TAMPA, FL — It’s fitting that one of the most enduring images of the 2012 Republican National Convention was Clint Eastwood’s empty chair, since the main purpose of the confab was crowning Mitt Romney as the titular leader of the party, finally filling the seat of GOP power that has remained more or less vacant since John McCain was vanquished by President Barack Obama four years ago.
As the saying goes, when you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die. After his defeat in 2008, Mr. McCain didn’t even bother joining the primary combatants vying to lead the elephant herd into battle against President Obama in this year’s race. His second, Sarah Palin, didn’t have a place in the primaries or at the convention in Tampa. Instead, she was banished to her Facebook page, where she railed against her overlords at Fox News for canceling all of her scheduled appearances, in which she’d hoped to take to the airwaves in praise of Mr. McCain on the night of his RNC cameo.
Like any coronation, last week’s convention was supposed to be a time for Mr. Romney’s fellow Republicans to rally around him and march into combat by his side. However, the ascent of the House of Romney was accomplished without the blessing of the conservative and libertarian factions of the party. As a result, Tampa became a theater for the sorts of behind-the-scenes drama, intrigue and power plays that so often accompany these matters of dynastic succession. Though ostensibly acting as standard bearers for Mr. Romney, the other lords of the GOP seemed to be more interested in plotting their own ascendancies four years from now than in following Mitt into battle against President Obama. Continue reading “Watch the Throne: While Eastwood Talks to an Empty Chair, the Lords of the GOP Angle for a Seat at the Table”