I always though the Iowa Republican governor primary was going to have presidential implications. I just thought it was going to be before the primary itself, not after:
“It would be disrespectful to Mr. Vander Plaats and to many of Gov. Huckabee’s friends and supporters in Iowa if he were to endorse Gov. Branstad without Mr. Vander Plaat’s having already done so,” said (Huckabee spokesman) Gidley today when asked whether Huckabee had any plans to get behind the GOP gubernatorial nominee.Hard to believe that Sarah freakin' Palin made the smarter move here (with her pre-primary Branstad endorsement), but she did. Also.
There's not an easy way out of this for anyone. Instead of giving Team BVP catharsis and closure, Saturday's convention vote seems to have made them even madder. What can Branstad now possibly say or do or give to BVP to get him on board? Nothing, because despite the rhetoric Bob is all about Bob, and he's toxic to swing voters.
Branstad is smart enough to get that and has taken a strong but risky position:
“Remember that the person who opposed [Reynolds] for the nomination has been running here for 10 years, has probably spoken to everyone in that room 10 times,” Branstad said. “We took the risk of going to the most conservative base of our party, and we won it fair and square, just like I won the primary fair and square.”Ouch!
BVP and his people, meanwhile, remain unpersuadable:
...the old guard of the GOP fails to see that the political climate and this next election is not about who endorses who or a single candidate but instead about the issues and preserving our republic for our children, they will continue to drown in their own irrelevancy while most of us move on.With Huckabee now drawn in, this thing is snowballing. This has got caucus implications. If Vander Plaats goes ahead and splits, or even withholds support, and the GOP loses what at one point looked like their best shot in the nation to knock off an incumbent Democratic governor, why would the national Republican Party reward Iowa with the attention and money money money of the straw poll and the first caucuses?
And if the Republicans get pushed back, what happens to the Democrats? We might be feeling gleeful schadenfreude about the GOP in-fight, but there's 49 states that want to topple King Caucus and the parties' fates are linked.
Somebody needs to sit Bob Vander Plaats down, and soon, and tell him: "You are never, ever going to be governor of Iowa. You aren't even nominate-able, let alone electable. If you want to keep your outsized influence in state and national politics you need to stop. this. now. Losers don't get to make demands. We need that picture of your smiling face shaking Terry Branstad's hand, and we need to hear the word 'endorse,' and we need it yesterday."
Question is: can anyone do that?