This pattern is too obvious to ignore. Add in the fact that only Romney had five years and the money and the staff to build up books on every conceivable opponent, and you have enough evidence to make a Clue accusation: It was the former Massachusetts governor, in the mainstream media, with an oppo research dump.

Through it all, he has left few fingerprints and kept his own record largely unexamined. It’s now apparently up to ABC’s Jake Tapper to do the oppo research that all of the other GOP candidacies should have done a long time ago. Tapper comes up with three strong arguments to launch at Romney, which to date none of his opponents have launched: That as governor he offered free cars to welfare recipients, that early releases for inmates serving life terms peaked under his governorship, and that RomneyCare offered free abortions. Tapper also tosses in an argument that Romney made it more expensive to own a gun in his state. Add that up plus Romney’s tax hike and RomneyCare and you have a very vulnerable record. But it hasn’t been attacked or exploited in time to stop his momentum or make a difference.

This speaks well of Romney’s skill as a campaigner, and doesn’t speak well of his opponents’. All of his opponents, and Rick Perry in particular, have superior records to Romney’s in governance. They all do. Newt Gingrich led welfare reform and balanced the federal budget. Rick Santorum was reliably conservative in the Senate. Rick Perry’s record as governor is as arguably the best in the country over the past 20 to 30 years, racking up a gaudy record on both the fiscal and social sides of the conservative coin. But no one has gotten through Romney’s media game to scuff him up or make him answer for his own record.

That needs to change, and the hour is very late.