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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

The Danger Newt Gingrich Poses . . . to Mitt Romney

Ramesh Ponnuru is out with his endorsement of Mitt Romney. It’s a reasonable endorsement that doesn’t really try to do what so many others are doing — claiming Romney is something he is not.

But one line up front made me chuckle just a bit. It happens to be the first sentence.

Even though nobody has yet cast a vote in the primaries, Republicans are increasingly resigned to Gov. Mitt Romney’s winning the party’s presidential nomination.

This is the real danger that Newt Gingrich poses to MItt Romney. Suddenly, to many people, Romney does not look so inevitable. In fact, a friend of mine pointed out the other day that it seems every time the polling shifts against Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney’s supporters or the Politico start claiming Romney is inevitable.

I have long thought the race was Mitt Romney’s to lose and I am starting to think after his whining about Bret Baier’s interview that even the Romney camp is starting to realize his days may be numbered.

The problem for Romney is reflected in the comments here at RedState and elsewhere. For the longest time our users here have been for Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. Suddenly, even the Perry supporters have decidedly turned toward Gingrich. Not all of them have, but a good number have. Perry may remain their first choice and for Cain supporters Cain may remain their first choice. But Newt is all of their second choice and they’re going to defend him.

For the first time in the race there has been a rapid and remarkable shift toward vocal support for one candidate coming from the competing supporters of competing alternative candidates.

Romney was always inevitable until he was not. And three times now someone has gotten ahead of Romney. The first could be an anomaly. The second had to be considered. The third time must be taken quite seriously.

75% of the Republican voters have wanted someone who can hold their own in a debate with Obama and who is not named Mitt Romney. Suddenly Gingrich, by virtue of these several thousand debates we’ve had, has become that guy.

And his rise has been so dramatic and so affirming that so many really do not want Mitt Romney that Mitt Romney is looking less and less inevitable.

If Newt Gingrich can avoid his historic fate of imploding at the pinnacle of success, Mitt Romney will stay the bridesmaid at Newt Gingrich’s wedding in August in Tampa.

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