With Rick Santorum's withdrawal from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney is now, finally, who he has been saying he is all along: the inevitable nominee. Romney has been acting the part since the outset of his campaign. Now, with an insurmountable delegate lead, he can play it with conviction.
Santorum's withdrawal should cause most Republicans to breathe a sigh of relief. It means the end of divisive intraparty campaigning that featured Romney and Santorum and their surrogates firing ugly televised attacks at each other in primary states. Those attack ads and debate barbs undercut both candidates in the minds of voters and have dominated the news for months, to the delight of President Obama and his supporters.
The only Republicans who will lament the end of this primary warfare are the diehard supporters of Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul who believe that Romney is not conservative enough on either money or social issues, or they do not trust him because of his Mormon faith. Some of the questions about Romney's conservatism are legitimate, given his support while governor for the Massachusetts health care reform that became a model for Obamacare and his shifting stance on abortion, to name just two examples.