The PJ Tatler

Is Mitt Inevitable in New Hampshire?

After eight hours of travel north and east on Sunday, with a layover that gave me just enough of a window to see the Tebow magic work one more time, I am Tatling from Manchester, New Hampshire. A day ahead of the first in the nation primary — about which, even Manchester’s airport reminds you — Mitt Romney has released this ad, titled Tomorrow: Earn It:

Romney seems to have already earned an easy victory here just by governing next door in Massachusetts. The RCP poll average has him up a whopping 19 points, despite earnest efforts from Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and the New Hampshire Union Leader to make a contest out of it. The Union Leader isn’t impressed by the neighboring blue state’s former governor, and has instead cast its lot with Gingrich:

The idea that Mitt Romney has the best shot at beating Barack Obama is based on the false premise that Moderate Mitt will draw independent voters simply by not offending them. It presumes that enough independents to give the Republican nomineee a victory are sitting idly by just waiting to vote against Obama. No one makes the argument that Romney could rally non-Republicans to the cause — because he would not.

Newt Gingrich is the only candidate in this race who has a proven capacity to inspire not only conservatives, but moderates and independents nationwide to join him. Rick Santorum? He got booed off of a Concord stage on Thursday not for being conservative, but for berating a 17-year-old girl over homosexuality.

Today sees the candidates competing here (all but Perry, who has South Carolina nearly all to himself for another couple of days) making stops at diners and bakeries and Elks Lodges and local businesses in the quest to do something about that massive Mitt lead. But as the Steelers and one of the two Manchester, UK soccer giants found out on Sunday, once a big lead has been established it can be difficult to impossible to claw all the way back into the game. You can mount the most most stirring of comebacks, only to still fall short at the end. The final PPP poll suggests that this contest won’t be close.

I’m off to see what Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are doing today to get their campaigns on a comeback footing.

Update: The Huntsman camp is out with this new ad today. It criticizes Mitt Romney’s “attitude” while promoting Huntsman as someone who “puts country first.”

Also read: “Romney: I Like Being Able to Fire People