The good news for Mitt Romney is that he won Michigan and Arizona. And winning is better than losing. And the win looks more impressive when one considers that Michigan was an open primary, which means that Democrats could vote in it. And Democrats were certainly willing to vote in it to embarrass Romney, a ploy Rick Santorum–you know, the guy who claims to be a conservative Republican–certainly encouraged. As an aside, I don’t think very much of Republicans who collude with Democrats in an effort to punk the Republican primary–especially when doing so involves a flip-flop in their stance on whether Democrats should be allowed to vote in Republican contests–and I would hope and expect that other Republican voters in other primary and caucus states would feel the same way.
Of course, the bad news is that it took Romney a great deal more effort than he expected to expend–and certainly a great deal more effort than he expended back in 2008–to win in Michigan. Despite the victories, he has had an awful week with a host of tone-deaf comments, and a panned speech in Detroit’s Ford Field, where Romney spoke to a stadium that was essentially deserted. It is beyond dispute that while Romney may be a very good president, he is a very poor candidate. And poor candidates usually don’t have the opportunity to show their presidential mettle to the American people.
Romney can continue to derive hope from the fact that Barack Obama is in poor political shape. But Romney needs momentum, and needs it badly. To get it, he will have to do very well in next week’s Super Tuesday contests. Failing to do so will only increase the speculation that there will be a brokered convention, and that a political savior will be needed to serve as the Republican nominee. Of course, there is almost no chance whatsoever that we will actually have a brokered convention, or that some mystery candidate can or will come in at this late date and win the Republican nomination. But so long as Romney remains weak, this scenario will continue to be talked about.