Early this morning, I noted how two AP writers seemed to be hoping that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican Party's presidential nominee, in the process ignoring inconvenient facts like his failure to get over 25% in any poll covered at Real Clear Politics since mid-July while failing to even mention Herman Cain's name until the report's eleventh paragraph (a Rasmussen poll today breaks Romney's three-month dry spell, showing him at 29%, tied with Herman Cain). Sadly, what the AP writes is important for readers to know, because the wire service's copy is read and relayed without question by most of its thousands of subscribing outlets.
Not that learning about the following is anywhere near as important, but in case you're wondering about the GOP presidential nominee preferences and perceptions among several of the pundits at the Washington Post, wonder no more:
Excerpts follow. Petri (whose page says she "puts the 'pun' in punditry," when it's more like just the first two letters of that word) --
"Mitt Romney has stopped running circles around the rest of the field and is now orbiting them several levels up. He seemed mature. He seemed awake. The fact that these characteristics set him apart tells you how bad things have gotten."
"No one seemed to know quite how seriously to take Herman Cain. Not even Herman Cain.
"(Michelle Bachmann) was clad in white, perhaps to contrast with the agents of Satan, or perhaps because she feared that someone might be asked to leave the Round Table in search of the Holy Grail."
"But this race belongs to Romney now."
"After tonight, Cain may no longer be a front-runner."
During his writeup, Cohen probably explained why WaPo thinks its columnist lineup is balanced. You see, Richard is, ahem, a Republican:
"... as a non-right-wing Republican — the audience that really matters — I am the somewhat-puzzled outsider and what I think is happening may not actually be the case. For instance, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mitt Romney won the latest debate hands down because he sounded confident, assured, prepared, reasonable and totally in command."
"Cain was the focus of much attention. He’s smart and glib and shallow — a true American provincial who wears his ignorance of foreign affairs as an attribute."
" It seemed to me that Mitt Romney was that person (the alpha candidate), but what do I know? Every dog has his day."
Dionne came in extraordinarily vapid:
"Michele Bachmann made a point I have been waiting for someone to make for a long time about satanic numbers. Speaking of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, she said: 'When you take the 9-9-9 plan and turn it upside down, the devil is in the details.'”
"Romney seemed more relaxed and more confident than he’s been in any of these debates. (Chris Christie’s endorsement might do that for a candidate.) I was particularly struck by the extent to which he was willing to defend the Massachusetts health care plan."
"So where are we? Romney is more in command now than he was the last time he was the frontrunner, before Rick Perry got in."
Rubin (the only arguably right-leaning person of the four):
"Mitt Romney has to be very pleased. He was smooth as silk, deflecting a question on RomneyCare, explaining the problems of community banks, and driving home the key message: He is the only candidate ready for prime time."
"Cain looked knocked off his game, and will no doubt give fodder to opponents who say he is naive about the ways of Washington and unprepared to deal with Beltway lawmakers."
"In not getting bruised and by demonstrating his superior campaign skills, Romney came out the big winner."
In fairness to the WaPo writers, the polls released in the past two days probably don't include anyone who saw Tuesday's debate. Nonetheless, it's more than a little odd, in the face of polling data showing Herman Cain even with and occasionally leading Mitt Romney, that all four would come to essentially the same "Romney is in command, and should be a lock for the nomination" conclusion.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.