Well, I’ve been waiting to use this headline—an erudite reference to the GILLIGAN’S ISLAND theme song—in reference to Gingrich and his second and vengeful ex-wife. I thought I’d better use it now, just in case Newt unexpectedly drops out after a poor showing Tuesday.

The polls in Florida show Romney’s lead widening, and it’s possible they underestimate what his real margain will be—due to his industry in getting his people to vote early. There’s nothing obvious Newt can do to turn things, which is probably why Mitt shouldn’t be going as negative as he is against Gingrich in these final days. The Santorum surge is certainly very modest, although enough to cause him to finish well ahead of Ron Paul. Said surge, of course, is also hindered by all that early voting. It’s difficult to see how Rick can meet the challenge of February campaigning in those random states. My advice: Bet everything on Minnesota and Michigan. Probably won’t work, but probably is better than certainly.

Professor Ceaser might be right that Mitt hit a ground-rule double on his Declaration statement (when read). But it did nothing for me when said. And we still have to be stunned when a candidate studies enough to hit a theoretical home run that wasn’t simply fed to him by some theorist.

I just read part of a softball biography of Romney, which did remind me that he is a very good guy. He raised his five sons in the Boston suburb of Belmont, where Charles Murray is locating all those irresponsible and ungrateful bourgeois bohemians. Mitt is a kind of genuinely bourgeois, deeply religious, big-family guy living in Belmont. We probably should appreciate that more than we do. So there’s nothing wrong with a bourgeois Declaration backed up by a fervently American yet deeply transcendent (Mormon) faith. Mitt needs to work on getting the electoral advantages of who he is down, because the Democrats are going to come after him ferociously with the patriarchal, “traditional” downsides.

PC is certainly right that Santorum had the advantages of being able to take a position above the real combat in the recent debate. But he certainly did so well.

In the one shoot-out between Rick and Mitt, Mitt was wounded really badly. Santorum sold the point that Romney won’t be able to campaign effectively against ObamaCare, given how similar it is in structure and weaknesses to RomneyCare. I kind of admire Romney’s determination not to take Paul Rahe’s advice and radically dissociate himself from his own work. So far nobody is pushing Ted Kennedy’s role in helping MASS not to have to pay for its new entitlement. And if you don’t have to pay, you don’t have to raise taxes.

Having said that, Romney deserves some kind of high commendation for his overall performance in that stupidly huge number of debates. And a month (February) with only one debate it in deserves not only the gratitude of every American but is an opportunity for Mitt to consolidate the advantages he certainly has earned.

I’d say (keeping in mind my predictions are never right) there’s about one chance in three there’s still a real campaign by Super Tuesday. And Gingrich and Santorum have about equal chances of still being around. Because of my irresponsible, fantastic buying into the chance for the brokered convention, I’m probably too much about hoping that my vote in Georgia will actually mean something.

Articles by Peter Lawler

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