Hugh Hewitt

Either Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee by early February, or we have a replay of the 1976 GOP primaries on our hands.

Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum had great nights on Tuesday. Both can say an earnest thanks to Iowa caucus goers. Iowa battered everyone else, perhaps not beyond repair, but probably.

Both men are fine candidates. Bill Kristol provided a great case for Santorum on my show Wednesday and a million bucks flowed into Rick Santorum's campaign via the web the same day.

United States Senator John Thune also dropped in for a chat yesterday, and as the South Dakota conservative is backing Romney, he too was in a good mood. (Transcript here.)

As Santorum's biggest problems are money and his loss in 2006, so Romney's biggest problems are suspicions that he isn't really a conservative, and his alleged "ceiling" of 25%.

"Well, you know, it’s always frustrating, because I don’t know where that comes from," said Thune of the "he's not a conservative charge" against Romney. "I suppose that when you rep, when you come from the state of Massachusetts, people automatically make certain assumptions," he continued. "But if you look at his governing record, you look at his positions on the issues, he is a right of center conservative in the mold of many of us who are fiscal, economic, national security conservatives."

The vocal opposition to Romney comes mostly from this camp of folk who believe he really isn't a conservative and who either haven't read or who don't believe Romney's 2009 book, No Apologies (by far the former I suspect, though as he wrote it himself, it is journalistic malpractice to comment on Romney without having read his book.) A few anti-Mormon die-hards are out there, and Article VI Blog follows that story in a way that should be a model for the MSM, in the way MSM should and would follow anti-black or anti-Catholic bigotry directed at President Obama or Senator Santorum's campaign.

But mostly the opposition to Romney is rooted in his perceived "moderate" status.

There are two reasons for this perception and one solution.

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.