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Pete’s bitterly hilarious post below on Romney being authentically vacuous—knowing it, loving it, bragging about it etc.—deserves a wide audience. But it seems to be, in its way, a sad goodbye to Romney bashing or a prelude to a long effort to be in love with MItt.

Having read three articles about efforts to stop Romney, I now know he almost surely won’t be stopped.

Efforts to stop particular candidates with no other really good candidate in mind, it goes without saying, never work. Remember Goldwater, McGovern, Carter, etc.

The reasons to stop Goldwater and McGovern began with avoiding the inevitable disaster in November. The “stop movements” were led by the party establishment.

Romney is way short of inevitable disaster. He might win. He won’t lose big. And the establishment is for him. The stop Romney groups are composed of pretty marginal figures. Most TEA PARTIERS want to stop him, I think, but that’s not to say they have any idea how or even really hate him.

A sign of hope for the stoppers is that most recent poll has Romney at only 23% with Gingrich, to quote Ron Paul, “nibbling at his heels.” The bad news is that Gingrich is second and Santorum third. The doubly bad news is that neither of those guys is going to drop out, especially in favor of the other.

Santorum would surely prefer Romney to Gingrich, after all. I would too, of course. Even Pete . . .

And Gingrich Romney to Santorum, if he stops being angry and thinks a bit. Pete is probably right that Santorum isn’t savvy enough to be a match for Obama. Romney may be short on principle or personal political compass, but he’s fairly long on skill and very long on money. He’s not corrupt and his personal life is decent and admirable. He has the virtues that come with being really rich and authentically religious.

The fact that Romney is probably unstoppable is far from the worst thing imaginable. Pete is, of course, grudgingly making that point, adding that it’s hard to be happy about a party in which everyone else running seems worse than running competently but on empty.

Here’s one way this might be like 1996. Lots of what Gingrich did as speaker was based on paving the way for the Republicans to regain the White House in 1996. And then, rather amazingly, they nominated Dole, a fine Senator very short on articulate principle and charisma. They didn’t nominate, it seems, with winning firmly in mind.

Same with Boehner . . .

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