Their prescience might be diminished somewhat if Romney wins of course. I've put the salient points from Packer/Waldman/Klein's articles in reverse order below Domench's, which is from September and has the advantage, in his case of seeing how things are turning out (pretty much as the other three expected).
In brief all three earlier writers envisage a Romney defeat. They bemoan the inevitable selection of a true conservative in 2016. One is saddened that the GOP did not nominate Gingrich so it could be "cured of its madness by his huge subsequent defeat". Their prescription (who asked them by the way?) is for the GOP to nominate yet another "moderate" on a moderate platform.
But since the rank and file is apparently "mad" this is unlikely to happen they say. Of course, the fact that if the Beltway grandees tried to foist anther RINO on the rank and file after two losses in a row would cause the probable breakup of the GOP doesn't enter into their thinking. But they are hardly friends of the conservative rank and file.
Next up, Benjamin Domenech at Real Clear Politics gave an overview based on current events. He sees the rank and file as having swallowed the bitter Romney pill, defeating Obama trumps all else (they can deal with President Romney later) whilst the grandees have spat the dummy.
Since the article was written Tim Pawlenty has jumped ship too which shows which way the wind is blowing. The grandees expected a foreign policy hawk (Bush 3) and kowtowing to them for their assistance in Romney getting the nomination. They see Romney as not showing any interest in hawkishness, their advice or them (having his own coterie apparently). But this is by the by.
Domenech like the other seers sees the inevitability of a rejection of the Beltway establishment in 2016 if Romney loses.They will own the loss because they bought it. They won't be able to blame the VP selection (even the radical left has stopped discussing Ryan after a brief burst of hate) nor Palin (much as they'd like to). Domenech see Romney's loss as caused by Romney simply being Romney-which is correct as I argued earlier.
What will be the consequence of the inevitable rightward shift in 2016 and who will be a likely candidate is not discussed by him. Others bring forward the scary figure of Sarah Palin and well should they be scared as the centrists and their enablers will be swept away like chaff.
Here are some of Domenech's salient points. You can read the entire article "After Foisting Romney on Base, GOP Elites Now Start to Gripe"
AT THIS LINK
"One of the most interesting aspects of the 2012 election is how the tea party movement has proven more politically mature than the center-right’s self-styled elites, and those who spent much of the Republican primary season chiding swathes of people for being insufficiently pragmatic have turned out to be far more childish than the conservative base.
For the past several weeks, Mitt Romney has been surrounded by critics from the DC-Manhattan elite who’ve denounced him for a lackluster, unfocused campaign, teeing off on Team Romney in the wake of the 47 percent comments for a number of issues—but mostly, in my read, from failing to take their advice. For months the elites bashed the base for failing to line up for Romney and come on in for the big win. But they got their wish!
In November, the insider spin after a Romney loss will likely be: “The country wasn't ready for Paul Ryan's big ideas, they should've played it safe and gone with Portman.”
There will be very negative consequences for a Romney loss for the power of center-right elites who are largely viewed as foisting him on the base despite the latter’s objections. A Romney loss almost certainly pushes the 2016 nominee rightward, and I doubt the megaphones will be powerful enough to frame the 2012 contest, as they did in 2008, as one where the conservative Veep choice dragged down the ticket.
Like it or not, the money and opinion elites on the center-right own Romney’s failure from the perspective of the base—they need him to win. And the reality is that if Romney loses, it will have little if anything to do with Paul Ryan’s big ideas, tactical choices, or elite misgivings—and far more to do with the simple fact that Romney is still disliked by most voters."
Ezra Klein is next up at The Washington Post; "What if the Republican's lose with Romney" in this series which shows how the media elite i.e. leftist, view the 2012 election & its ultimate effect on the GOP, subsequent to what they see as a Romney loss.
Klein first, and then in reverse sequence below, there is Waldman giving his insights and commenting on Packer (as does Klein) and of course Packer's New Yorker piece follows on from that. These posts are descriptive, biased to the point of being ridiculously snobbishly horrific ( the GOP returning to"mental health") but when predictive are illogical and elitist.
Klein's salient points are in italics below. Basically he like Packer and Waldman envisage a Romney loss and a move to the right candidate-wise in 2016 to match the already shift to the right policy wise. Without stating agreement, he presents Packer's argument that it would be in the GOP's best interest if a right wing candidate (Gingrich) had won the nomination, and had been soundly defeated.
Presuming he is in agreement with Packer, it is the third in the series of pundits seeing a real conservative being nominated in 2016. Well heaven forbid the ordinary fly-over country folks can actually get to choose someone who, 'in their heart of hearts" believe actually speaks for them, instead of the Beltway/Journolist conspirators/leftists who know what's good for rightists.
One can only imagine the action of the nostrils of this elite if e.g. a true conservative like Palin is nominated. That might actually be a good thing, as they might find it below them to even condescend to attack her so her ideas might escape the media filter
[and,] barring a truly extraordinary turn of events, he (Romney)is going to win the primary. That will make 2012 the second presidential primary in a row in which Republicans rallied around someone they didn't totally trust, and perhaps didn't even totally like, in order to win the general election. For all the upsets in individual primaries in 2010, Republican voters are, on net, vastly more pragmatic, at least when it comes to candidate choice, than they are typically given credit for.
But perhaps that's not such a good thing. So argues the New Yorker's George Packer, anyway. Substantively, the Republican Party has moved far to the right over the last decade. Compare Romney's platform to that of George W. Bush, for instance. The question, for many, has been whether electoral losses will force them back to the center.
So far, no.
And if Romney wins, the answer is probably still no. The Republican Party keeps choosing politicians who they don't, in their heart of hearts, truly believe to be conservative. [and] it will be the story they tell if Romney loses in 2012. You can write the post-mortem now: 'Of course America wasn't going to vote for a liberal Republican from Massachusetts who had passed the country's first individual mandate, been on both sides of Roe, and was a leveraged buyout specialist in an age of job insecurity. Next time, we absolutely have to nominate a real conservative! Next time, we''ll give Americans a real choice.'"
Paul Waldman at "The American Prospect" carries on the "what will the GOP do after Romney loses" (i.e. what sort of candidate will they run) commenced by George Packer at the "New Yorker" way back in January 2012. To give them credit both men decided well in advance that Romney would emerge as the nominee easily besting Newt Gingrich along the way.
To summarize Packer. [If] Romney wins (nomination)-what then? He asks with clear foreboding:
"But what if Romney wins the nomination and loses the election? This scenario is still the odds-on favorite.
It’s easy to picture hard-core Republicans coming to the same conclusion: Romney and the party élite betrayed the party’s principles (again, after McCain) and gave the country four more years of the hated Obama. Never again! Next time, a real conservative!”
And the consequences of that for Packer would be-unleash the Palin!
But if Romney wins the nomination and loses the election, the party will continue down into the same dark hole where Palin, Bachman, Perry, Cain, Santorum, and now Gingrich all lurk."
Packer offers the typical leftist elitism whereby the party bosses and guru’s and pundits know what is best for the hoi polloi even if a majority of them wish an alternative from the tried and failed establishment prescription.I say Palin 2016-let the people decide.
Following on from and drawing from Packer's article Paul Waldman at the American Prospect in February wrote (possiby presciently to give him his due-who would credit such a winnable campaign could be so stuffed up):
"If Romney Loses in November, Will the GOP Move to the Center? Possible? Yes. Likely? No."
Here's what I think are, edited (the whole post is at the link), Waldman's central points;
"It's not too early to start speculating about what a Mitt Romney loss in November will do to the Republican party. Will they move to the center or to the right? The simple answer is, of course they'll move to the right. As Ezra Klein says: "You can write the post-mortem now: 'Of course America wasn't going to vote for a liberal Republican from Massachusetts Next time, we''ll give Americans a real choice."
No, the real example to look at is 1992 -- in other words, whether in 2016, the GOP can make the same move to the center that the Democrats did that year.
The point is that we can talk all we want about where the GOP might or might not move, but there has to be an individual presidential candidate who will be the standard-bearer for the ideology that prevails. And who, pray tell, is the moderate Republican who is such a blazing talent that s/he will pull the party to the center?. So unless some extraordinary candidate emerges between now and then, I wouldn't bet on it happening.
Dear oh dear.The same tortuous logic as Mr. Packer exhibited. Why would the conservative rank and file, whose views apparently don't enter into the thinking of the left who are used to dictates from the top as all collective minded people do at heart, wish this 'move to the center"?.
After a McCain/Romney sequence surely even the most blinkered of elitist leftists could imagine that the rank and file would wish, and deserve, a candidate of their liking.If that person lost, well so be it, and they would have done no worse in losing than McCain/Romney did.
But apparently not. Waldman envisages some sort of elitist think tank to provide intellectual ballast to a centrist person of charisma, who, through their mystical powers, would single handed drag the unwilling rightists back to the center.
One thing Waldman is spot on about is that no such person exists. He laughably enters Mitch Daniels name into brief and discarded conjecture. The reason that no such person exists, is that there is no call for such a person now, and if Romney loses there there will be absolutely no call for such a saviour.
If Waldman and Packer are correct, as I expect they are, the call from November 7th will be for a charismatic proven leader from the right, who has been tested in the white heat of the liberal medias fire and is still standing. A leader who can go head to head with the best debaters on the left, and who is loved by the Tea Party.
That person will be , to quote Waldman," [an] individual presidential candidate who will be the standard-bearer for the ideology that prevails."
I believe the prevailing ideology will be a total rejection of the "move to the center" Beltway/Establishment type ideology and towards a true conservatism. That prevailing ideology, and the charisma required, is ideally found in Sarah Palin.