Time will tell whether or not last night’s decisive primary win in Illinois will be a tipping point for Mitt Romney towards a resolution to the slog that is the Republican primary contest. Two things happened today make that possibility all the more interesting.
Primary elections have been held in thirty-four states, and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall. I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party’s nomination.
So Bush wants this over, which is an understandable thing coming from an establishment Republican endorsing the establishment candidate. (There are no active plans for Bush to campaign on behalf of Romney, which would’ve been interesting in case any reporters asked Bush about the “Stand Your Ground” law he signed in 2005, and behind which Trayvon Martin’s killer is hiding. But I digress.)
But the second thing that happened today in Romneyland offered a clue as to why they’re in such a hurry to end this long campaign in which Romney has been pushed to push his positions further and further to the Right: Romney’s campaign doesn’t seems to want you to remember that any of this happened.
Romney communications director Eric Fehrnstrom was asked this morning, “Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?”
His response was incredible on a number of levels.
FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.
My colleague Steve Benen wrote on the Maddow Blog, “Given Romney’s record of changing his positions on practically every issue, sometimes more than once, this wasn’t exactly an encouraging answer.”
What I find endlessly fascinating about this comment, combined with the Bush endorsement, is that Team Romney is in such a hurry to end this campaign that their communication director is employing unfortunate metaphors which amplify Romney’s biggest weakness, in the primary and for the general election: the fact that he’s anything but “resolute” in his policy or moral positions.
Not to get too meta, but perhaps that’s a part of the Etch-a-Sketch strategy, and we’ll all just forget Fehrnstrom ever said that. (Democrats like consultant Matt Ortega are already doing their best to ensure that we’ll always remember.)