Saturday, February 25, 2012

Would Clarence Thomas Go Broke?

The Daily Beast's Adam Winkler makes the case that Clarence Thomas could unite the Republican Party at a brokered convention:

Tea Partiers would see Thomas as one of their own ... Wall Street Republicans would be buoyed by Thomas’s opposition to environmental regulation and his free market philosophy. Blue-collar workers could embrace Thomas’s up-by-his-bootstraps story of rising from incredible poverty ... Evangelicals will like that he’s against abortion, gay rights, and limits on prayer in school.

Winkler says that Thomas would have to resign from the Court to run, but it's not clear why that must be so. It's not in the Constitution that a Justice cannot pursue elective office.

Thomas has made no indication he is interested in the presidency.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Elites Beg Daniels To Go Broke

Politico reports on the growing clamor for a brokered convention among the GOP establishment, while continuing the attempt to re-brand it as a "contested" convention. The top prospect: IN Gov. Mitch Daniels:

Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb, one of Gov. Daniels’ closest advisers, revealed to POLITICO that “the whispers have become shouts, the knocks on [Daniels’] door have become fist pounding.”

“Republicans are fretting the four dancing now can’t beat Obama in the fall — so their national talent search continues,” Holcomb said, adding that the pleas had come from “the adults” in the party.


Despite the fact that he is a top Romney surrogate, Christie, too, has received entreaties from senior Republicans, sources said, with the pitches rising again in recent weeks as Romney has struggled. The New Jersey governor hasn’t budged from the position he took last year, when he said “no,”


And just as Christie shows no signs of changing his mind, Daniels also appears unlikely to reverse course.

“He respects those approaching him greatly, but no vote from the women’s caucus at home yet,” Holcomb quipped, alluding to the opposition against a run from the Hoosier’s wife and daughters. “[It] might take an Occupy on the Governor’s Residence lawn!”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Top GOPers Betting On Broke ... If Mitt Loses Michigan

Politico's Playbook on Saturday revealed that top GOPers will not sit silently if Rick Santorum beats Mitt Romney in the Feb. 28 Michigan primary.

A tippy-top Republican, unprompted, yesterday sketched the germ of a plan for a new candidate if Rick Santorum upsets Mitt Romney ...

Our friend handed us a printout of FEC deadlines for ballot access, with five of them circled and starred: California (March 23), Montana (March 12), New Jersey (April 2), New Mexico (March 16) and South Dakota (March 27). The point: Even after Feb. 28, it might be possible to assemble a Hail Mary candidacy that could garner enough delegates to force a CONTESTED convention (a different nuance than BROKERED, which implies that someone is in charge).

Note here that these skittish GOP leaders are already thinking ahead about how to "brand" a brokered convention and avert charges that the process is being hijacked by elites.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell quickly embraced the GOP establishment's preferred branding on Meet The Press today:

..if he loses Michigan, he then is at risk in Ohio. And he is then in terrible jeopardy and I think party leaders start getting together, not a brokered convention, because nobody's going to decide this, but you will go into Tampa at the convention without anyone having a majority conceivably and then you have a contested convention and on the second ballot, Katy bar the door.

More from Politico:

...ABC’S Jonathan Karl was at the Capitol, having a conversation that resulted in this Richter-rattler: “A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race. ... Santorum? ‘He’d lose 35 states,’ the senator said, predicting the same fate for Newt Gingrich. It would have to be somebody else, the senator said. Who? ‘Jeb Bush.’”

This is a push from GOP establishment types to recruit someone "electable" from their camp. But almost surely in any broke scenario, conservative movement leaders will also try to recruit one of their own.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Palin Goes Broke

Sarah Palin, who some speculate could win a brokered convention, endorses the concept to CNN while at CPAC:

I don’t think that it would be a negative for the party, a brokered convention. And people who start screaming that a brokered convention is the worst thing for the GOP, they have an agenda. They have their own personal or political reasons for their own candidate, who they would like to see protected away from a brokered convention. That’s part of the competition, that’s part of the process. And it may happen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Regional Split May Bring Us Broke

Real Clear Politics' Sean Trende spots a trend emerging -- Santorum winning the Midwest, Gingrich the South and Romney the Northeast and West -- that could lead to a brokered convention:

there is continued resistance to Mitt Romney in the GOP among evangelicals. These voters are concentrated largely, but not exclusively, in the South. And as we see, the former House speaker ran well in South Carolina as well as in northern Florida. This caused many to conclude that Gingrich was on the verge of emerging as the definitive not-Romney.

But now we have to consider that Santorum has won Iowa and Minnesota in the Midwest, and won Colorado largely on the strength of his showing in eastern Colorado (which is basically the Great Plains). He also won Missouri -- which is culturally more southern than Midwestern -- but Gingrich wasn’t on the ballot there. For now at least, he is the "anti-Romney" in the Midwest.

If this split continues -- Romney in the West and Northeast, Gingrich in the South, and Santorum in the Midwest -- we could easily find ourselves in a scenario where no candidate crosses the 1,144-delegate threshold by the time voting ends. Consider this: Right now, Romney barely has a majority of the delegates. If Gingrich successfully contests the winner-takes-all allocation in the Florida primary (based on the RNC’s rule against such a format before April), no one would have a majority of the delegates as of today.

We will find out how viable this path is in the next few weeks. In the lead-up to Super Tuesday, we’ll probably see Romney win Arizona, Michigan and Maine. Arizona and Maine are in his demographic wheelhouse, while he is a native Michigander and his father was governor of the state. Washington is a coastal state, where Romney’s strength hasn’t been tested, so it is up in the air.

Super Tuesday will likely be tougher for him. Four of the five largest states -- Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia -- are Southern (or in Oklahoma's case, culturally Southern). Romney will likely win Virginia by default, but he will probably fare poorly in the remaining three. If Gingrich can maintain his strength in the South, he will likely win them.

On the other hand, Romney will probably do well in Massachusetts, Idaho and Vermont. Santorum seems well-positioned to win North Dakota.

So the viability of a three-way split probably comes down to Ohio, which has a fair number of evangelicals, though not to the degree that Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia do. Santorum has some strengths he can draw on in the Buckeye State, as his blue-collar message could play well even among Republicans there. If he wins, it means that we probably do have a deeply divided GOP, with Gingrich taking the anti-Romney vote in the South, and Santorum taking the anti-Romney vote in the Midwest.

The key is that neither Gingrich nor Santorum can begin to do so well that the other drops out. Both must remain effectively regional candidates.

CPACers Feeling Broke

The Washington Times reports that conservatives gathered at CPAC are "relishing" the prospect of a brokered convention, with speaker Ralph Reed openly musing about it:

Conservatives gathered in Washington this week are increasingly relishing the prospect that the Republican presidential nomination fight will extend for months, and could even lead to a brokered convention in Tampa, Fla., this summer...

...The speculation even made it onto the dais at CPAC when Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, said during a panel discussion that 2012 could make modern political history.

“I would have said that the day of the convention deciding the nomination was over and was settled by the rise of the primary,” Mr. Reed told the audience. “I’m not sure that will be the case in 2012.”...

...they have been torn in many ways between Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich — and the longer contest gives them more time to evaluate and choose among the candidates in the field...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Newt: "Could Have The First Open Convention Since 1940"

On CNN last night, before the Santorum Sweep was known, Newt Gingrich touted the possibility of winning in a brokered convention, and suggested it would strengthen the Republican Party.

BLITZER: One final political question, Mr. Speaker, before I let you go. You remember 1976, Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford, went all the way to the convention. You remember what happened. Are you in this at least until the convention? Do you think that it will go that far?

GINGRICH: Well, I don't know yet. I mean, I think -- I'm certainly in it all the way to the convention. We'll see what happens. You could have -- at the rate we're going, you could have the first open convention since 1940, which would give you something to cover that you would just love.

I have no idea how this is going to evolve. I know that I stand for the growth-oriented Reagan wing of the party that wants to see us be very dynamic and very different. And I think that fight with the establishment, as you pointed out, just like Reagan-Ford in 1976, I think that we are going to probably go a long way in distinguishing between Governor Romney's position and my position over the next couple of months.

But in addition, I think it's not harmful -- remember, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in a contest all the way up to mid- June. It didn't seem to hurt them. John McCain won early, didn't seem to help him. So I think having us out here testing out ideas, showing people that there are genuine -- not just personality differences, there are philosophical differences about how we approach America's future. I think that's very healthy for the Republican Party, and I think we're going to be a party of better new ideas and better new solutions as a result of this process.