Considering Rick Santorum's sudden departure from the race, it's time to quit dancing around and bluntly state what the problem is for the man likely to become the Republican nominee for president.
Republicans and others who consider themselves part of the "conservative wing" of the party, with some exceptions, stiff-armed Romney early on based on the belief that he was not one of them and could be defeated. But now, as the nomination looks increasingly his, the Romney camp is stiff-arming that same wing of the party. The question is, can money alone buy one the presidency?
There is true irony in this dance between the Romney camp and those who are "keepers of the conservative flame." Both sides want to defeat President Obama, but neither has the true desire to really do what it takes to unify a critical portion of the vote whose turnout in November will be critical to a Republican victory. Romney's conservative doubters, along with much of America, according to a recent poll, don't view him as "likeable." At the same time, those who know Mitt Romney and who have over years worked with him, say he is a great guy and would follow him anywhere at any time.
Yes, Romney has held numerous meetings with conservative leaders and some meetings with past or present Republican presidential opponents. The problem is that he reportedly never offers any hope of their being part of his campaign, much less part of a potential Romney presidential administration. Some might say that he has no responsibility to do so, but in the world of real, live politics, when the stakes are so high, the failure to reach out and, quite frankly, cut deals early is perplexing. More perplexing is why the "warm" Mitt Romney never comes through in reaching out to supporters he will desperately need in November.
The result of the current circumstances leads to incidents such as Rush Limbaugh (who remains a huge voice among Republicans and conservatives regardless of a recent controversy that has already died down) to basically declare that the Republican "establishment" won the nomination in a race in which it was Romney and "all the others which were conservatives." Limbaugh's comments do not flow from the top down. Rather, they bubble up from his massive base of followers and become part of his observations.