The Republican Party’s last-ditch, last-gasp opposition to a Trump nomination finally has a prominent face as its symbol.
But not everyone in the party is happy with what Mitt Romney is doing.
It’s not that they object to the 2012 presidential nominee trying to prevent the current front-runner from becoming the 2016 presidential nominee.
It’s not that they disagree with Mitt called Donald a fraud, a phony, a bully, a misogynist and a bad businessman.
No, the dissent can be summed up like so: Is that all you’ve got, dude?
Some party officials resent the fact that Romney waited this long to jump into the fray. And that once he did, the former governor didn’t offer any concrete way to slow Trump’s progress.
He didn’t indicate any willingness to get into the race himself.
He didn’t endorse another candidate. And the first rule of politics is you can’t beat someone with no one.
Instead, Romney seemed to embrace a diffuse strategy for denying Trump the required 1,237 delegates: Let Marco Rubio win Florida, let John Kasich win Ohio, let Ted Cruz win states where he is strongest.
But voters don’t think, and act, that way.
Some party officials are ticked off that Romney waited until the ballgame was almost over to come off the bench; one of them even refers to Mitt with a two-word expletive.
Privately, they also raise this question: With Ben Carson now out, how long will Rubio and Cruz continue to throw the kitchen sink at Trump? If he is destined to be the nominee, they ask, at what point are the remaining contenders simply doing the Democrats’ dirty work for them?
That is a question that may take on added resonance as Trump continues to pile up victories. It could also reflect a view by some in the establishment that the time has come to make peace with the probable nominee.
It has been relatively easy for Trump to neutralize Romney’s attacks, in part by recalling how eagerly he sought the billionaire’s backing four years ago. It didn’t take media outlets long to find the videotape of Romney praising Trump and saying he was the more successful businessman.
Romney told the “Today” show that Trump is the “likely” nominee, but that a contested convention is a “realistic scenario,” while insisting he is promoting himself as an alternative.
But let’s say the Romney faction prevails, Trump falls short of the necessary delegate haul and the Cleveland convention manages to anoint someone else—maybe even Mitt.
Wouldn’t there be a revolt among Trump supporters who saw their man win the most votes by far but have the nomination stolen from him?
The GOP fell in behind Romney despite the fact that many conservatives were lukewarm toward his candidacy. Trump’s path to the prize may be far rockier.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.