Jonathan Bernstein asks if the gauntlet of the Republican primaries somehow missed vetting its nominee, and he answers somewhat in the affirmative, and somewhat in the negative:
[W]e usually have a process that can reassure his party that whatever’s out there has probably been uncovered, and I’m not sure that’s the case this time ...
... conversely, "Romney did fight for two contested nominations over two cycles, and that's something no matter what."
True, something, but not nearly enough. Between vying for a nomination and possessing a nomination there are vast chasms of exposure. Yet, as Bernstein notes, even Romney's primary competition alternated amongst the extraordinarily weak, or inept, or clownish. Romney dominated by default--however the clownishly weak, inept presence of his primary opponents was nothing compared to the absence of others: a Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie would likely have crushed Romney, but they were smart enough to pass on poking the incumbent Obama.
Ayn Randian-like, Romney shrugged yet barely struggled his way to the partisan top through sheer brute force. He pulled a howitzer in every popgun showdown, which was arguably prudent, being little but the political equivalent of the Powell doctrine. His prudence, however, stopped there, as he launched into a loopy, spacey orbit of Bain-braggadocio. He was just asking for it, and boy did he get it.
Enter the near incomprehensibility of Romney so aggressively opening himself to Ted Kennedy's effective counteroffensive of 1994. I say nearly incomprehensible, because Romney indeed went on to vanquish his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, who again tried the Kennedy strategy, in 2002. Romney must have reckoned he had put the Bain threat to rest. He got sloppy, overconfident, and arrogant.
But let's cut to the chase: Mitt Romney cannot win, he cannot beat President Obama. He is mortally self-wounded. All this neurotic bugabooing by the Beltway commentariat about a down-to-the-wire contest is almost laughably revealing of either their mathematical subliteracy or their unquenchable theatrical longings. It seems no amount of empirical evidence can persuade the pundits of Romney's bottomless doom; nor does the happy predictability of 116 more diurnal blunders and his surefire devastation at the coming presidential debates appear to faze them.
Even Republicans--or, I should say, especially Republicans--know this; they know what the commentariat refuses to concede. Now, I don't know their nominating-convention rules and loopholes and fine print and technically permissible skulduggery. But all the above makes me wonder: Is an open convention still possible?