The final four in the Republican debate remind me of a Quidditch match from Harry Potter. There are the beaters, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who attack; the seeker, Ron Paul, who runs his own race and seeks the snitch; and the keeper, Mitt Romney, who is trying to protect the goal and run out the clock.

The players zoomed around the stage last night, and some scored better than others. Gingrich was at his best attacking the media and Santorum. Santorum was, as usual, the meanest, inflicting damage on Romney and countering Gingrich, winning rounds, but becoming less and less likable. Romney is limping to the finish line with weak answers on his taxes. John King dug up a nice gem that Romney’s father released 13 years of tax returns when he ran for office, a question that flummoxed the son. He did do a nice job on the question of what he would do differently in the campaign, saying he wished he had trained more of his fire on President Obama.

Bottom line: Based on the debate, Romney continues to take on water. The question remains, however: Will the anti-Romney vote be able to consolidate, or will the “beaters” just knock each other senseless?