But in reality, what the nation is watching is the disintegration of the Goldwater-Reagan ascendency, a conservative surge that came to dominate and define national politics over the past 30 or so years.

Consider these three points of evidence: the GOP is now intellectually bankrupt — obstructionism is its only legislative strategy and tactic. Republican economic and tax policies have been proven to be destructive in the long run — even Reagan Democrats now understand this. And the party has not been able to field a presidential candidate behind whom the faithful can rally.

Mitt Romney, of course, leads the remaining gang of four in delegates. And while there is a chance he may yet still be derailed, his organization and financial firepower will most likely power him on to more split decisions and unsatisfying victories until the nomination is his.

Romney's weapon of choice is the negative television ad. It's not a call to vote for Romney, it's a plea to vote against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. In this he mirrors the party he hopes to lead: stand for nothing but oppose everything.

There are certainly many reasons not to vote for Santorum and Gingrich, but is there any reason to vote for Romney?

Romney is the personification of Republican establishment politics, and those politics stink.

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