Dan Gilgoff's insightful column today supports Tocqueville's recent prediction that Romney will secure the Republican nomination:

Gilgoff (regarding Republicans and the Christian Right):

Republican presidential candidates who fall on either end of the continuum, who either embody the Christian Right (Pat Robertson in 1988) or who reject it (Texas Senator Phil Gramm in 1996) lose the nomination. The two most electorally successful Republican presidential candidates of the last 30 years -- Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- took a different path, embracing the movement even though they were outsiders to it. If the next Republican to occupy the White House must follow that same strategy, Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, may be in much better shape than polls suggest.

What Reagan and Bush knew was that the Christian Right was too small a force to nominate its own nonestablishment candidate but too large a force to ignore or offend. This year, Romney is acting likewise, attempting to persuade the Christian Right that he has seen the light on abortion and gay rights. At last week's debate, Romney went furthest in speaking the language of the Christian Right, declaring he "won't apologize to anybody for becoming prolife" (unlike Giuliani), that he opposed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (unlike McCain) and that he thinks the American family is "the heart of the Republican Party" (unlike Giuliani or McCain).

Of course, Romney's Mormonism makes him a tougher sell to the mostly evangelical Christian Right. But with the two other Republican front-runners staking their independence from Christian conservatives on some key issues and the true Christian Right candidates stuck at 1 percent in the polls, Romney sees his opening. And if it is another candidate who winds up winning the Republican nomination, he will need to prove that, when it comes to the Christian Right's role in presidential politics, the math has changed.

Read the entire Gilgoff piece via the Boston Globe here.