Mitt Romney positively trounced Newt Gingrich in Florida last night, and the pundits agree that Gingrich's shot at the presidency has been all but obliterated. They also, however, agree that he won't drop out anytime soon:
- In the New York Times, Ross Douthat offers up four reasons why Gingrich's campaign is "going, going, gone." Here's one: He would have lost to Romney in Florida even if Rick Santorum had dropped out and every single Santorum backer had voted for him—and "if Gingrich can't compete in Florida, he can't compete nationally." From here on out, "every realistic path leads only to defeat."
- Toby Harnden is even harsher in the Daily Mail. "For Newt, imagining himself into the White House is no more realistic a proposition than his promise to establish a moon colony by 2020." But you wouldn't know it from last night's concession speech, which featured a defiant Gingrich steeped in denial. "The voters in Florida made a few things clear," Harnden points out, "but Gingrich's uncontested leadership of the American conservative movement wasn't one of them."
- Dan Amira acknowledges that Gingrich has little reason left to hope, but even so, in New York he offers up five reasons Gingrich should stay in the race anyway. He could experience a third enormous surge in the polls, he has a billionaire casino owner backing him, and "maybe a former Bain executive will turn up and admit that he and Romney used to smoke cigars filled with $100 bills as they laughed maniacally about the companies they'd looted."
- Gingrich will certainly stay in the race, writes Steve Kornacki at Salon, but the big question is: for how long? He can stay in "as long as he wants," but the political world may not continue to take him seriously much longer. "If he’s getting clobbered in primaries and caucuses, accumulating few delegates, unable to force Romney into debates, and largely ignored by the media, then his lingering presence won’t really be a problem for Romney."
(Read more Newt Gingrich