Jay Cost makes the case for McCain picking Romney NOW

As always an excellent analysis by Jay Cost on the plusses and minuses of picking Mitt Romney. He also discounts many of the advantages we have kicked around among ourselves.His primary thesis, however, is that Romney can do McCain’s dirty work for him (bolding mine):

Anybody who followed the primaries closely noted that Romney was a frequent critic of his fellow Republicans. His campaign put him on the attack early and often. I thought this was a bad strategy, and I noted it at the time. That being said, Romney executed this bad strategy very well. He reminded me of a cross between Al Smith and Spiro Agnew. Chris Cilizza recently referred to him as the “smiling assassin.” For what they were, his primary attacks were very good. Picking Romney means putting the McCain campaign’s attacks in his mouth. That should make them much more effective. Never in his political career has Obama encountered an opponent who can land a blow as well as Romney. Furthermore, picking Romney will help retain McCain’s reputation. If McCain does not have to attack Obama, he can return to being the maverick straight talker.

Jay also discusses the negatives against picking Romney. Several of them are ones I hadn’t considered, but which are reasonable. He also discounts many of the standard ones we talk about. In particular, the evangelical question:

2 – Romney will alienate evangelicals. Maybe, but my feeling is that evangelical voters are going to vote. Again, turnout will be high if the election is close. So if they vote, who will they vote for? Barack Obama? Bob Barr? Ralph Nader? No, no, and no. Evangelicals are usually Republicans, which means we should expect them to vote Republican. Plus, Obama would never touch the “Mormon issue,” not even with a ten-foot poll. That will minimize its salience.

Overall, well worth a read. I doubt if it will convince anyone at Redstate one way or another. But Jay is a pretty smart guy, and has been proven right many more times that wrong.