A couple of thoughts for the weekend.
If Mitt Romney wins Wisconsin by less than 10 points, his quest for the nomination will end in a whimper, not a bang. The uncharacteristically dormant Republican establishment has finally arisen and is letting out a primal scream to end this untidy mess. Its endorsements are more like a memorial service at a tragedy where a premium is placed on closure rather than praise of the beloved.
Mitt Romney is a damaged and weak candidate — John McCain was much stronger four years ago — but so is Barack Obama, although here I would distinguish between "damaged," which he is by gas prices most recently, and "weak," which he is not. Obama may not rock the house like he did in 2008, but he is still a good campaigner.
The budget votes of the last few days may mark, if you are a hopeless optimistic, the absolute nadir in Washington's partisan dysfunction. A Republican budget passes on a party-line vote and the only bipartisan game in town, a version of Simpson-Bowles, goes down to a crushing defeat. We saw the spectacle of Democrats and Republicans praising that particular bill before burying it. But come December, when we have a lame duck and the debt ceiling/deficit crisis is back upon us, where will Congress — the lame duck or the new one — go? If lawmakers are serious, toward something like Simpson-Bowles.
Well, on to Wisconsin. In the meantime, may the rims bounce your brackets way.