Republicans coasted to victory in the midterms by painting President Obama as a liberal and running against him on ideological grounds. That long looked to be the GOP template for the 2012 elections as well, but Charles Krauthammer detects a significant shift thanks in part to the weak economy: "Suddenly, the election theme has changed," he writes in the Washington Post. "The Republican line in 2010 was: He’s a leftist. Now it is: He’s a failure. The issue is shifting from ideology to stewardship."
This is great news for Mitt Romney, writes Krauthammer. He's weak trying to fight an ideological battle (think Romneycare), but if the race is about economics and governance, he is "the prohibitive front-runner." Krauthammer would still prefer that Republicans wage an ideological campaign—"we are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation debate about the nature of the welfare state"—but it can be combined with the "stewardship" angle to make a potent 2012 strategy, he writes. (Click to see why Peggy Noonan also thinks Romney is having a great week.)