Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
And yet - bitter irony - Palin's self-immolation today may yet do the Republican party more harm than good. Had Palin sought and won the Republican nomination in 2012, she would almost certainly have proceeded to a Goldwater-style debacle - and dragged Republican senators, governors and representatives down with her. That would have been a miserable result. And yet it also would have been a clarifying one. Republicans would have got Palin and Palinism out of their systems in a sharp and painful lesson that would have opened the way to the kind of reconstruction that has occurred in, say, the United Kingdom.
Now the steady and diligent Mitt Romney now emerges as the far and away Republican front-runner. Romney used to be exactly the kind of presidential candidate the GOP needed: accomplished, intelligent, knowledgeable. But a Republican party that has not learned why Palin was a problem has pressed Romney into turning himself into a Palin replica. If Romney loses in 2012, the same pressures will be applied to his successor. Spared the misery of massive defeat, Republicans will also be denied the lessons of defeat - and the hope of a rapid recovery.
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