Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is The Rebellious GOP Right Planning A Convention Coup Against Romney?

THERE ARE STIRRINGS IN THE RIGHT WING of the GOP base, its dominant wing, that are close to open rebellion against a Romney coronation at the Republican Convention. Romney is in a more perilous position than he may imagine considering the convergence of animus and distrust from the base with the ever more vociferous calls from the GOP elites and intelligentsia for Romney to release multiple years of tax returns and put the issue behind him.

Today, POLITICO has a front-page story aptly titled "Conservative Elites Club Mitt Romney." The high-profile conservative Romney critics include Rupert Murdoch, Rich Lowry, Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer. Meanwhile, the titular leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, is growing increasingly strident and crazy hysterical in his attacks on President Obama, projecting his anger it seems at having to defend Mitt Romney.

How long will their shaky united front hold? Not long, if they perceive that Mitt Romney is damaged goods, a distinct possibility the longer he refuses to release his tax returns. What's he got to hide? Implicit in his whining that releasing multiple years of tax returns will give Obama's opposition research "more to distort and lie about" is an admission that those 1040 forms contain information that is at least embarassing to Romney and potentially worse. Whatever that may be, assuming there is nothing that is illegal, Mitt Romney is committing the classic mistake of hubris by arrogant politicians: the coverup is always worse than the full disclosure.

Out in the right wing internets the rebellious whispers are growing. Consider that Tea Party champion Sarah Palin is making noises about her not-yet-forthcoming invitation to the Convention. She has not yet endorsed Mitt Romney and has said some good things about Dark Horse/White Knight Party savior Chris Christie. One Palin supporter has openly speculated of a Palin "coup" at the GOP Convention:
"There is big time talk about this at her 'Pac' and 'Conservatives4Palin' website and I believe it to be true. I worked in her campaign in 08 and I find that this is a high possibility for happening. The reason for this is that she hasn't endorsed Romney at all. The fact is that Romney is losing his base and he can't energize it at all, especially with conservatives to come out swinging for him. On the other hand, Palin can. She draws massive crowds and she invokes patriotism and enthusiasm in her speeches that stimulates the GOP, conservative base and independents. ... Now this could happen at the convention. Romney is severely wounded and conservatives and hardcore GOP voters are not impressed. Conservative talk show hosts like Mark Levin, Rush, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity are upset with Romney's refusal to go on the offensive against Obama and state he isn't even trying to fight back against Obama's attacks. Palin is fully vetted and is not afraid to attack Obama on any issue."
Meanwhile, Chris Christie's "prospects of being Mitt Romney’s No. 2 pick seem to be fading," according to the New York Times, "and the New Jersey governor is trying to reconcile pursuit of the spotlight with his job." How does the prospect of being No. 1 strike Gov. Christie? The Convention's keynote speaker is well positioned to pick up the pieces as the consensus unity choice should the perfect storm swirling around Mitt Romney and his tax returns reach critical mass. And it isn't lost on the Romney critics and haters that being a keynote speaker is a big springboard to the presidency. So what if it's four years sooner?

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