Trail To The Chief: The 'Mitt, We Totally Knew Ye' GOP-Only Edition

The 'Mitt, We Totally Knew Ye' GOP-Only Edition

Campaign World –- the hermetically sealed universe of media and politicos who talk mostly to each other most of the time –- was dying to see Mitt Romney rebrand himself as authentic. The Romney aides who said this were authentically cynical about the authentic phoniness of their man.

But we knew he wasn’t running. He was building too many mansions, vowing to talk a lot about Mormonism, and sounding eerily like Elizabeth Warren. He may still have his sights set on becoming president -– of the Latter-day Saints. In that contest, he gets an "up" arrow. ALL the way up.

Back on Earth, Romney's departure was one of the events that allowed inveterate media categorizers to give shape to the early GOP race. No Mitt No Mo’ made Jeb Bush the head of the Establishment. Scott Walker wowed the Evangelical/nativist crowd in Iowa, which made him King of the (Steve) King Caucus. Marco Rubio’s boffo turn at a Koch brothers retreat gave him the lead in the heated contest to be Koch candidate-as-wholly-owned-subsidiary.

We dedicate this purest-of-pure-horse-race Trail to the Chief edition to Jonathan Alter (now of The Daily Beast) and Mickey Kaus (now of The Daily Caller), who invented the prototype at Newsweek magazine back in the day.

The idea, then as now, is that what Campaign World thinks and says is relevant, sort of. We need to cover it.

At least in a goofy chart.

1 JEB BUSHDid Jeb leave a horse head in one of Mitt's beds? Republican
2 SCOTT WALKEREvangelical with no college degree takes possession of Iowa for time being. Republican
3 MARCO RUBIOWins the KK daily double: Koch brothers straw poll and Charles Krauthammer support. Republican
4 CHRIS CHRISTIELMFAO -- acronym for his new super PAC -- Leadership Matters For America.Org. But with Romney out, nobody's laughing. Republican
5 RAND PAULFinished last in Koch straw poll. But, hey, ready to shake it off, shake it off. Republican
6 TED CRUZGood news: Steve King offers strong praise. Bad news: Steve King offers strong praise. Republican
7 MIKE HUCKABEEHas both the honor and misfortune of being carved up by the ersatz Cronkite of Fox, Megyn Kelly. Republican
8 RICK PERRYThe Willie Nelson of the GOP, this bad boy says he wears his indictment from Travis County prosecutors as a "badge of honor." Republican
9 BEN CARSONQuite the bedside manner: Stayed away from the podium in Iowa as much as he stayed away from the crazy. Republican
10 BOBBY JINDALSkips Iowa for prayer rally in Louisiana, perhaps conscious of the fact he needs some divine intervention. Republican
11 MIKE PENCEWhen did Pence become a statist? Took the Obamacare $$$; flirted with setting up Pravda of Indiana. Republican
12 CARLY FIORINAGood day in Iowa, but won’t Marissa Mayer be available soon? Republican
13 JOHN KASICHOn a multistate tour touting balanced-budget amendment: It is impossible to quip about John Kasich. Republican
14 LINDSEY GRAHAMLaunches PAC. Neocons will be well-represented in South Carolina primary. Republican
15 DONALD TRUMPOh God. Republican
16 SARAH PALINIncoherent in Iowa even by her standards. Republican

And are you on Yo? We are. We'll Yo you whenever we get word of an official campaign announcement, so you'll be the first to know when a candidate has joined the horse race. Like, for real.

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press