The biggest fighting issue for Republicans is ObamaCare. Can the author of RomneyCare as governor of Massachusetts make that an effective issue by splitting hairs over state versus federal mandates? Can a man who has been defensive about his own wealth fight off the standard class warfare of Barack Obama, who can push all the demagogic buttons against Mitt Romney as one of the one-percenters?
Rick Santorum, and especially Newt Gingrich, are fighters -- and this election is going to be a fight to the finish, with the fate of this country in the balance. Mitt Romney has depended on massive character assassination advertising campaigns to undermine his rivals. That will not work against Barack Obama.
Even a truthful account of the Obama administration's many disastrous failures, at home and abroad, will be automatically countered by the mainstream media, 90 percent of whom voted for Obama in the 2008 election.
It is truer in this election than in most that "it takes a candidate to beat a candidate." And that candidate has to offer both himself and his vision. Massive ad campaigns against rivals is not a vision.
Some, like President Bush 41, disdained "the vision thing" -- and he lost the presidency that he had inherited from Ronald Reagan, lost it to a virtual unknown from Arkansas.
The vision matters, more than the polls and even more than incumbency in the White House.