Thursday, February 02, 2012

With friends like these. . .

Over at the American Spectator's blog John Tabin is calling Mitt Romney's joint appearence with Donald Trump to accept Trump's endorsement "Romney's Moronic Indulgence of Trump".

Phil Klein calls Mitt Romney's joint appearance with Donald Trump to accept the latter's endorsement "the biggest blunder of his candidacy." I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's certainly up there. Consider that last time the effect of a Trump endorsement was polled, by Fox News in Spetember, it came out as a net negative: 31% would be less likely to vote for a Trump endorsee, only 6% more likely.

Those who are working to re-elect Barack Obama are thrilled by the development, touting it on the @BarackObama Twitter account and in a blast email from the Democratic National Committee. Romney will most likely be the Republican nominee, and if Trump says something particularly incindiary, one can certainly imagine an attack ad using the footage of Trump and Romney. But even if this blows over and doesn't seriously hurt Romney, it's hard to see how it can possibly help.
 What Mr. Tabin and Mr. Klein miss is that Donald Trump is capable of doing considerable damage to anyone who angers him.  As LBJ famously explained his reluctance to sack J Edgar Hoover, "I'd rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in", having a land mine somewhere ahead of you that you might or might not step on one day is better than having a guided missile locked on to you and homing in for the kill.

Trump is fully capable of - among other things - running a third party candidacy for no other reason than to deny the GOP candidate the election in exactly the same way that Ross Perot did to George H.W. Bush. 

Far better to have Trump on your side and feeling that he has a personal investment in getting you elected than hand him a perceived insult and have him dedicated to destroying you.