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Most voters will not focus on electability in the GOP race, which is why talk of Romney’s inevitable nomination is premature and why he must continue to hit on conservative themes in his effort to become an acceptable alternative for the party’s grass roots.
Ultimately, however, Romney’s best argument may be that half a loaf is better than none. Most party insiders already believe that, but he somehow needs to convince enough grass-roots conservatives of it so that he can sneak across the finish line, whether in Iowa or in subsequent contests.
Barry Goldwater’s famous 1964 campaign slogan was “In your heart, you know he’s right.” He went on to lose 44 states. Often, in politics, the head is a better guide than the heart.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.