There is an old British saying — I’ve never been able to find the source of it — “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The idea, of course, is that when a crisis arises, a leader will also arise to show the way out of it. By this faith too the ancient Hebrews lived in the period of the Judges when they followed God — and no one man — as their king.
But those of us who feel the upcoming presidential election represents a crossroads of sorts are starting to find this faith in providential leadership somewhat shaken. We’re starting to think that if the man is cometh-ing he better hurry-eth up and geth here already.
Because Mitt Romney ain’t the guy. While he may win the Republican presidential nomination by default — and while he may indeed win the presidency due to desperation — it is clear from every word he says that he understands neither the peril nor the needs of the present moment. Even his supporters seem to realize that he’s not really what is called for. Even his own political strategy — don’t mess up, cling to around 23 percent of the primary voters while other candidates rise above briefly and fall below permanently, force the earliest decision possible before someone better comes along and takes the prize away — indicates that Romney himself comprehends he is no one’s idea of the nation’s savior.
The professionals and money guys in the Republican establishment don’t seem to mind that. As always, they feel that they are the old pros who take care of the all-important business of electability while we children in the base worry about such nonsense as principle and the preservation of the republic. It’s these establishment types who have traditionally delivered the truly electable choices like Bob Dole and John McCain while staunchly protecting us from extremists like Ronald Reagan. On Fox News’ Journal Editorial Report this weekend, the Wall Street Journal‘s Dorothy Rabinowitz — a cultural commentator I esteem for both her fearlessness and her insight — seemed to give voice to that establishment opinion when she said that “reason is going to have to prevail” among conservatives and that they’ll ultimately have to abandon the likes of Herman Cain and “all of the alternatives that are warming their little hearts, that they’re playing with,” and learn to live with Romney as their guy.