Romney’s Big Night
Is he starting to pull away from his rivals?

Mitt Romney and his wife Ann celebrate victory in Illinois, March 20, 2012.


Ohio State has still beaten Michigan in The Game seven out of the past eight years.

George W. Bush still won Florida in 2000.

Jimmy Brown is still the most dominating back in NFL history.

Truman still beat Dewey.

The Soviet Union still won the Gold in basketball in 1972.

And Mitt Romney is still going to be the GOP nominee in 2012.

Sports, like politics, has many inconvenient truths and stubborn facts that various subsets of fans/supporters just don’t like to deal with. Wolverines, Al Gore, and some Beltway-Manhattan media elites share a twitchy response to various real inconvenient truths.

Illinois has again confirmed what has not been in doubt since Florida. Romney’s broad and big win, like his broad and big win in Puerto Rico on Sunday, added to his enormous lead in delegates and to the already prohibitive odds of his nomination. It is tiresome to say it again and again, but unless a meteor hits the campaign bus, it is Obama vs. Romney in the fall, a race the former Massachusetts governor can win — which is why the president’s pals in the MSM would rather keep the pollsters away from the dozen battleground states as long as possible.

— Hugh Hewitt is the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show.

Rick Santorum’s campaign had a very, very strange seven days. If Santorum wants to win the nomination, he can’t afford a single other odd, off week. 

Mitt Romney, for his part, is consolidating his voting support, even among tea partiers. But he’s still not doing it by offering anything positive; he’s winning by knocking down the other guy while urging people to coalesce merely for the sake of coalescing. Even John McCain and Bob Dole offered more compelling messages and personalities.

Back to Santorum: He can no longer afford just to keep plugging along. He needs a game-changing event or argument. His inability to expand his appeal into suburbia is a serious problem for him. He actually is building a theme that can work — the theme of freedom that he did a good job outlining in his speech in Dixon, Ill., on Monday. But my wife, always wise in such things, said it best: He needs to add specifics. The theme and delivery are fine, but he needs to relate it to people’s lives, perhaps with real-life stories or vignettes thrown in. Freedom from eminent-domain abuse, as in the Kelo decision. Freedom from senseless regulations that carry criminal penalties. Freedom, obviously, to decide whether or not to buy health insurance. 

Finally, Santorum must decisively puncture the flawed impression that Mitt Romney would be a strong general-election candidate. It’s a tall order, but he and his campaign team have overcome higher odds than these. If they don’t do it again, and soon, Romney will meander to victory without a shred of real inspiration.

— Quin Hillyer is a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom and a senior editor of The American Spectator.


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