Cal  Thomas

Newt Gingrich vows to fight on until the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, but he can only be a spoiler now. The calendar does not favor him and the voters seem to have decided that while he may have some great ideas among the flood of them he regularly disgorges from his fertile mind, for him, there appears to be no clear path to the nomination. Gingrich hasn't won a primary since Georgia, the state he represented in Congress, and he probably won't win another.

It's down to Romney and Santorum and with no new debates scheduled -- the last formal debate was Feb. 22 -- voters are likely to remain divided, which delights the Obama campaign.

As of now -- and one must always qualify -- Mitt Romney still seems the likely Republican nominee. But the real question for Republicans is this: If Romney is having such a difficult time beating Rick Santorum -- and to a lesser extent Newt Gingrich -- how will he marshal the forces necessary to beat President Obama in the fall? Next week's Illinois primary will say a lot about Romney's rebound strength. If he doesn't win there, he could be in serious trouble.

Republican opposition to the president could be enough to overcome their lack of enthusiasm about Romney, but it's a poor campaign strategy and it could well backfire. At least the Obama campaign is hoping it will.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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