Weigel

Ed Rollins and the Earth-2 Campaign

Jim Geraghty makes a great, clear-headed point about Ed Rollins’s new role with the Michele Bachmann presidential campaign. Forget about the “Bachmann versus Palin! Who wears this blazer better? Vote in our online poll!”-type coverage. This is Rollins being Rollins .

Obviously, candidates like Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann keep hiring Rollins, so he must do something that reassures them a great deal . Even after he attributed Christie Todd Whitman’s 1993 gubernatorial win to giving “walking around money” to African-American ministers . Even after he shocked Republicans by signing on with the presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot in June 3, 1992; even after he shocked the Perot folks by quitting, July 15, 1992. Even after he trashed former client Katherine Harris after quitting her campaign six months before Election Day .

And Geraghty doesn’t even mention the time when Rollins followed up Huckabee’s big announcement that he wouldn’t run negative ads by spilling to Sridar Pappu and saying, well, if it was up to him, he would be “firing at the groin of Mitt Romney” and knocking his teeth out.

To paraphase John Edwards, I see two campaigns today. There’s one campaign for the Republican nomination, and Mitt Romney’s winning it . There’s another campaign for the story of the Republican nomination, the battle of personalities and purity tests that is paying all of our salaries. There will be some spillover from Earth-2 to Earth-1, sure. Bachmann will put a line in the same about some vote in Congress, and it’ll become a litmus test. ThinkProgress videographers will get Herman Cain on the record about something or other, and Romney will be asked about it.

The Rollins comments are part of the Earth-2 campaign. They’re not particularly useful to Bachmann , who doesn’t need to attack any candidate to get attention. They’re not useful as a way of figuring out where we are in the campaign. They’re probably helpful to Romney; they keep the Earth-1 campaign undercovered, in stasis. Like he said to Piers Morgan when asked if Palin was taking his spotlight :

ROMNEY: She really didn’t ruin my day.

MORGAN: She tried to.

ROMNEY: Well, in a lot of respects, it’s the best thing that could happen to me. Right now, your greatest enemy is overexposure. People get tired of seeing the same person day in and day out.

Romney isn’t making any news this week. He’ll have to settle for his huge poll leads in the early primary states.

*An actual quote from Morgan in this interview: “Rick Santorum threw his hat in the ring today and sounding very puffed up, as if he’s sort of wound up like a – like a – one of those toys you get, you know, rmmmm, vroom.”