Those who have stood aside—and who now may have concluded, as they may not have when they announced their original decision, that the current field is lacking—will surely hear the words of Thomas Paine echoing down the centuries: “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Now is not a time for leaders to engage in clever calculations of the odds of success, or to succumb to concerns about how they will look if they enter the fray and fall short. Now is a time to come to the aid of our country.
A mere week away from the Iowa caucuses, this is embarrassing...for Republicans, for the current candidates and especially for Mitt Romney.
But what Kristol won't tell you is why - in addition to being worried about "teh crazy" candidates - the Republican establishment is even worried about a Romney nomination. They'll leave that task to someone like John Hawkins who lays out "7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney's Electability is a Myth." In summary:
1. People just don't like Mitt Romney
2. He's a proven political loser
3. He'll run weak in the Southern states
4. All of Mitt's primary advantages disappear in a general election
5. Bain Capital
6. The Mormon Factor
7. He's a flip-flopper
For a conservative commenting on their "electable" candidate, the list and his rationale for all but #4 are compelling.
So no matter whether they're willing to say it outright as Hawkins has done or via calls for alternatives as Kristol did today, I can assure you...the Republican establishment is terrified about how this election is unfolding at this point.
The good news for us is that - as I said yesterday - they continue to misdiagnose the problem as being all about the wrong leader. The truth is that they set the stage for all of this 3 years ago when they adopted the short-term strategy of catering to the ideological extremists in their Party. That gave them a victory in the 2010 midterms but is turning out to be a near-fatal decision in the long term.