‘Top GOP Senator’ To ABC News: If Romney Loses Michigan, ‘He Will Publicly Call’ For Jeb Bush
For those out there loving the current Republican race but worrying that it has become somewhat orthodox in appearance and stable in candidates and support numbers, fear not: ABC News’ Jonathan Karl has the blind item for you. In the most mysterious and, for the GOP, worrisome dispatch on the Republican field in a while, Karl reports that a “prominent Republican senator” told him that the Party will not stand for a Mitt Romney loss in Michigan, and that he expects a result like that to lead the Senator to “publicly call for the party to find a new candidate,” likely former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The report begins with an unsurprising statement: that Republicans cannot see Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich winning the general election (of course, since this is GOP establishment, Rep. Ron Paul isn’t even mentioned) and would have wanted a stronger candidate. “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,” the top senator told Karl.
What is news in this dispatch, however, is that the Senator does not think it is too late to throw the entire GOP field out and just call for Jeb Bush to run:
“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.
The senator believes Romney will ultimately win in Michigan but says he will publicly call for the party to find a new candidate if he does not.
“We’d get killed,” the senator said if Romney manages to win the nomination after he failed to win the state in which he grew up.
“He’d be too damaged,” he said. “If he can’t even win in Michigan, where his family is from, where he grew up.”
It would have to be somebody else, the senator said. Who? “Jeb Bush,” the former Florida governor.
This report is important for two reasons, the first being obvious: that an establishment where “top Senators” (Saxby Chambliss? Orrin Hatch?) feel comfortable enough to gab to the media about how much they dislike the current field is one that will likely not do all the much to help whoever comes out of this race win. Someone with the experience of a top Senator knows how much damage these reports can do to a party, creating the image of a fragmented, Democrats-circa-1968 mess that RNC chair Reince Priebus seems to have absolutely no control over provides.
The second reason takes a bit more observation of the field. There are two very strong factions within the Republican Party that, some will argue, are responsible for tearing it apart the way it has been these past few months. The Senator only represents one of them. The other has barely anything to do with the RNC proper anymore, and happens to be prancing around the airwaves, calling out to voters, “Look at me! Vote for me! Disregard my complete lack of desire to do the work it takes to construct a presidential campaign!” Yes, the other half of the party wants a brokered convention, too; as much as the First Dude may claim he is supporting Newt Gingrich for the presidency, Sarah Palin‘s comments belie an endorsement not for the Speaker, but for chaos in itself– the sort of chaos from which she has a chance of arising victor.
Skeptics will note that the evidence for a parallel election being run in the Republican Party between Jeb Bush and Sarah Palin is merely her statements, often vague, and the word of an anonymous Senator. But the more these sort of comments and reports accumulate, the more apparent it is that the Tea Party put a serious dent into the establishment of the Republican Party in a way that left no desirable options on the official table for seemingly anyone in the Party.
[Photo via Orlando Sentinel]
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