1.  So Santorum punched himself in the face again.   He is regressing.  It’s like the real office he wants is Loud Guy at the End of the Bar of the United States.

2.  I looked at the Illinois exit polls that were on the 6:00 PM Fox News show.  My first impression was that Illinois would be closer than the polls showing a double digit Romney win - though Romney would still win.  I would say what might have been, but what are the odds that Santorum would have kept his political vices in check long enough to win the nomination?  It was probably never going to happen.  Still, it is a shame we almost certainly aren’t going to have a contested convention.  I’m still rooting for Santorum tonight - though not for Santorum’s sake.

3.  Avik Roy explains the Medicare reform portion of what Ross Douthat calls the Ryan Budget 2.0.  It is a lot like the Capretta-Miller Plan in that it keeps Medicare Fee For Service, bases the government’s Medicare premium support on competitive bidding for a defined Medicare benefit, and lets seniors keep the savings if they opt for a plan that costs less than the government’s premium support.  I think that this plan is both wiser as policy and more defensible as politics than the plan Ryan put out last year.  Good for him.  But as Reihan Salam points out, Ryan’s Medicare plan and other spending priorities probably mean a somewhat higher rate of taxation than Ryan budgets for (either that or substantially lower military spending - or both.) 

4.  Ryan’s plan looks like a more detailed version of the Medicare reform  laid out by Romney.  I wish that we had ten more Paul Ryans to help sell the idea of premium support Medicare.  Romney and his team of debate coaches and speech writers better get on the job of preparing him to explain and defend some version of premium support Medicare.  And they need to start right now.  Remember when Romney got in trouble for saying that he liked being able to fire people who provided him services?  Well, he was trying (and mostly failing) to explain the benefits of greater consumer choice in picking health care plans.  I can sympathize with his problem.  He has a lot more experience defending the benefits of government health insurance purchase mandates.  But he needs to get up to speed.  Obama is more articulate and more disciplined than Santorum and Obama will have a more favorable media environment.  And Romney won’t be outspending Obama five to one.

Update: Well the early results show a wide Romney win in Illinois.

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