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Ambinder sez: “McCain veepstakes team: it’s difficult to find another candidate who’s working harder for the party than Romney right now.”

Of course the problem with Romney as a VP choice is much the same as the problem with Romney as a Presidential nominee, namely that Romney’s a hugely unpopular phony loathed by most Americans. Indeed, this problem is even more acute as a VP choice since all indications are that John McCain is one of the millions of Americans who despite Mitt Romney. Now as I said many times during the GOP primary, I think all indications are that Romney, despite his professed desire to “double Gitmo,” would be a better president than McCain. But as a candidate, he would have been a terrible choice, all but ensuring a Democratic landslide. The VP pick can only do so much harm, but it would still be an idiotic choice.

Indeed, I think Romney’s VP campaign is, on some level, just a kind of kabuki. If McCain loses in the fall, which he probably will, conservatives will engage in a bout of wishful thinking and reach the conclusion that McCain was a weak candidate who lost because he’s too heterodox even though, in reality, it’s hard to imagine any non-McCain figure being even remotely competitive. That will then create some kind of opening that Romney could effectively exploit were it not for the fact that everyone hates Mitt Romney.

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