BY ERICK ERICKSON
The big difference between 2008 and 2012 is that in 2008, David beat Goliath. The base of the party rallied to the David who took out the machine no one thought could be taken out. In 2012, Goliath is beating David and no one ever really cheers for Goliath. … [Romney] will go into the general election deeply distrusted by his own base while having to woo independent voters. This is not a dazzling position to be in to beat an incumbent President. … Were I Mitt Romney I’d be wondering how I spent 5.5 times as much money as Rick Santorum and barely won Ohio. I’d be wondering who on my campaign staff gets fired first. … A win is a win is a win. But with each Romney win, he comes away even more badly bruised. The rest of March will be just as brutal. What a mess.
HOW GOOD IS THE HOUSING NEWS?
NEW YORK TIMES
The main component of the administration’s new efforts is the recent foreclosure settlement between the big banks and state and federal officials. … The settlement was announced nearly a month ago, but the specific terms have yet to be released. … The longer it takes to do an investigation, the longer it will take to secure verdicts or settlements that would include money for further antiforeclosure efforts. Because the banks held off on foreclosure while the settlement was being negotiated, reclosure filings are set to rise in the coming year to more than two million. That means more pain for struggling homeowners — and the economy. By this point, homeowners should be inundated with relief, not still anxiously awaiting help.
A GOP CAMPAIGN THAT NO ONE SEEMS ABLE TO WIN
BY HAROLD MEYERSON
The weakness of this year’s Republican field is chiefly a refraction of the weakness of the Republican electorate. Republicans want a candidate who channels their rage at Obama and the unfamiliar America — economically stagnant and increasingly multi-racial — over which he presides. They want a candidate who will turn the clock back to the economics, demographics and verities of an earlier — if needs be, mythic — time. These are not tasks that serious leaders embrace. In the absence of serious leaders, we have Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul.
MITT ROMNEY: WINNING VOTES, NOT LOVE
BY E.J. DIONNE
It is Nixon, rival to Romney’s father in 1968, who provides the words that may best explain how Mitt Romney is managing his way toward a tepid triumph. … Nixon knew that he needed the right wing but had no illusions about how its loyalists felt about him. “They don’t like me,” Nixon said, “but they tolerate me.” That is the best Romney is likely to do with the Tea Partyers and the Christian conservatives and the Southerners who don’t cotton to formerly moderate private equity guys from New England. But as it was for Nixon, this may be enough.
ROMNEY’S INTERFERENCE ON IRAN
BY JOHN KERRY
Creating false differences with President Obama to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course. Worse, Romney does not even do Americans the courtesy of describing how he would do anything different from what the Obama administration has already done… We decide big issues in the United States through debate. But let’s have an honest debate, not a contrived one. Romney should take on the man in the White House instead of inventing straw men on op-ed pages. He should depend on facts instead of empty rhetoric. If we are to avoid a nuclear Iran then at some point we must all act like statesmen, not candidates.
SANTORUM AND FREEDOM
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Does it make upper-middle class, suburban independents uncomfortable to see that Mr. Santorum’s working-class audiences push back by yelling “freedom”? Perhaps, but maybe it’s also true that upscale voters have their own way of describing the Obama-era unease. Their less rustic version is finding its way into votes for Mitt Romney. Alas, Mr. Romney is the only GOP candidate who won’t or can’t deploy on his own behalf that one powerful, damning word Barack Obama doesn’t want to hear: mandate. Rick Santorum should stay in the race, repeating from now till summer the perverse link between the ObamaCare mandate and the American idea of freedom. It looks like the best argument the GOP nominee will have for a win in November.
SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD TO TAMPA
BY LARRY SABATO
WALL STREET JOURNAL
As he stands today in the wake of Super Tuesday, Mr. Romney is solidly positioned to win the nomination, but these six key dates suggest there will be no valedictory laps until the primary season is over. Will he be newly elevated or further diminished as he grinds out a delegate majority? The answer to this critical question will determine whether Mr. Romney limps into Tampa as a damaged nominee or emerges as a strengthened, tested candidate to face President Obama.