Over at the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky reflects over this week's Veepstakes wranglings and his colleague Peter Boyer's recent article over the not-yet-invited-to-the-convention Sarah Palin, and wonders why Romney hasn't extended the invitation to the former governor of Alaska:
Her phone hasn't rung yet. I don't understand it. She's Numero Uno with the very voters who distrust Romney. If they can trot her out there for 10 minutes, and write remarks (and make her stick to them) that say in essence, "You don't have to love Mitt Romney, but you do have to vote for him," I'd think that Romney would want that very much, especially if the religious conservatives are belly-aching about a veep choice who isn't "one of us."
Who's going to fill that slot otherwise? The buffoon Herman Cain? Rick Santorum, who became popular for about six weeks only because he wasn't Mitt Romney and whom few people give much thought to otherwise? Rick Perry, who vaporized under the slightest scrutiny and left his mark on the race by not being able to remember a list three items long? There's no one of stature except for Palin. And if I'm using "Palin" and "stature" in the same sentence without irony, that gives you an idea of how bad things are.
It's interesting to note that Tomasky's operating under the assumption that the only people who can fill a space that might otherwise be occupied by Sarah Palin are those who ran against Romney for the GOP nomination. There's no doubt that Palin, who's already off to a good start as a 2012 endorser, has kept her brand in better shape than those whom Romney defeated during his march through the primary calendar. But it actually hadn't occurred to me that any of the vanquished candidates would provide a prime-time presence at the convention.
Let's recall who Sarah Palin was at the time John McCain selected her to be his running mate: She was a state governor with a reputation in conservative circles as a reformer. Flash forward to 2012, and it's even truer now that the pride of the GOP is found in the statehouses they control, among governors who enjoy a similar "reformer" reputation, without all of Palin's silliness. The new stars in the firmament are governors like Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Tom Corbett, Nikki Haley, Bob McDonnell, Susana Martinez, Bobby Jindal and Jan Brewer.
For Republicans, this is where all the action is. These are the people who fought public sector unions at home and the Affordable Care Act in the courts. They're the ones making the economic arguments that Romney will want to say he'll bring to Washington if he's elected. Their faces tell the story of ethnic and gender diversity that the GOP wants to tell. And they don't bring the baggage -- or the terrible approval ratings -- of their colleagues in the House and Senate. (The downside? They also box Romney in on immigration reform, although this probably doesn't matter one whit to the GOP base.)
Whether Romney authors the decision or has it authored for him, I'd expect those folks to be doing most of the heavy lifting, in terms of speaking at the Republican National Convention. This doesn't necessarily rule out Palin's participation, but put yourself in Reince Priebus' shoes for a minute: When you can book these names, do you really need Sarah Palin?
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