Jonathan Chait, in a rare moment of dissociation:
The smart move for Romney is to ignore conservative caterwauling. The only question is whether he’ll be able to, or whether his base, as it has done from time to time, will force him to run the campaign they want rather than the one Romney needs.
This "smart move" is the impossible move that would double as Romney's most catastrophic move. Or, looking at it from the other direction, the dumb move for Romney is to bow to and obey conservative caterwauling, which is the inescapable move that doubles as Romney's most catastrophic move.
He is that boxed in, and it is unrealistic as well as blithely un-arithmetic to imagine that Romney could ever risk alienating the right-wing base any more than he already has. Given the immense deployment of negative advertising this fall--which traditionally depresses the independent vote to the near clinical point of agoraphobia--odds are the presidential election will result with extraordinary predominance in a base-turnout operation. Even the suggestion that Romney could intelligently cease running the campaign they want is, simply, otherworldly.
But of course he's screwed running that campaign--the intelligent, obsequious campaign--too, because, simply, there aren't nearly enough votes among his base to push him over the top.
That old saying, Where there's a will, there's a way? It's horseshit. Sometimes you're just fucked, no matter what. Hello, Mitt.