Rich Galen

In the 1965 film "The Agony and the Ecstasy" Michelangelo (played by Charlton Heston) is taking his sweet time painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Pope Julius II (played by Rex Harrison) loses his patience and asks, "When will you make an end?"

To which Michelangelo responds, "When I am finished."

That's pretty much the status of the GOP primary campaign. Washington-based reporters (now faced with no election activity until February 28 when Arizona and Michigan have their primaries) are expending a great deal of energy asking each other "When will they make an end?"

It is useful to remember that in 2008 Barack Obama didn't sew up the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton until June. JUNE!

This is the second week in February.

Even on the Republican side, when John McCain essentially was declared the victor after the Florida primary on January 29, 2008 the campaign went on and both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee won states post-Florida.

Here's who won what after Florida:

Romney wins:






North Dakota

Huckabee wins:





West Virginia


Because the Washington press corps has no primaries, caucuses, nor debates to write about this week, they have turned their attention to the quadrennial question: Will there be a brokered convention?

I know you already know this but the last "brokered" convention, i.e. a convention in which it took more than one ballot to choose a nominee was the 1952 Democratic Convention which chose Adlai Stevenson on the third ballot.

That was 60 years ago.

The granddaddy of 20th century brokered conventions was the 1924 Democratic convention which pitted the Wets (anti-Prohibition) v the Drys (Pro-Prohibition) in which Alfred E. Smith and William G. McAdoo battled through 102 ballots before an exhausted convention turned to John W. Davis as its nominee on the 103rd.

Stevenson was beaten by Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and Davis was soundly defeated by the high-energy Republican candidate, Calvin Coolidge, telling us that … well, telling us nothing about brokered conventions because in 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was nominated on the 4th ballot in Chicago and went on to win election that year (against Herbert Hoover), in 1936 (against Alf Landon), in 1940 (against Wendell Willkie), and in 1944 (against Thomas Dewey).

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at