I watched the last segment of Mitt Romney's warning and condemnation of Donald Trump this morning (transcript here). It was part of a long string of attacks on Trump from the GOP establishment. As speeches go, it was well presented.
But it was also a recognition that the GOP can't control the Frankenstein their policies, their right-wing noise machine, and their political dog whistles have created.
If there is any positive side for Romney it's that the party's former torchbearer looked almost statesman-like for panicky Republicans. This is especially important for those who want to tame and reign in the tyrant who's on the verge of becoming their party's standard bearer.
They're hoping that by staring down Trump that Romney will help convince Republican voters in the remaining primary states that Herr Frankenstein Trump is really little more than an unprincipled and out of control political monster.
Unfortunately, there are at least three realities that will mute Romney's attack.
First, in many ways Romney's speech was more about Trump's personality than it was about defending the political principles of the GOP. As well, Romney's comments on Hillary Clinton were far more partisan than they were analytical. Finally, when an establishment "loser" criticizes an "outsider" candidate the outsider almost always emerges stronger because of the attack.
That said, the fact that Romney made his highly critical comments is still a big deal. It makes it clear the GOP's brand and its once-coded narrative are in trouble.
For those of you who didn't see it, the NY Times has an article and a nice clip of Romney's best soundbites here.