I've been getting this question a whole lot. People have been stopping me on the street and asking me, people have been sending me e-mails, people have been social-networking it at me via twots and plus-tags and face-bots. The questions all pretty much run like this:
Can the Republicans dump Mitt Romney now? What happens if Romney decides enough is enough and he drops out? Can he even do that? Is it possible?
Let me first address the most important question in all this: This is not going to happen. Mitt Romney is staying in the race, and the fact that so many Democrats are asking this question is making me a little nervous. He could still win. This is a real outcome that could still happen in real life. He has not alienated his base, so he does have that 47% of, er, non-freeloaders on his side. Some polls still show him running neck-and-neck with Obama. If you want Obama to win, you still have to donate to the Obama campaign and volunteer to get out the vote and talk to your friends and enemies and even your family. This is important. It is nowhere near over.
But the truth is, I didn't know the procedure, so I sent an e-mail to Kirby Wilbur, the chairman of the Washington state GOP*, and asked him what would happen, hypothetically, if Romney dropped out. Wilbur's response:
Best of my knowledge, there would have to be a meeting of the Republican National Committee to fill the vacancy. There would be no new convention. And Ryan would be the likely successor, IMHO.
So that settles that. Now go back and reread the third paragraph of this post, because that's the one thing you should take away from all this.
I don't think I had you thrown out. I let the delegation know there was a reporter from the Stranger somewhere in the hotel, so beware of a nice young man and what questions he might be asking. I think we even had your picture. But we didn't do anything to remove you.
I believe Wilbur's account, but all I know is, I was kicked off the grounds of two hotels by police officers within twenty minutes. That's like Mötley Crüe levels of awesome.