The Corner

Can Romney Win?

It’s difficult to imagine a scenario now in which Romney wins the nomination. Or, if he does take the nomination, it’s tough to envisage a scenario in which a Romney victory wouldn’t seriously split the party. A President Romney may not be impossible at this point, but it sure is tough to imagine.

Let’s say Romney’s candidacy survives for now. The idea that the Romneycare issue fades away with time seems totally implausible. Every debate from here on out is bound to feature all the candidates taking pot shots at Romneycare. Far from fading away, Romneycare is going to become the central issue of the nomination campaign–the surest way to take down a major rival and establish a challenger’s conservative credentials to boot. How is Romney going to overcome that? And even if he does, how is he going to unite the party?

Maybe if he handles himself well, serving as the butt of every other candidate’s attack will actually elevate Romney. That might work with an issue on which conservatives are genuinely split. But Romneycare? As we saw today, a courageous defense of Romneycare only gives ammunition to Obama and the Democrats. How can Romney survive that? It’s tough to see how. Am I missing something?

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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