The incomparable John Fund has a terrific piece on Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in today’s Opinion Journal. Fund notes that the downward momentum of both George “Macaca” Allen and Bill “Judges-Immigration” Frist has created a void for the ridiculously good-looking, charming Romney. Let’s face it; if you’re a woman you think he’s attractive. If you’re a man you wish you were a woman so you could admit he’s hunkalicious.

A slice of Fund:

FRC officials says they invited Mr. McCain to speak, but he declined. But another potential candidate benefited greatly from showing up. Surprisingly, it was Massachusetts’ Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon with a Harvard M.B.A who governs the nation’s most liberal state. The 1,800 delegates applauded him frequently during his Friday speech and gave him a standing ovation afterward. Mr. Romney detailed his efforts to block court-imposed same-sex marriage in the Bay State and noted that the liberal Legislature has failed to place a citizen-initiated referendum on the ballot. He excoriated liberals for supporting democracy only when they think that the outcome is a foregone conclusion that favors their views. He certainly picked up fans at the summit. “I believe Mitt Romney may be the only hope social conservatives have in 2008,” says Maggie Gallagher, author of a book defending traditional marriage.

Allow me to take a Q-Tip to my ears and press rewind: “I believe Mitt Romney may be the only hope social conservatives have in 2008.”

That’s a huge step in the right direction for the Stormin’ Mormon from Mass. Just six months ago there were whispers that he had zero chance of wooing evangelicals. Maggie is just one, of course, but she could represent the tipping point Mitt needs to find success in the south.

One more tidbit:

But sniping from his home state isn’t the greatest challenge facing Mr. Romney. While he is well known in the early primary state of New Hampshire, he still has scant organization in Iowa, which will vote before New Hampshire. Reporters will continue to dog him over his position on abortion. Mr. Romney says he is now “very firmly pro-life” after having frequently expressed pro-choice views. Last year, Mike Murphy, a strategist for his 2002 governor’s race, raised further questions when he told National Review that, all along, Mr. Romney has been “a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.” Mr. Romney said Mr. Murphy was speaking only for himself.

But Mr. Romney also has many advantages. He is perhaps the only candidate who can plausibly claim a base in several states. He has a contributor base in Massachusetts; a large reservoir of political goodwill in Michigan, where he was born and his father served as governor in the 1960s; and the loyalty of many Mormons in Utah and neighboring states. He has a built-in corps of volunteers and contributors in any state where Mormons, the fastest-growing religion in America, have a real presence.

Fund must be keeping an eye on PD’s 2008 Power Rankings. We’ve got Romney on the rise, though still behind Maverick McCain, and Allen and Frist dropping like a Paris Hilton album.

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