Santorum, in his appearance at CPAC, took direct aim at the lack of passion for Romney. “Why,” he asked, without naming his rival, “would an undecided voter vote for a candidate of a party that the party’s not excited about? We need conservatives to rally now, for a conservative.”
Romney can lessen the resistance to his candidacy among those who are most conservative only one way. He can’t do it by trying too hard to be something he is not. He is a conservative but not a movement conservative. He has taken positions in line with those of the tea party movement, but he is not a tea party conservative. He is Mitt Romney, a competitive businessman who likes challenges and solving problems.
The path for Romney remains what it has been, which is to prevail in a competitive nomination contest by making himself the most broadly attractive candidate. He can divide and conquer if Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul remain in the race indefinitely. He can show appeal across his party by winning majorities if the race becomes a two-person contest. It all comes down to the same thing. He must win and keep winning.