So pretending that I belong to a religion that prohibits linking on the Sabbath, I will offer some quick comments.
First, George Will whines that Romney is all competence and no ideology, a technocrat. He offers the example of Mitt’s unprincipled flip-flopping on ethanol (not a big issue). George fails to offer an alternative to Mitt. Mitt’s electablity issue is really a nomination issue. He is, to repeat, the last candidate standing and still not really winning among likely Republican caucus and primary voters.
Second, Herman Cain has plateaued rather than collapsed. He and Romney are tied in Iowa—with most Iowa caucus voters probably looking to vote for the best candidate who’s not Mitt. And nationwide they’re also about tied. Herman is quirky and even cute enough that the usual rules may not apply to him. From another view, the general implausibility of President Cain might be a godsend to Romney. If Herman really is the only alternative to Mitt, then surely Mitt prevails in the end. And Cain, a gentleman, would endorse Mitt enthusiastically, while, say, Ron Paul wouldn’t.
Third, Paul is not surging. Third (a), Gingrich has picked up a little, but not much. Third (b), we read that Perry is waiting to fire until he sees the whites of their eyes or something like that. Good luck with that.
Fourth, there are lots of articles on how the insiders or establishment are fine with and are betting on Romney. But everyone knows, thanks in large part to the work of Jim Ceaser, that our nomination process is biased against insiders and even against big money.
Fifth, we return to the sage observation that while the Republicans ordinarily nominate a prominent loser from a previous election (Bush the elder, Dole, Nixon, McCain etc.), this time is different. The ideologically energized voters just don’t want to settle for Romney—even with Jim Ceaser’s sage obervation that in many ways Mitt is better than a settle-for.