Mitt Romney's quest for the Republican presidential nomination has reached a "tipping point," says Jonathan Martin at Politico. Conservative and establishment Republican leaders are finally starting to declare him the winner, "with a mix of resignation about Romney and eagerness to get on with the business of defeating President Barack Obama." Indeed, Romney has managed to outlast, outsmart, and outspend a crowded field of rivals, has racked up a seemingly insurmountable delegate lead, and has easily out-fundraised his GOP opponents — but the dominant narrative is that he's a weak frontrunner who can't seem to trounce a field of even weaker candidates. Does the former Massachusetts governor deserve more respect for what he has accomplished?
Let's give Mitt his due: Romney "doesn't get enough credit," says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. Yes, his rivals are "deeply flawed," but Romney managed to vanquish them despite being a moderate in a party of red-meat conservatives, "a Mormon in a party where evangelical voters hold considerable sway," and a rich Bostonian in a Southern party. Also, it's "a political miracle" that he escaped "significant bloodletting" over his ObamaCare-shaping Massachusetts health care law. Romney and his campaign clearly have serious political skills.
"Is Mitt Romney underrated?"
Huh? Team Romney is terrible: The Romney campaign is "hopeless," says John Cassidy at The New Yorker. After the Etch A Sketch gaffe and Mitt's "pathetic" drubbing in Louisiana, it's clear "the Romney campaign consists of a weak candidate and a back-room staff that would have difficulty contesting a city-council election." Romney has money, but Obama will have that, too, plus "far superior" rhetorical skills and aides. "As of now, it doesn't look like a fair fight."
"From Etch A Mitt to Louisiana: Romney's the 'pathetic' one"
In the end, all that matters is that he's winning: It's true that "Romney is a very weak frontrunner," says W. James Antle III at The American Spectator. And he'd be in better shape if rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would "go away and stop reminding the base how much they dislike him." But it's all relative. If Romney is weak, "how strong are the candidates who can't beat him?"
"Et Tu, Stacy McCain?"