Remember what I’ve often pointed out here and in my Cagle column about the conventional wisdom: it truly “in the moment” — the assured assertions that X, Y, and Z will happen or are very likely to happen. Now there is a conventional wisdom shift, one that will likely help shape the press and analysts narratives in the weeks to come. After months of privately and publically saying they didn’t think that now-presumptive Republican nominee could win, now GOPers think he can:
Top Republicans, long privately skeptical about their presidential prospects, are coming around to a surprising new view — that Mitt Romney may well win the White House this November.
Margin-of-error polling, fundraising parity last month, conservative consolidation around Romney and a still-sluggish economy has senior GOP officials increasingly bullish about a nominee many winced over during a difficult primary process…
Interviews with about two dozen Republican elected officials, aides, strategists and lobbyists reveal a newfound optimism that with a competent, on-message campaign, Romney will be at least competitive with a weakened incumbent. That’s a dramatic shift from the fatalistic view many party stalwarts shared mere weeks ago.
“Romney is a lot better off than I expected him to be this quickly,” said former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who cast a primary vote for Newt Gingrich. “A lot of people were concerned that Romney, with his being the least conservative of all the Republican candidates, was going to have to work hard to unite the party — that he would have a serious sales job on his hands. But President Obama has apparently taken care of that for him.”
Barbour said that after a gaffe-filled primary, he expected a bruised Romney “to start down but hopefully not by double digits.
“But that he’s this close has surprised and encouraged me — and I think it has encouraged Republicans around the country.”
There’s more so go to the link. Also, Howard Fineman, in a post called The Incidental Candidate, argues that Romney essentially is operating as kind of product, a front and that the real people in control would be Karl Rove and other GOPers. I’d also add that with the clear support he has from the Bush family, a President Romney would be particularly open to input from Republicans who were close to or served in the two past Bush administrations. The lingering problem is that Romney’s recent political behavior suggests he’d also do most of what the party’s far right wants him to do. But the people with their hands on the levers of power would likely be those associated with Rove and the Bush family.