Mitt Romney's time has come. But will he admit it?
Romney has won six primaries and caucuses tonight. None of them matters. The two primaries—Utah and Massachusetts—took place in his home state. Four caucuses—North Dakota, Colorado, Montana, and Minnesota—have turned Romney Red. Not exactly an all-star list of high-impact states. The Washington Post is projecting he'll take home 67 delegates.
Even worse: Mike Huckabee is pouring metaphor-laced salt in his wounds. The South badly wanted to elect somebody other than McCain, and it seems nearly every state (with the possible exception of Missouri) chose Huckabee over Romney. Republican voters, faced with a choice between a say-anything robo-pol and a genuine, slightly nutty Southern boy, chose the guy without any money. Romney was so noxious that Republicans actually chose the less viable candidate—not what Republicans are supposed to do.
So, what now? Romney's last hope was to remain relevant in California, but that worked about as well as his two-dozen different campaign messages. The next few contests—Kansas, Louisiana, Washington, Virginia, and Maryland—don't really favor him, but that's because the country doesn't favor him. The only region where Romney did especially well was in the mountain West, where Mormons live and news stories go to die. His political life has run its course. It's time to end it.
We may not see a withdrawal tomorrow, but we should--if only for Romney to save face and his bank account. Between him and Giuliani, the fall's front-runners have both faltered miserably. Instead we're left with two candidates, both of whom had no money, no momentum, and no chance in hell in December. It looks like Romney really is a turnaround specialist. Except this time, he turned himself around.