As five partisan, activist judges on the Supreme Court appear poised to strip 30 million Americans of any hope of health insurance, we have the spectacle of Mitt Romney about to ascend the GOP nomination. Will he pay his debts to the Tea Party? The only way to avoid the possibility is to ensure his defeat.

From the New York Times:

Mitt Romney’s three primary victories on Tuesday probably shut off what little oxygen remained for the campaigns of his rivals for the Republican nomination.

His nearly insurmountable lead does not justify efforts by party elders to push Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich out of the presidential race. They have every right to go on, even if they continue marginalizing the Republican Party by shoving it further rightward. But it does mean that Mr. Romney is starting to try to climb out of the “severely conservative” hole he dug for himself during the first three months of primaries.

As he contemplates a less fanatical general-election audience, he is beginning to talk about the interests of women (not mentioning his plan to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood), conceding that the occasional regulation might be useful (though he wants to eliminate many of the most important), even admitting that President Obama didn’t cause the recession.

His problem, of course, is that wherever he goes, he will be followed by those extreme positions and careless statements, and others he made to get to the front of the pack. No shake of the Etch A Sketch can erase them.

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