The Washington Post gives us a glimpse of the enormous institutional advantage that Mitt Romney enjoys as the long campaign calendar stretches out into the early summer of 2012. MittRomney.com may also benefit from new volunteers and new small donors as the combination of calendar and the Newt surge push conservatives off the fence they have enjoyed sitting on, with those focused on electability jumping overwhelmingly to Mitt while those who favor the sort of “hot” campaign I described yesterday fall Newt’s way.
Ramesh Ponnuru’s endorsement yesterday over at NationalReview.com is one of those “tells” about which way the undecided conservatives will break. Ramesh is enormously influential among right-to-life activists and is very respected among conservative public intellectuals. NR.com is widely read by the sort of voters most likely to be getting around to a decision, and today’s forum on Huckabee will be closely watched by the same key group of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
One last note before flying back west: The idea of a Donald Trump moderated debate is a disaster. Iran is closing in on nukes and Pakistan is moving into a new period of instability. The AEI/Heritage debate was the sort of forum the candidates should seek out, not a spectacle. I hope they decline.