Bluntly put, endorsements have no impact for Romney

March 8, 2012

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri endorsed Mitt Romney in the Republican contest Wednesday, just weeks after his state’s primaries, where Rick Santorum scored a victory with 55 percent of the vote.

But what exactly is the point here, Sen. Blunt?

The endorsement also comes in the aftermath of the Blunt amendment vote defeat (51 to 48 last week in the senate), which Romney initially said he was against, then turned around less than an hour later after getting his chain yanked by his campaign, and supported.

This is the bill that would have allowed employers to opt out of any aspect of healthcare coverage -- or all of it -- on personal moral grounds.

“Of course I support the Blunt amendment,” Romney said, as if there were any doubt at all, after he’d earlier said, just as unambiguously, "I'm not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I'm not going there."

Anyway, days after his amendment defeat, Blunt has decided that Romney’s stumble didn’t matter. Now that the primary’s over in Missouri and there’s virtually no chance of impact, Romney -- for whom Blunt has served as Capitol Hill liaison for the last four years -- is Blunt’s man.

Blunt joins a long line of establishment figures whose Romney endorsements have proved fruitless. Last week, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Gov. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee all gave Romney their imprimaturs -- and Romney lost all three of their states by substantial margins to Santorum. Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor, also endorsed Romney -- she campaigned heavily with him -- and he lost the state monumentally to Newt Gingrich.

Sure, there have been some endorsements that matched the victory, like Sen. John McCain in Arizona, but the entire GOP establishment came out for Romney there, and Santorum skipped Arizona. Ditto Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s nod in New Hampshire -- Romney had invested two years of his life in that state, and Ayotte came on board late in the game anyway.

Just this week, Romney racked up more establishment endorsements: Hawai’i’s former congressman Charles Djou, former Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, former Kansas senator and GOP VP candidate Bob Dole, Illinois congressman Aaron Schock, former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Tennessee Congressman Scott Desjarlais.

Most of these endorsement’s, like Blunt’s, come without money or manpower. They’re “value” endorsements to help convince voters of Romney’s conservative bonafides.

Yes, Romney’s still working on that...