It’s clear that Mitt took one look at the McCain campaign, did an immediate cost-benefit analysis, and then had only one question — how do I hold these losers off at arm’s length and at the same time, maintain my position within the party?
We’ve seen this kind of “throw them under the bus,” Mitt-looking-out-for-Mitt attitude before. Remember how he did everything he could to undermine first Swift, and then O’Brian, in the gubernatorial race? Remember how he said that he wanted to increase the number of Republicans in the Legislature, but then didn’t actually campaign for anyone who was at risk of losing? Remember his speech stating that “he’s accomplished everything he wanted to do as governor” immediately prior to running — two years into his term?
Same old, same old — but now it’s on a national stage. We’ll see how it goes down with other players if McCain loses.
A couple of months ago Mitt didn’t hesitate to state that he would not be interested in serving in a McCain cabinet because he did not want a President’s young minions telling him what to do the way Nixon’s aides ordered his father around. I’ve yet to see him look comfortable speaking up in support of a McCain/Palin proposal related to the economy — in fact, some of his tap dancing around answers has been rather amusing. The quote about not wanting to make any appearances unless there are cameras present certainly rings true — it is completely in character with how he conducted himself here.
The national Republican Party is apparently hell-bent on driving out whatever moderates and dissenters are left in it (witness — Chuck Hegel, Larry Pressler, Kathleen Parker, Christopher Buckley). It’s going to be left with a Romney wing of neocon economic hawks and a Palin/Huckabee/religious right wing that doesn’t trust Romney in particular or Mormons in general — and the shivs are already out on both sides. If McCain does in fact lose, there’s going to be a nasty bloodletting all around — but who will survive in the end? Anyone want to place a bet?