IT'S MITT! OH NO.BY CHARLES BLOWNEW YORK TIMESThe dream is dying. There will be no dynamic, charismatic, Reaganesque Republican presidential nominee this cycle. There won’t even be a consistent conservative. There will only be Mitt Romney. ... But this is likely the result of resignation, not enthusiasm. ... It’s Mitt — the flavorless force who is willing to flow in any direction to get a vote. ... That sound you hear is the sound of despair — the hard swallowing and deep breathing by reluctant Republicans crossing their fingers and praying for the best. Maybe Romney will pick a game-changing running mate. Remember how well that worked last time?
SEND IN THE CLOWNS, AND CHEESEBY GAIL COLLINSNEW YORK TIMESThe Obama administration has actually had its agency chiefs reviewing the money spent on conferences since last fall, and claims it has already saved $280 million. Minus, I guess, $822,751. The State Department said it has figured out how to hold most of its conferences in government facilities rather than hotels, and that's my take-away thought. If the G.S.A. party animals had done their team-building in a federal office, I'll bet there would have been a lot fewer shrimp and commemorative coins. They should have been able to find a spot, what with being the people whose job is managing government buildings.
UP CLOSE AND IMPERSONALBY DANA MILBANKWASHINGTON POSTLeave it to Mitt Romney to restrict press access at a newspaper convention. Just before his speech Wednesday to the American Society of News Editors, word emerged that the Republican presidential front-runner would not allow photographers to get closer than 150 feet while he spoke. The journalists protested, noting that President Obama, speaking to the same group Tuesday in the same ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park, allowed photographers to shoot just a few feet from him. ... The juxtaposition — up-close Obama and stand-back Romney — was an apt beginning to the presidential campaign. ... [Romney] is clearly aware of his style deficit, because he closed with a wish for November that “our choice will not be one of party or personality.” And if the campaign is about personality? To paraphrase Yogi Berra, Romney will be an overwhelming underdog.A KINDER MIX OF RELIGION AND POLITICS DURING HOLY WEEKBY E.J. DIONNEWASHINGTON POST[I]f Easter is about liberation, this liberation must include intellectual freedom. It entails a tempered approach to politics involving a steady quest for human improvement, not false promises of perfection or wild claims about the demonic character of one’s opponents. Elections, even an election as important as this year’s, should not be routinely cast as Armageddon. Oh, yes, and a compassionless Christianity is no Christianity at all. I have always been moved by this presentation of Jesus from a Catholic Eucharistic prayer: “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom, and to those in sorrow, joy.” To which one can say: Alleluia.THE SUPREME COURT LANDS IN OZBY DANIEL HENNINGERWALL STREET JOURNALIt appears to be unprecedented however for a U.S. president to have attacked the Supreme Court before it handed down its decision. Some think Mr. Obama and his progressive infantry are trying to intimidate the Justices, specifically Justice Anthony Kennedy. But most legal commentary has said the president's attack is likely to anger the justices, perhaps including some of the court's liberals. Mr. Obama's notion of judicial review diminishes all the members of any court, not just its conservatives. It doesn't help the always difficult struggle for an independent judiciary in other countries if an American president is issuing Venezuela-like statements on U.S. courts.IS IT OVER?BY BILL KRISTOLTHE WEEKLY STANDARDRomney is fifteen years older than President Obama. But to defeat the incumbent, Romney will need to appear bolder, more forward-looking, in a sense the more youthful alternative. He might want to reread Machiavelli: "It is better to be impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman. ... And one sees that she lets herself be won more by the impetuous than by those who proceed coldly. And so always, like a woman, she is the friend of the young, because they are less cautious, more ferocious, and command her with more audacity." I like the odds of ferocity and audacity against warmed-over hope and change. RICK SANTORUM'S LONG GOODBYEBY ROBERT COSTANATIONAL REVIEWBeyond the veep chatter, if Santorum plays his cards right in April ... he could leave the field with his reputation and political future intact, many Republican operatives conclude. “But if Santorum begins to be seen as an irritant to the cause of beating President Obama, it’ll be a millstone he has to wear around his neck in the future,” says ... a former deputy political director in the George W. Bush White House. ... [Ed] Rollins — a former adviser to Mike Huckabee, the “conservative alternative” in the 2008 election cycle — thinks that Santorum will eventually put his promising future ahead of his unhappiness about Romney’s ascension. ... "Now that the inevitability that Romney has always wanted is there, Santorum is losing credibility. He’ll start to see that.”FROM TEA PARTY TO TEPIDBY JOE SCARBOROUGHPOLITICOAbsent a political earthquake, the GOP nomination outcome is set in stone. Willard Mitt Romney will be the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012. And just as the red hot Republican Revolution of 1994 was followed by Bob Dole's ascension in 1996, the Tea Party Uprising of 2010 is being followed by the nomination of Obamacare's ideological architect. ... Too bad Mitt Romney's opponents are walking around like Bruce Willis in "The Sixth Sense."