Mitt Wins, Steps Onto Garden Rake

It was a big, historic moment for Mitt Romney, as Texas officially put him over the 1144 delegates needed to win the GOP presidential nomination. With precision timing, his team unleashed a barrage of attacks on Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy and the federal budget.

But at the moment of his triumph, Mitt was in Las Vegas grubbing for money with Donald Trump at Donald Trump’s hotel, with Newt Gingrich appearing as a sort of ragged supporting act. And thanks to The Donald’s decision to draw a little extra attention to his reemergence in Republican politics with a renewal of birther madness, that’s all the chattering classes were talking about this morning.

It was sort of a grand, summary recurrance of Romney’s habit throughout the primary season of crowning each victory with an act of stupidity.

His latest bold step forward onto a garden rake is especially baffling, as Oliver Willis noted:

There must be some data out there showing amazingly tepid support for Romney from the fringe of the Republican base, or fundraising is softer than expected — a recent investigation showed Perry/Santorum/Bachmann/Gingrich backers weren’t coalescing around Romney financially.

That’s about the only reason I can rationalize Romney’s continued affiliation with the modern (yet less successful) PT Barnum. I assumed Trump’s cringeworthy endorsement of Romney would be the last time the campaign would consort with the world’s most prominent birther. But Romney has had Trump make robocalls for him, and now he set up a campaign dinner with Trump as the featured guest.

What next? Will Trump be his running mate?

I don’t think it will come to that, but let’s stipulate this: Romney’s pattern of unforced errors will keep Democrats positive about prospects for final victory even if Mitt later builds a big lead in the polls. This does not at all mean Mitt is doomed to defeat, but certainly does indicate he’s got some strange adversity to excessive success.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.