Some people have asked me of late: Why does it appear that the entire Romney-Baker-Brown Massachusetts GOP establishment is backing an unknown guy with little history of helping the party, over Dan Winslow, who was Governor Mitt Romney's chief counsel and campaign attorney for Scott Brown?
Well, I don't have the full answer for you. But I can tell you one big piece of the puzzle.
You may recall an effort called Americans Elect from this past Presidential election cycle. The idea behind it was to strike a blow against two-party horribleness by gaining ballot access for a third candidate, to be chosen by some sort of online nomination and vote of the people.
It ended up fizzling out. But for a long time, a lot of people really thought that there was going to be a third Presidential candidate on the ballot in all (or nearly all) 50 states, with some money and organization and media interest.
Which, had it happened, would have probably been bad for Romney. First off, it presumably would have attracted more anti-incumbent votes than pro-incumbent votes. Secondly, the potential Americans Elect candidates tended to be Republicans annoyed with the GOP -- Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Jon Huntsman, etc. -- who could have peeled off a portion of the Republican base.
So, you can imagine that Romney and his people were not too keen on the whole effort.
Well, Dan Winslow was a part of Americans Elect, serving as chief legal counsel, "senior leader," and frequent spokesperson.
I get the sense that there is more to the rift than the Americans Elect thing, but that this is certainly a big piece of it.
Let's be frank: you can't go around aiding an effort explicitly in opposition to the GOP Presidential nominee, and then expect that nominee and his people to assist your future campaigns.
And you can't go around aiding an effort explicitly in opposition to a major political party, and then expect that party's establishment to assist you in becoming its nominee for high office.
You can view Winslow's involvement in Americans Elect as noble if you wish. But nobody should be surprised that the bulk of the Massachusetts GOP establishment now intends to squash him like a grape.