In Politico's 'Arena,' Richard Viguerie plants a wet bacio della morte on Fredo's cheek:
[M]any ... conservative activists and leaders are sitting on the sidelines waiting for some concrete actions from Romney to prove that he actually wants conservative support....
[D]uring the campaign, Romney sent every signal possible he wanted to get the nomination without owing conservatives or the tea party anything.
If I read this correctly (and "this" isn't exactly advanced cryptography), it is scarcely the ultimatum that Viguerie strains to imply. It is, rather, an early, nasty, brutish, and short goodbye--"You are nothing to me now," since Romney never was and never can be.
Wannabe-kingmaker Viguerie's argument that Mitt Romney "sent every possible signal" of political indifference to the ultraconservative base--a laughable accusation on the face of it--merely advertises Viguerie in his more customary role of regicide, not kingmaker. Philosopher-kings of Viguerie's right-wing purification requirements are an exceedingly rare breed, most having either died out with Sparta or gone on the Heritage Foundation dole. Still, right-wing crackpottery remains a thriving and profitable art form with which to bamboozle the certifiably faithful.
Just how many are among the latter? No one really knows. Nonetheless in 2011 Gallup recorded 21 percent of all Republicans as "very conservative"; and if only 10 percent of those 21 percent--let's call them Viguerie's base--were to heed Viguerie's rather unconcealed call to "sit on the sidelines" in November, that 2.1 percent margin, especially in combination with the also unknown but undeniable margin of anti-Mormon fundamentalist bigots, could easily make the game-losing difference for Romney in many an edgy swing state.
The impending and perhaps unprecedented nastiness of the coming general election campaign is almost certain to drive down the independent vote. That means base turnout could be even more decisive than usual; and the base, for Romney, stands somewhere between extraordinarily fragile and irreparable.