I was in the midst of a riveting, emotionally moving recap and analysis of last night’s GOP debate when I stumbled across this piece from Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard. Why reinvent the blogowheel; Hayes says precisely what I thought as I turned off the set last night and moved the rabbit ears to the upstairs TV.

HAYES: THERE WAS GOOD news and bad news for Mitt Romney from the debate last night in California: He probably won, but it’s not likely to matter.

Amen, brother. Romney looked strong, and certainly more presidential and commanding next to Senator Snark. But every second spent generally on Iraq or specifically on the Surge is a second lost for Romney. The governor can’t win on that issue, never will. These issues are in McCain’s proverbial wheelhouse. Romney was very effective on every other issue, but it was the Iraq exchange(s) that dominated the post-debate debate.

Last night Romney looked better, sounded better, explained his positions better and had much better hair and skin tone, but he won’t win the nomination unless McCain has the greatest five day collapse in history.