Is the Romney Campaign for Real?

Mitt Romney’s campaign is well-funded and highly organized. It has attracted top endorsements, corralled key GOP donors and consultants, cultivated the conservative media, and won or tied in competitive contests such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, and Nevada. But to be blunt, stumbles in South Carolina and now in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado call into question the planning and judgment of the campaign’s leaders, starting with the candidate himself.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are talented politicians with strong followings. But they are also operating shoestring campaigns and have obvious liabilities. If the Romney team believed their own inevitability rhetoric, failing to invest for victory yesterday just as they did before South Carolina, that doesn’t auger well for their ability to make sound decisions later on. After all, two of the three states, Colorado and Missouri, will be battlegrounds in the general election. Investing in them with ad buys and organization could hardly have been considered a waste of resources. And if the Romney team did try to compete with Santorum yesterday but fell so woefully short, what does that say about their ability to compete with a far more resourceful adversary this fall?

Democrats are happier today than they were yesterday, and much happier than they were a month ago. They may be wrong, but they still see Romney as President Obama’s strongest challenger. So if Romney can’t even win in Colorado, a caucus Romney dominated four years ago against a stronger opponent, they’re liking the president’s chances in November. As for Republicans, well, there’s always the U.S. Senate . . .

John Hood — John Hood is president of the John William Pope Foundation, a Raleigh-based grantmaker that supports public policy organizations, educational institutions, arts and cultural programs, and humanitarian relief in North Carolina ...

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