won the New Hampshire primary with 40% of the vote and appears to be heading toward winning the Republican nomination.
Unlike most of his opponents, he has not "surged" but just plodded along, attacking when he needed to attack, and standing up to the blows from his tag-teamed conservative opponents.
In the weeks leading up to these important votes, there was a lot of talk about the conservative movement mobilizing to knock him out, yet they were unable to do that.
They appear instead, to have burned themselves out, by focusing too much on issues that are now non-issues. Same-sex marriage (more than half of Americans now support it), gay rights, abortion and immigration. It's getting old and at a time when the American economy is in crisis, people are looking for someone whose attention will be on that.
The conservative movement was successful only when they downplayed the social conservative elements, instead working behind the scenes to pursue their agenda. Ronald Reagan was able to play the role of a moderate, despite the fact that he was anything but. Stephen Harper appears to be having some success with the same strategy, though the extremism is always there just beneath the surface.
The candidates endorsed by conservatives wear their views on their sleeves and because of that, will never be able to win an election, when the majority of Americans simply don't share those views.
What is telling about the New Hampsire results, is that Ron Paul, the Libertarian, came in second with 23%.
On Chris Matthew's Hardball this week they discussed the possibility of Paul running as an independent, since he seems to be a hit with the younger generation. He's not a social conservative, opposes big government and government spending, is anti-war and believes that marijuana should be legalized.
He may not win the presidency, but could split the right-wing vote.
Mitt Romney's chances would depend on who he chose as a running mate. I actually liked John McCain and believe that he would have done much better, had it not been for Sarah Palin. The thought that she would be president if McCain's health failed, was terrifying.
Romney also appears to be reaching out to corporate America, where the real Republican clout is. In his speech after the Iowa caucus victory, he said that he would get America on its feet with the help of the "job creators", conservative code for lowering taxes for the wealthy.
Same old, same old.