Ralph, who probably is about to put out an all-points bulletin for me, asks below:
"From the perspective of pure electoral politics, what does Mitt Romney bring to the table? Is he the best choice in order for the Republicans to retain the White House? If not, who would be better?"Here are just a few quick thoughts about the first question:
Temper. Romney brings a steady adulthood to the ticket. McCain's poor temperament is, well, tempered by Romney's even-keeled, patient, classy demeanor. Of course, this is merely psychological window-dressing for the McCain campaign, but is is worth something.
Money. Romney knows how to raise it, and he had the best fund-raising machine of anyone in the race on the GOP side, by far. All of Mike Huckabee's whining about how he lacked the funds to compete against Mitt ignored the fact that no Republican campaign organized its fund-raising effort better, worked harder at raising money, or actually raised more than Romney's. That's one reason the other campaigns disliked him so much: He had the money they wished they had. If McCain adds Romney to the ticket, he has that fund-raising machine. In fact, it's been reported that the Governor's top fund-raisers have already met with McCain's people.
Conservative credentials. Remember, Mitt got National Review's endorsement. Yes, his most ardent foes will want to talk about statements he made in 1994, but Romney has something no other serious candidate in the GOP race has: A consistently conservative record as an office-holder.
Values voter credentials. Some will scoff at this, but Romney consistently won the votes of this demographic, even against Huckabee, except in anomalous Iowa and the Deep South, where he still was close to Huck.
A candidate who could be president. Romney's qualified and has the gravitas to serve if a President McCain falters. Let's face it: The idea of a President Huckabee scares people. A President Romney scares no one, except perhaps Al Mohler, some religious extremists, and hard-core lefty politicos.
So there you go, Ralph. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!