If it was going to happen at all, Idaho’s intense U.S. House primary makes sense as a venue for Mitt Romney’s return to the campaign trail. Yes, he’s predictably backing endangered Republican Establishment incumbent Mike Simpson. But it’s not his ideological orientation, whatever you judge it to be after his many changes of protective coloration, that makes him attractive in eastern Idaho: it’s his special status as a trailblazer for LDS folk, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Beth Reinhard reports:
Mitt Romney is making his first foray into the 2014 campaign airwaves, appearing in a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce television spot touting Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson in an increasingly heated Republican primary.
It’s not surprising that the chamber would turn to the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and a fellow Mormon to vouch for the congressman. The conservative eastern Idaho district has one of the highest concentrations of Mormons in the country and heavily favored Mr. Romney in the 2012 election.
“You can take it from me: the conservative choice for congress is Mike Simpson,” Mr. Romney says directly to the camera, pointing to the congressman’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care law and support for federal spending cuts.
Yeah, having spent the 2008 cycle posing as a “true conservative” and then spending the 2012 cycle pandering to the Right before trying to etch-a-sketch back to the center (a maneuver he blew up with his 49% video), Mitt knows all about the importance of such incantations. But in this case his image will be projected into a place where he will always wear a halo.