As candidates close up shop in New England, the chattering classes look to the state of the race. Here are four takes on the Republican outcome in New Hampshire:
- Wall Street Journal editors give John McCain credit “for sheer doggedness,” saying the Iraq surge’s success gave him a boost. He’s now the candidate “best positioned to appeal” to all GOPers, but uniting the party’s “anxious and fractious wings” will take new platforms; the Journal coyly suggest tax cuts.
- Both McCain and Mitt Romney need Michigan badly, Outside the Beltway’s James Joyner insists. Mac is cash-poor and must cement a frontrunner position. Mitt—born in the Automotive State—becomes “increasingly implausible” with each loss, and a second defeat “in his own backyard…would inflict a mortal wound.”
- Matt Yglesias allows Mitt’s “two silvers and a gold” speech “sounded ridiculous,” but says Romney’s still in “okay shape.” Michigan’s not a must-win for the delegate-count leader: He can survive second-place finishes so long as the gold medalist keeps changing.
- The National Review’s Mark Steyn is downcast, saying all the candidates lost last night—even Mac’s comeback is being written off as “a local phenomenon.” The GOP needs a new candidate. Alan Keyes, anyone?