Ringside Seat: Lucky Mitt

Will the operatic sturm und drang of the Republican presidential race end with a whimper of anti-climatic predictability? With one week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is flailing (see below) and Ron Paul is mishandling the controversy over his racist newsletters (ditto), while Rick Santorum and Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are still squabbling over the same Christian Right turf—leading folks like Nate Silver to ask: "How Can Romney Lose?" Even Mike Huckabee, who famously said in 2008 that Romney looks like "the guy who laid you off," is predicting he'll be the nominee. Meanwhile, a Boston Globe poll shows Romney winning 44 percent of Tea Partiers' support in New Hampshire.

If the former Massachusetts governor can overcome Ron Paul's fragile edge in the Iowa polls, he could be looking like a shoo-in for the nomination next Wednesday morning. As John Heilman writes, chronicling Romney's December comeback, maybe it really is "better to be lucky than loved."

So they Say

The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts. The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system."

Newt Notes, 2006 

Daily Meme: Pearl Harbor

  • Gingrich fails to qualify for the ballot in Virginia, the state where he lives…
  • …then vows he’ll organize a write-in campaign… 
  • …except that write-in campaigns aren’t allowed in Virginia. 
  • It’s like “Pearl Harbor,” Newt and his campaign director agree
  • …inspiring Romney(!) to make a clever quip about the Gingrich campaign: “I think it’s like Lucille Ball and the chocolate factory.” 
  • Meanwhile, Gingrich’s 44-town Iowa bus tour, announced last week, has become a 22-town tour. 

What We're Reading

  • Paul didn’t always disavow his racist newsletters, as two unearthed videos show. 
  • Ohio is a political puzzle for 2012. 
  • Santorum hunts with Iowa Congressman Steve King—but can’t bag an endorsement. 
  • Senator Ben Nelson, the Democrat from Nebraska, steps away from a difficult re-election campaign in 2012. 

Poll of the Day

A Boston Globe poll shows Romney with a 22-point lead in New Hampshire—and Jon Huntsman in fourth with 11 percent.

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