Mitt Romney was not serious about finding a 3rd Party candidate. Or maybe he is still afflicted with the same terminal lack of imagination and audacity that doomed his 2012 Presidential run.
Because there is no way a serious examination of the prospect would lead anyone to conclude that the three best options for a third party run are Mitt Romney, an until recently cancer-stricken Tom Coburn and (the stupid of this burns) Trump toady John Kasich.
I’ve already made it clear where I think anyone seeking to recruit a credible candidate for a 3rd Party run is most likely to meet with success; from the ranks of retired General officers with high command and national security experience.
A military man …
- … would satisfy the outcry for an “outsider” far more than a sitting or former Governor, Senator or Presidential candidate. The last time a career military officer was elected to the Presidency was 1952.
- … would have some immunity from the “cheating” charge that would dog someone who ran and lost against Trump (including Cruz). After all, Trump was forced to sign a pledge that he will not run as an Independent if he didn’t win.
- … would be much less vulnerable to challenges about his failure to run earlier in the cycle than another Governor or Senator. Any other Governor or Senator who decides to throw his hat in at this point will have to answer questions about why he or she didn’t have the courage and conviction to run earlier in addition to the charge of “cheating.”
- … can say with believable conviction that neither Trump nor Hillary are fit to be Commander-in-Chief and claim that it is that fact and that alone which has spurred him to jump into the arena.
- … will be, and will automatically be seen as well qualified and experienced in national security and foreign policy matters – especially one who has worn the stars of a General or an Admiral. Certainly far more so than Trump or Hillary Clinton, despite her stint as Secretary of State.
Now, if Mitt Romney and his people had been serious about standing up an Independent candidate, they would have considered all this (and perhaps come to some other conclusion) – but the mere fact that Kasich was even considered as a viable final option suggests that not much thought was given to it at all.
Now, if I were in charge; a serious attempt to recruit an Independent candidate would have meant establishing a research team to start looking through a list of retired 2 star, 3 star and 4 star Generals and Admirals at or under the age of 70 with a focus on men (and women) who have served as Commanders, Deputy Commanders and Chiefs of Staff of one of the Unified Combatant Commands, former Service Chiefs and Vice Chiefs, Major Component Commanders and Directors of the Joint Staff.
Then we’d look at the conditions of their retirement, their health status, public activities, appearances and endorsements since retirement, political donations to causes, candidates and PACs, registered partisan affiliation (preferably Republican), the tell-tale partisan affiliations and political activities of their immediate family members, and any club and organizational memberships e.g. an NRA/GOA member can usually be assumed to be solid on the Second Amendment. A donation to Planned Parenthood removes him from the list.
From there, we create a shortlist and sort according to rank and position/billet at retirement, likelihood of being a Republican, national security and foreign policy experience at the strategic level, age, education, family situation, post-retirement activities, etc.
All this need not take more than a few days.
Then we start making calls and asking for an appointment. Then we make the pitch; would he be willing to serve once more, this time not in uniform but at the top of the chain of command?
Maybe none would say yes – they have put in their time in the Armed Services and are done.
But maybe there would be one or two who would be just as horrified at the thought of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief as the rest of us and feel so strongly about it that he would agree to come back for one more tour of duty.
Concurrently, while the list is being sorted and sifted through, the GOP’s traditional money men and donors – people who can certainly read the polls coming out of what-should-be solid Red States, and would balk at giving their money to a vulgar man who is a billionaire in his own right – would be sounded out and be given something of a heads-up to warm up their check writing hands.
Then I’d go meet with Ted Cruz. I’ll ask not only for his endorsement but also his organization, and his support. I’d go to meet Scott Walker and ask for his endorsement as well. I’d get Ben Sasse to sign on. I would get Glenn Beck, Charlie Sykes and Mark Levin onboard.
Then we call a Press Conference and announce our campaign. We introduce the candidate with copies of the candidate’s Tax Returns, academic transcripts, military fitness reports and his most recent medical report ready for distribution. Just for kicks, we’ll include his Birth Certificate.
What we will be aiming for is to portray our candidate as a modern-day Cincinnatus, with nothing to hide and no hidden agenda, simply stepping up to answer the call of duty. Having a blunt, no-nonsense persona would be a positive. Another point to prove is that it is entirely possible to be politically incorrect without being crude and vulgar.
The media interest would be immense, and it would be in our interest to take all advantage of it. Given the time constraints, we cannot afford to be too discriminatory about who we will accept an invitation for an interview from – hostile or not.
Then we continue seeking endorsements, including people (e.g. Perry, Paul, Jindal, etc.) and organizations that have already endorsed Donald Trump for lack of a viable alternative. We’ll ask them to rescind their endorsement of Trump and endorse our candidate instead.
The aim here is two-fold; set up a viable Independent run, and also set it up so that a feasible play can be made for the Republican nomination at the National Convention. Like I have argued already, if it looks like giving the nomination to Trump will be electoral suicide up and down the ballot, the delegates might be open to giving it to someone else.
Anyway, that’s what I’d do if I had Romney’s resources and I was serious about recruiting a 3rd Party candidate.