whether Romney can win in the general election or not is not even a question the GOP establishment would ask

“This weekend, CNN released results of general election trial heats, pitting each of the four leading Republican candidates for President against both of the leading Democrats,” writes Michael Medved in a Townhall blog burst titled PRESIDENTIAL TRIAL HEATS: WHO’S WEAKEST FOR G.O.P?

The unmistakable message from this national exercise (surveying 840 voters on January 9 and 10th) is that Mitt Romney unequivocally qualifies as the weakest candidate the G.O.P. could field.

In the head-to-head contest with Barack Obama he is utterly wiped out, losing by a margin of 22 points (59% to 37%). Against Hillary Clinton, Romney fares little better, falling 18 percentage points behind (58% to 40%).

The results for other candidates show that this is a Romney problem, not a Republican problem.

John McCain, for instance, virtually ties both Obama and Clinton – running 48%-49% against Obama and 48%-50% against Clinton. In other words, in a trial heat against Barack Obama, Senator McCain runs a startling 21 points closer than does Governor Romney.

Even Mike Huckabee (despite remaining virtually unknown to many Americans) draws slightly stronger support than Romney – running 3 points closer to Obama and 4 points closer to Clinton.

After spending more money than his major opponents combined, Romney appears more and more clearly unelectable, and a Saturday column by Gail Collins in the New York Times gives a clear explanation why. “Unfortunately, there’s something about Romney’s perfect grooming, his malleability and his gee-whiz aura that seems to really irritate both the other candidates and the voters,” she writes. “What bothers voters about Romney, as it turns out, is not his Mormonism but his inherent Mitt-ness” […]

Comment: That Romney will fail in the general election offers us no consolation. Here is why: He will bring the GOP and the conservative movement down with him. Elsewhere, rumors of doom swirl about the hapless candidate from Bain Capital:

[…] “Romney rivals and the few neutrals in the Republican Party say Mr. Romney must win Michigan — with the help of traditional conservatives, sportsmen, old-timers nostalgic for his father’s governorship — and at the very least must not let Mr. McCain of Arizona build momentum with a second victory heading into South Carolina, where evangelicals, as they did in Iowa, are expected to help Mr. Huckabee,” writes Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times in an article titled Right eyes Romney rebound

Randy Brinson, whose Redeem the Vote was credited with getting young voters out in Iowa, says deals are being brokered that will make life all the more difficult for Mr. Romney.

“Already, surrogates of the Republican establishment are working behind the scenes to solidify support and favor among McCain and Huckabee, abandoning both Romney and [former Tennessee Sen. Fred] Thompson,” said Dr. Brinson, a Huckabee supporter. “Both Huckabee and McCain are considered the mavericks, and [they have] postures of wanting to bridge partisan divides on a number of issues” […]

Yeahright. Color us incredulous. Do these anonymous Republican establishment power-brokers have access to vast reserves of spare money in excess of what Romney commands? Probably not. The Republican establishment is bought and paid for. And whether Romney can win in the general or not is hardly a concern to the Republican “establishment.”

Here is where we make our case:

the editors at the National Review and the Iron Law of Institutions

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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