Whatever else it means, this insider attitude guarantees that Romney is going to be operating without a net once the campaign is under way. With the entire political world impatiently waiting for his inevitable demise so that the "real" campaign can get under way, every mistake the man makes is going to get exaggerated in the hope that he will see the light and stop taking up space.Perhaps. It seems to me that similar things could have been said about John McCain in 2007, and perhaps Bob Dole in 1995. I guess I'm just not sold -- and not only because there may turn out to be few viable alternatives, since there will almost certainly be at least one other viable alternative coming into, and out of, Iowa.
At any rate, here's what I don't know. Is all this speculation about Romney's weakness simply outsiders thinking through the logical case against him, perhaps prodded a bit by spin from rival candidates and general ambivalence from serious GOP players? Or is it -- as was almost certainly the case with Palin-bashing -- part of a serious effort by anti-Romney Republicans to veto him? They're hard to tell apart...obviously, movement conservatives and other Republican insiders are hardly enthusiastic about the Mittster, so they don't mind going along with it, but are they really actively seeking to defeat him? In the case of John McCain, it turned out that a lot of Republican insiders who didn't really like him were willing to settle for him. I believe that's going to turn out to be the case with Romney, but I really don't know.
Of course, even if I'm right about that it doesn't mean he'll win. One of the others might convince more insiders to rally to his behalf, and it's certainly possible, although in my view unlikely, that GOP voters just won't take to Romney this time around even if party elites are okay with him.