Ed Morrissey, writing at HotAir today, dismisses the idea of a brokered Republican Convention as fatally flawed:
“consider the hole from which this nominee would start. Ten weeks from the election, the party would have a nominee for which no one had cast a ballot in a primary, who has raised no money, who has built no organization, and who has articulated no platform before getting drafted at the convention. Put that up against the re-election campaign of Barack Obama and his $250-$300 million campaign fund and more from unions and the entertainment industry, and it would be a prescription for political suicide – and not just for the presidency, either.”
Morrissey makes a good point, but consider this:
The first product of a brokered Republican convention was Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
The most recent brokered Republican convention in 1940 produced Wendell Wilkie, who gave President Roosevelt a much tougher battle than Thomas Dewey would have done that year.
Of course, 2012 isn’t 1860, or even 1940.
But let’s face it, while the four surviving candidates are light years superior to the current incumbent, none of them have an outstanding record of consistently supporting the three core values of the Tea Party movement: constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets.
While Morrissey is right that the nominee emerging from a brokered convention would experience some logistical disadvantages, and could be, from a Tea Party perspective, no better than the current crop, I say let the fight in the free market of political ideas continue.
The longer this battle goes on, the more time the Tea Party movement has to build its get-out-the-vote infrastructure. And everyone knows the Republican Party get-out-the-vote infrastructure is so abysmal its virtually non-existent. And who knows? One of the four candidates might smarten up enough to realize that their best chance of winning the nomination is to align their future policies with the core values of the Tea Party movement.
Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, co-founder of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and co-organizer of Election Day Tea Party 2012. His new book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .