WASHINGTON -- Until very recently, Governor Mitt Romney has been a long shot preparing for a race -- the Republican presidential primaries -- that almost always goes to the favorite.
But through shrewd moves and good luck, Romney has steadily risen through the ranks of GOP prospects. Now, almost everyone in Republican politics ranks Romney as the second-likeliest nominee, behind Senator John McCain of Arizona.
Last week, Romney was the runner-up to McCain in an exhaustive National Journal poll of Washington insiders. And McCain himself has validated the early soundings by crashing the annual convention of the Republican Governors Association, which Romney chaired. McCain knew that Romney's ties to Republican governors could give him thousands of foot soldiers in the primaries. It was a testament to the extent of Romney's support that McCain felt a need to intervene so early and so directly.
Sounds like McCain is getting nervous! Crashing Romney's RGA party in Miami 2 weekends ago . . . E4M reported on that here.
As a governor of ultra liberal Massachusetts who ran as a moderate for the Senate in 1994 and for governor in 2002, Romney might reasonably have been held in suspicion by conservatives.
But since deciding not to run for re election, he's taken on the Massachusetts liberal establishment in such a showy way -- especially on gay marriage -- that national Republicans can't help but cheer at the fox in the liberal hen house.
And, to finish:
Romney is free of any responsibility for the war, and his reputation as a competent manager might seem especially appealing after President Bush's managerial failings . . .
Nonetheless, the country is starting to pay attention to the next presidential campaign, and Romney is near the center of the stage. Not a bad place to be, and far better than he had any reason to hope for six months ago.
I think many of us saw Romney's Rise as inevitable. The "speed-bump" of the last weekend are just Romney's competition (on both sides!) dropping the only bombs they have to slow Romney's Rapid Rise. I think this is wonderful that opponents/detractors are "taking of their gloves" this early . . . I mean, Romney hasn't even announced yet!