The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein argues that Mitt Romney would have had a much tougher road to the Republican nomination if Sarah Palin had decided to run this year:
As he approaches the task of uniting the Republican party ahead of his all but official general election campaign, Mitt Romney will benefit from the same reality that’s worked to his favor the entire race — the composition of the Republican field. Specifically, Romney is fortunate that he had to beat out Rick Santorum to claim the nomination rather than Sarah Palin.
When Romney decided to seek the presidency for the second time, his moderate to liberal record in Massachusetts was bound to trigger a challenge from the right and set up a showdown, framed in shorthand, as the establishment of the party versus the conservative base. Had Palin been in the race as the conservative alternative, it would have been very difficult for Romney to attack her given the passionate following she has among many conservatives, because he wouldn’t want to risk alienating them. Even if he had ultimately triumphed after a brutal primary fight, a lot of her loyal supporters would have found it difficult to bury the hatchet for the general election.
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