From early on in the campaign, one of the key advantages that Mitt Romney claimed in his march to the nomination was the portfolio of endorsements he received from Republican Party figures and leaders. And let's give credit where it's due -- many of Romney's endorsers were willing to sign their name on the dotted line while the nomination was still uncertain. Folks like Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, John Sununu, Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley, John McCain, Rick Snyder ... these folks stepped up and lent Romney their imprimatur at a time when Romney could really use the support.
Also, Donald Trump was there. And Christine O'Donnell, whose endorsement was actually warmly accepted by Romney, instead of leading to some mid-level campaign staffer telling her, "Hey, great, Christine, but ... you know, you don't have to go around telling people about that, just vote for us in November, 'kay?"
But despite these two aforementioned setbacks, Romney wended his way through the primary process, collecting timely support and key allies. And now that Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race, Romney's still picking up endorsements. But these are neither timely, nor are they key. These are, instead, the gutless endorsers who held out until the very last minute to join up with Mitt Romney. Bandwagon jumpers like Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey -- who now isn't going to have to take a chance ahead of the Pennsylvania primary and stick his neck out for Romney.
They all basically sound like this:
"I congratulate Rick Santorum on a hard-fought primary race/valiant fight/spirited effort. I congratulate Governor Romney on his hard-fought race also. It's time for Republicans to focus their energies on/coalesce behind/come together and focus on/come together and rally around Governor Romney, because he is exactly the kind of leader America needs, I suddenly realized just a few minutes ago, when I learned that he would be the nominee anyway, so, that's that then. Can I go now? Do you validate parking? No? Okay, just thought I'd check."
Sure, these people all sort of speak the same language of some of Romney's recent endorsers, like President H.W. Bush, his son Jeb, Jeb's BFF Sen. Marco Rubio, and the like. But at least those fellows made their preference clear at a time when Santorum was still a dimly-lit Romney alternative. Now, we just have joiners.
And we still have several notable people still hemming and hawing. Jim DeMint, Haley Barbour and Rudy Giuliani have yet to offer an endorsement. What are they waiting for, exactly? And what's the deal with Lindsay Graham? Yesterday, he released a statement that read much the same as the other post-Santorum endorsers, saying, "Now is the time to get behind Mitt Romney as our presidential nominee so that every corner of the Republican Party is united." Simple enough, right? Well, apparently not.
According to Graham spokesman Scott Farmer, though, this was not an official endorsement, but a continuation of what Graham has said about Romney in the past, saying he's "singing off the page he's been singing off of for several weeks now. Romney's going to be the nominee."
Oh, great! Definitely make it clear that you are merely acknowledging the current conditions. You don't want to risk anyone thinking that you enjoy them, though!
At any rate, not all presidential endorsers are created equal. And we'll help those that offered Romney their help when it mattered take credit, by keeping an eye on all of those who couldn't be bothered until nothing was at stake, right here.