This Politico piece by my frequent and welcomed guest Mike Allen is a perfect example of a powerful reporter-pundit pushing the news curve. Because it is Mike, you can trust that all of the anonymous people really exist and really did say those things to him –not the case with most stories by most D.C. reporters using anonymous sources– but the perspective is still so totally Manhattan-Beltway Media Elite Borg as to go into journalism textbooks as an example of the genre.
The D.C. GOP does exist, and it is made up of consultants and staffers and lobbyists, all of whom have agendas, and most of whom prefer candidates with past careers in the city because that is what those relationships bank on for value. Of the GOPers running right now, Daniels may have the most advanced network of friends within the City. (Not Newt, who has lived as a populist, public intellectual, not as a K Street fixer). Of course this network prefers the former head of OMB, and the same network is least connected to Huntsman, Pawlenty, and Romney.
But it doesn’t matter because the elite doesn’t pick. Voters and contributors pick. The “elite” contributors have lined up behind Romney and to a lesser extent Pawlenty. Mike quotes an “elite” insider:
“People say, ‘I wrote him a check, but I’m not going to kill myself for him, like I did last time,'” a well-connected Republican said. “If you listen long enough, to enough people, you pick that up a lot.”
Yeah, sure you do. You pick that up 10 million times on Monday. That’s just inane, but because it is a story by and for the Beltway elite, few pauses to say “That is really, really stupid, and actually, you don’t hear that a lot.”
So while I hope Mitch Daniels does get in, and Rick Perry as well, the Borg is pushing its meme of a thin and weak field. This helps the president, and it isn’t true. Even if the field stays the same it is very much the equal of what the Democrats mounted in 1992 when George W. Bush was toppled.