t you think Christie is just waiting for an opportunity to settle his score with Romney?
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