Politico has a good piece on why, even though he is the establishment's choice and is raising a ton of money, there is nothing inevitable about Mitt Romney's candidacy:
For all the talk about his inevitability, after half a decade as a declared or undeclared presidential candidate, Romney can scarcely muster a fifth of the GOP primary vote. Republicans continue to cast about for an alternative - looking to Michele Bachmann, then to Rick Perry and now to Herman Cain.
None of Romney's opponents has been able to derail him for long. But the simple fact remains: Whether it's because of Romney's ideas, his history of flip-flops or his personal political style, much of the Republican Party just can't embrace its frontrunner. The question now is whether the GOP is prepared to live with an unlovable nominee if that candidate has a good shot of defeating Obama.
"People, I think, are looking for more visceral, gut issues. Mitt Romney doesn't make that appeal," said New York Rep. Pete King, who is neutral in the GOP primary. "His record in the past on health care and gay rights, obviously, are the opposite of where most Republicans are."
King said he would probably end up endorsing Romney, whom the New Yorker said was winning the primary on a largely tactical, incremental level.
The conservative vote is badly split among 4 candidates at the moment, which gives Romney the appearance of being the frontrunner.
But as I explored in my PJ Media column this past weekend, even the establishment isn't very excited about the prospect of Romney winning the nomination:
But admittedly, it will take a lot to overturn the psychology of Romney's momentum. First Trump, then Bachmann, then Perry - all have been ahead in one poll or another at one time or another in the last six months. And Romney plods on, never rising, never falling very far, maintaining an even keel through the roughest of waters. That, too, is a sign that Romney's "inevitability" may be more mirage than mandate. The candidate has yet to top 30% in any national poll, despite what most political observers believe to be a weak GOP field. He has been criticized by some politicos for running what is essentially a general election campaign for the nomination, leaving his opponents to criticize each other while he stays above the fray.
And part of the "inevitability" tag on Romney has to do with the significant endorsements he's received lately, most notably from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie, who took himself out of the race many months ago, nevertheless allowed establishment Republicans to get him to rethink his decision during the last fortnight. It is evidence that Romney may be the inevitable candidate, but that doesn't mean the establishment has to like it. Romney and the blue-bloods may share the same tailor, belong to the same clubs, even get their hair cut by the same barber - but there has always been something distant in Romney's demeanor that doesn't sit comfortably with the GOP deciding class.
Cain and Perry will split the conservative vote the first few primaries. One of them should have the staying power to make into February and March when the bulk of primaries will be held. And then, head to head with Romney, we'll see just how "inevitable" he is.