In a move that is sure to go over like a lead balloon with the conservative electorate, George Will has preemptively conceded the White House to a second Obama term. Politico, which obtained an advance copy of Will's Sunday column, provides the following excerpt:
Romney and Rick Santorum … are conservatives, although of strikingly different stripes. Neither, however, seems likely to be elected … If either is nominated, conservatives should vote for him...
“[T]here would come a point when … conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than … electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate… [C]onservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013.
Is George Will simply being pragmatic here? Or do his words represent a gratuitous—and injurious—blow to Republican morale? Mark Bill Kristol down as concluding the latter.
Rarely has an intelligent man been so wrong.
By every objective measure, the GOP has a reasonable chance to defeat President Obama—probably between 1-in-3 and 1-in-2. Given this opportunity, it would be crazy not to do everything one can to effectuate an outcome so devoutly to be desired. This doesn't mean falling in line early behind an inevitable nominee or suppressing criticism of the likely nominee....
If you think the country's in decent shape, go for control of Congress. If you think it's the mid-1990s again, go for control of Congress. If you're fatalistic about American decline abroad and the end of limited, constitutional government at home, go for control of Congress. If current trends don't deeply alarm you, or if you think alarm is futile because the rot is too deep, the decline too long-standing, the problems too un-fixable—then, go for control of Congress. Try to limit the damage and slow the collapse.
But if you reject such fatalism as a failure of nerve, and such declinism as a failure of understanding—and conservatives should—then do everything you can to win the White House. Perhaps always, but certainly in 2012—there is no substitute for victory.