Sad Mitt, Happy Mitt. Could Somebody Help Me Figure This Out?
Like Troy, I've decided that those of us who are skeptical of Romney have reached the limits of constructive criticism. I'm more than willing to wish Romney well, stand back, and watch what happens between now and the convention. The trouble is, I can't figure out what is happening.
Commentary on Super Tuesday appears about evenly divided. Half argue that Romney will find it nearly impossible to wrap up the nomination before reaching the Tampa convention. The other half insist that Romney already has the nomination locked up.
John Avlon and Ben Jacobs, arguing the other day in the Daily Beast that Romney lacks any obvious route to the 1,144 delegates he needs:
Despite claiming six state wins last night and upping his delegate count to 404, Mitt Romney still does not have a lock on the nomination—or even a clear path to claiming it if his opponents don’t leave the field.
Consider this: if Mitt wins every remaining all-or-nothing state but one, and half of the remaining proportional delegates, he would likely still fall short of the magic nomination number of 1,144—which would force him to rely on unpledged delegates, the Republican version of the infamous Democratic super-delegates in 2008, to claim his party’s mantle.
Then there's Pete Wehner, writing on the website of CNN, arguing just the reverse:
It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, but Mitt Romney has essentially locked up the GOP nomination....
Romney now leads in total delegates (404 vs. 165 for Santorum, 106 for Gingrich, and 66 for Paul). He is the only GOP candidate to have won states in every region of the country. He has the most money, the best organization and the only realistic path to the nomination.
At various times over the last few months, a number of Ricochet members have put up posts demonstrating that they've developed a deep knowledge of the nominating process--who gets what delegates when, always a complicated question, but especially so under the new rules the Republican National Committee has set in place this year.
Could one of you help me out here? Romney can't lock it up before the convention in Tampa--or Romney already has it locked up. Which view has the math on its side?