John Stoehr, editor of the New Haven Advocate and a lecturer at Yale, has a tribune on how Mitt Romney may possibly lead the GOP out of its loony right wilderness and back to something approaching “moderation.” He thus begins
Much has been said about the Southernisation of the Republican Party, but little about the way Mitt Romney, if he secured the Grand Old Party’s presidential nomination, has a chance to wrest control from the party’s fringe and restore it to political moderation. Sure, the GOP is justly viewed as the party of big business, and one of the richest men ever to run for the White House won’t change that. But of all the primary candidates, none is more likely to put the brakes on the troubling trend of Southernisation.
Shoehr, who’s a liberal, is perfectly happy to see the GOP crack up. He’s just calling it the way he sees it. I don’t know if he’s right but I hope he is, not that I would want to see Romney win—God forbid—but because America needs a party of the right that is moderate and normal, not crazy and out on the fringe. If the center of gravity in the GOP could once again be people in the mold of Bush Sr, Reagan, Ford, and (gasp) Nixon, I would breathe a sigh of relief (I never thought I’d say such a thing…).
On this subject, TNR has a piece by William Galston, a Clintonite centrist, warning Democrats that Romney will be a stronger general election candidate than they may think. He’s probably right. And another piece in TNR, by Alec MacGillis, one of its senior editors, examines what voters really think about Romney’s wealth. Answer: the majority don’t begrudge him for it. No doubt right as well.
So if Romney is the GOP nominee—which is more than likely—it will be a close race in the fall. Anyone else Obama will blow away. As for what the Romney-hating Tea Partiers will do: they’ll vote for Mitt as one. Of course they will. And they know they will.