You're already aware that I'm no fan of some Republicans' counter-productive and unrealistic public fantasies about a very late entry into the presidential field, possibly forcing a brokered convention. Sadly, it appears the din isn't going to dissipate any time soon, thanks to statements from public officials and unrelenting news media buzz. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour -- who decided against a presidential bid of his own early on in the cycle -- mused about the "outside chance" of a contested convention in an interview with NRO, suggesting that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels could still be nominated under the right circumstances:
Barbour is aware of the clamor in certain circles for his friend Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to enter the fray. Once again, “It is highly unlikely but it could happen,” he says. “It is certainly more of a possibility than ever in the past. However, in the past, the possibility was zero, so to say the odds are higher than zero is not something that, I think, you’re going to want to bet on." Daniels says he will not reconsider. But should he? “I would have liked it if he had run. He decided not to. That was his decision,” Barbour says. “I’m not going to get in the business of telling any friend of mine, ‘This is what you ought to do.’ I’m not going to do it publicly or privately. And I haven’t done it, publicly or privately.”
In Barbour's defense, it looks as though reporter Bob Costa pressed him on this remote possibility, so he wasn't proactively offering unsolicited thoughts on the issue. Nevertheless, it promulgates the meme. Sure enough, national pollster Quinnipiac is now running surveys asking Republican voters which substitute nominee they might like to see emerge from a potential brokered convention:
But if the GOP convention picks a new candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the top choice of Republicans, with 32 percent, followed by former governors Sarah Palin of Alaska and Jeb Bush of Florida with 20 percent each and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels with 15 percent…“Gov. Chris Christie remains the knight on the white horse in many Republican minds,” Brown said.
This is just absurd. Chris Christie has done everything he possibly can to convince anyone who will listen that he will not run for president in 2012. Nothing has changed for him, and the same applies to Daniels. Jeb Bush has also categorically denied a presidential run, and has a surname issue to boot. And although I'm not entirely sure what's motivating Palin's recent conspicuous stoking of the brokered convention fire, voters will recall that she chose not to run. Plus, can anyone envision a contingency in which she, of all people, manages to prevail in this already-mythical convention? Even as her favorable numbers crept up last fall, a supermajority of Republicans said they didn't want her to get into the race. I fail to see how she could claim the mantle of a consensus candidate. Then again, this entire discussion is academic because there very simply will not be a brokered convention. "Then why do you keep writing about it?" you may ask. Fair question. I'm thinking about ignoring this entire distraction from here on out, but because it's been getting wide coverage in the press (often presented with an "isn't this exciting?" tone), I felt compelled to explain why the whole enterprise merely (a) indulges a media fetish -- they're obsessed with recapturing the drama of old -- and (b) boosts Obama's re-election chances by running down the current (read: only) Republican field.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography