Kathryn Lopez

Mitt Romney -- a successful businessman, savior of the Salt Lake Olympics and former Republican governor of a Northeastern state -- may not be the most obvious Republican choice for commander in chief. John McCain may seem like a more obvious choice when one considers his stalwart defense of the "surge," support for the war in Iraq, and his Vietnam heroism. But if you listen to the way Romney's been talking lately, the "obvious choice" may change.

Romney has a chance to capitalize on the fact that this has not been a particularly proud few weeks for the West. Iran essentially declared victory in the hostage standoff with Britain. The U.S. Speaker of the House has been practicing her own foreign policy, visiting Iran's best friend Syria while raising the possibility of going to Iran.

Last September, Romney refused to provide state security for former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami. "State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel," Romney said.

We were treated to his ironclad Republican ideology again earlier this month when Romney commented on administration faux paus, "Washington is a broken place right now, dysfunctional in some respects, which has been evidenced by the trip by Nancy Pelosi to Syria, but also evidenced by the failure to deal with overspending." These comments were made as Pelosi embarrassed America by parading around Syria and meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Damascus against White House objections.

"I'm going to suggest that the Democrats in Washington provide the funding necessary to support the foreign policy which is established by the president of the United States. It is not up to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to dictate to the commanders in the field or to the commander in chief," Romney said.

He followed those comments up with a speech at the George H. W. Bush presidential library in Houston -- not only supporting President Bush's current troop-surge policy in Iraq, but calling for increased spending on the U.S. military.

Further evidence that Romney is prepared for his own surge? In first-quarter fundraising reports, Romney came out in front among Republicans in the race. And despite being faced with real and perceived obstacles (the "flip-flopper" label he's earned for a list of issues he's changed his mind on over the years, and the fact that he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which is expected by many to be an issue with evangelical voters and others), polls in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina suggest he's making progress.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.