Are Graham, Bush and Romney just resigned to Hillary now?

So are the erstwhile voices of GOP reason utterly resigned to a President Hillary Clinton?

So are the erstwhile voices of GOP reason now utterly resigned to a President Hillary Clinton?

I can see no other reasonable explanation for Lindsey Graham raising money for Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush endorsing him.

As recently as Feb. 25 — that’s less than a month, people — our senior senator was saying “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” That’s how utterly unthinkable supporting Ted Cruz was.

That was in the same speech in which he said “My party’s gone bats— crazy,” since it was narrowing its presidential choices to Cruz and Donald Trump. There was plenty of evidence to support his assertion.

But it must be catching, because Sen. Graham is now supporting and raising funds for the unthinkable Cruz, apparently operating on the principle that Trump is even less thinkable.

Now we have this:

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz for president on Wednesday, the latest sign that the Texas senator is eagerly seeking to unite Republican Party leaders behind his campaign in an attempt to stop Donald Trump.

Securing the Bush endorsement is a coup for Cruz, who may not be well-liked by many GOP colleagues in Washington, but can now boast the support of a key political family and its vast, unrivaled donor network….


And that follows on this even greater outrage, offering clear evidence that Mitt Romney may have gone the most “bats___” of all:

First Romney recorded robocalls for Marco Rubio, then he hit the campaign trail with John Kasich. Now just a week later, he’s urging voters in Utah and Arizonanot to vote for the Ohio governor in a Cruz campaign robocall. “This is a time for Republicans across the spectrum to unite behind Ted. He is the only Republican candidate who can defeat Donald Trump,” Romney says in the message, according to Politico. “And at this point, a vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump.”

Romney said last week that he intends to vote for Cruz in Utah’s caucuses on Tuesday, but his allies stressed that he wasn’t endorsing the Texas senator. On Facebook, Romney explained that he likes Kasich and would have voted for him in Ohio, “but a vote for Governor Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail.” There was a time when saying you intend to vote for a particular candidate and urging others not to vote for anyone else would be called an endorsement, but that’s not how things work in 2016….

Gentlemen, it is clear that you have but one honorable choice at this point, given that Trump and Cruz are still what Graham accurately said they were back in January — a choice between “being shot or poisoned:” Get behind John Kasich with all your might. Work your networks to try to get friendly delegates to the convention, to support him on the ballots after Trump fails on the first.

So what if he’s coming in third in most states? That’s a whole lot better than you supposed exemplars of the party, Lindsey and Jeb, managed to do when you were running. Do you really, truly, not stand for anything?

Have some self-respect. Get behind an honorable candidate who doesn’t make you retch when you think of him being president. At the very least, strengthen his hand so that even if he can’t get nominated, there’s a rational person in better position to help determine who does.

Other sincere, mainstream Republicans — ones with less high profiles — have had no trouble doing this. What’s your problem?

Perhaps you should just come out and acknowledge that you are resigned to Hillary Clinton being elected. Because that seems the logical outcome of the courses you’re pursuing, supporting a candidate you cannot stand for the nomination.

6 thoughts on “Are Graham, Bush and Romney just resigned to Hillary now?

  1. Doug Ross

    “apparently operating on the principle that Trump is even less thinkable.”

    Or, he’s just a typical Republican Party hack doing what he has always done.

    I’m sure the $11.48 Graham is able to raise for Cruz will be the driving force that pushes Cruz to the top.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    This is all SO ironic.

    Partisans, both Democratic and Republican, regularly decry open primaries because they think adherents of the opposite party will come over and try to nominate the weakest candidate in THEIR party, so they can win in fall.

    And yet we have three loyal, leading Republicans — no one with better credentials — deliberately backing a candidate they despise, a guy who they believe would make a HORRIBLE president. AND someone who polls show would lose the election. That’s who they’re trying to put on their ballot for November.

    In other words, doing exactly what paranoids think members of the opposite party would do.

    As I say, the likely outcome of their actions is President Hillary Clinton. (Of the three, Kasich is the one Republican likely to beat her in the fall. Here are the numbers.)

    They’ve evidently decided that it’s SO important to save their precious party from Trumpism that losing in the fall is a secondary or tertiary consideration.

    Here’s something that ought to keep them up nights: Suppose they’ve miscalculated. Suppose Hillary is indicted or something, and LOSES to Cruz?

    Then where is their stupid party? And infinitely more importantly, where is the country?

  3. Mark Stewart

    It’s the perfect storm of Presidential elections. Not one candidate, standing or suspended, is worthy of the office.

    The only way this works out for the country is if a nominated Hillary does get indicted, opening the way for an actual, non-divisive, political leader. If not, it is clearly Hillary’s to lose. That makes my skin crawl, but it’s a better alternative than any the GOP is going to be able to put up this go-around.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Once again today, in their lede editorial, The Wall Street Journal rightly makes the case for what I’ve been saying.

    Against the backdrop of the GOP Establishment, against all reason, lining up behind Cruz and even, most bizarrely, urging Kasich to drop out, the paper points out what should be obvious.

    Three of the biggest points are:

    1. It’s basically impossible for Cruz to go into the convention having won the requisite 1,237 delegates, so the best hope for stopping Trump — assuming that’s the goal — is to make sure HE doesn’t go in with a guaranteed first-ballot win. Kasich staying in doesn’t keep Cruz from an outright victory, because that’s not happening anyway.
    2. The upcoming contests do not play to the strengths of Cruz. In the Northeast especially, Kasich can appeal to people whose second choice is Trump, not Cruz (it’s complicated). Only he can do the job of denying Trump delegates where they are distributed proportionally.
    3. Finally, and this is the biggie: Pretty much all available polling shows Kasich beating Hillary Clinton, and Trump and Cruz both losing to her. So is winning elections still a goal of the party at all?


    The other case for Mr. Kasich is that he’s the only candidate consistently beating Hillary Clinton in head-to-head November polling. Five polls released in the last week show him beating her by at least four points, and a new Quinnipiac survey shows him winning 47%-39%. Mr. Cruz loses 45%-42% in the Quinnipiac poll, and Mr. Trump loses by six points. In the Real Clear Politics polling average, Mr. Trump loses by 10.5 points and Mr. Cruz by 2.3.

    Polls this far out from an election often change, and Mrs. Clinton is a weak candidate. But Messrs. Cruz and Trump manage the amazing feat of being disliked even more than Mrs. Clinton, who has a net unfavorable rating of minus-13 in the March WSJ/NBC poll. Mr. Cruz comes in at minus-18 and Mr. Trump at minus-39. Mr. Kasich is a net positive 19….

    Mr. Kasich has to show he can win more delegates and states, and Wisconsin and New York in April will be crucial tests. He’ll have a hard time justifying his campaign if he is washed out there. Then again, if the nomination goes to an open convention, and if neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Trump can get a majority, perhaps the GOP delegates will want to consider a nominee who can beat Mrs. Clinton. Sounds crazy, we know, but isn’t the purpose of a political party to win elections?

    But go and read the whole thing, if you can get past the pay wall. The headline is “The Republican Predicament.”

    It’s reassuring to see someone else out there making sense. I’ve started to feel like Oliver Wendell Douglas on “Green Acres” — the one sane man in a community in which everyone else blithely accepts lunacy as right and normal…

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