My family follows politics for two reason: we care about our nation and we enjoy the game.
The second motive is not a noble one, but politics is entertaining.
Nothing would be more thrilling to the political fan than an open convention where anyone could become president. A boy-orator like William Jennings Bryan could electrify the convention with a speech . . . if he came with support already. A Dick Cheney-type, too grumpy to run in the primaries, could be the nominee as a senior statesman. Delegates can vote the man or woman they wish to be President of the United States and nobody can be sure what would happen.
Just as a Constitutional Convention, once called, could do almost anything so could an open GOP convention.
That’s why most sane Americans oppose calling a Con-Con and all good Republicans dread an open convention.
For the very reason it is appealing: anything could happen and when anything can happen the result is generally worse not better.
Call me a cynic, but if so the Founders were cynical. They knew that when called to revise the Articles of Confederation, they had gone a bit mad and written an entirely new document. With men like Washington around, they did not go aground, but they might have. Counting on James Madison or George Washington getting the ear of a Convention is like counting on politicians to do the right thing: it happens, but should always make us grateful when it does.
Mitt Romney will have the most delegates and have received the most primary votes at the start of an Open Convention. If he is denied the nomination, what happens to those votes? Would we really nominate someone who received fewer votes than Romney or someone who received none at all? What would happen to the fourth of the Party that really likes Romney?
Secondly, primary vetting exposes candidates strengths and weaknesses in ways that a convention would not. Rick Perry was the kind of guy, with his big block of Texas delegates, who might have come out of the Convention. Imagine that first debate with Obama.
Third, open conventions would be nasty. Romney has built his campaign for years. He would not go down without a fight. That fight would in HD in living rooms all over America.
Fourth, we are less likely to get a unifying figure than a bland character acceptable to everyone. For every cool (though untested) General Petraeus, there is a Tim Pawlenty waiting to happen. If you think the Romney campaign is dull, imagine being The Guy Nobody Hated running against Obama.
Finally, an open convention would end up being a brokered convention. Most delegates would find their natural leaders and those natural leaders would meet in caffeine driven rooms (where Mormons would have a disadvantage!) late at night to pick someone. This unseemly method of picking the GOP nominee would be fatal. Picking under pressure usually produces Scott Campbell not Aaron Rodgers.
For any candidate to run hoping to produce an open convention is to pander to the political junkies watching Cable News while ignoring the regular voters would hate the ugliness on display.
Santorum should run no further than Pennsylvania. If he doesn’t do as well there as Romney did in Massachusetts (or at least Michigan) . . . then he cannot win. Gingrich has no pathway. Ron Paul has no pathway. Ideally, all three would bow out now so Team Romney can switch to positive ads building up his favorables and negative ads focussed on the President.