While WaPo metaphorically portrays Romney's Florida offensive as an integrated, interrelated two-front war -- "to blunt Gingrich’s momentum and do what his long eluded him: capture the enthusiasm of the Republican base" -- every reader understands the vast separation between Romney's objectives and capabilities. Although Gingrich is (or should be) Romney's France, the governor's efforts to "capture the enthusiasm of the Republican base" are essentially confronting the withering Russian steppes.
Put a bit more concretely, an intelligently coordinated and properly executed counter-blitz should make quick work of the former Speaker, which doubtless would have Romney and his general staff popping (Welch's) champagne corks from panhandle to glades; but when that party is over, the other party -- the real one, resistant as ever to Romney's uncertain charms -- will still await His Inevitability.
Even what should be a Florida cakewalk may be in doubt for Romney, though, given that by one account his currently orchestrated offense against Gingrich will tactically entail the already tried and failed: assaulting Gingrich's ethical history and marital troubles, his violently spasmodic conservatism (e.g. he disdains the Ryan Plan; no he loves the Ryan plan), and his unpredictable and "erratic" character. In any moderately sane, reasonably intelligent political party such an attack would flatten the intended target, toot-sweet. But of course the usual conditions, the customary attributes, of a major political party no longer apply to this political party, hence the usual tactics and customary aggression require some finesse -- at which the staid, buttoned-down, by-the-book, always-fighting-the-last-war Romney doesn't exactly excel.
That is, Romney intends to hit Gingrich at his weakest points, when he should be hitting the bloated demagogue at his strongest point. Which is? Well, yesterday Gingrich did everything but bullhorn the damn thing on "Meet the Press":
People are just sick and tired of being told what they’re allowed to think, what they’re allowed to say.
Gingrich, mirabile dictu, is not intimidated; indeed he revels in opportunities to speak his Everyman mind.
One problem, though. What in hell is this Tiffany's-charging, Freddie-Mac fraud of an Everyman talking about? His past is nothing compared to his present: Gingrich the bejeweled, insider-frolicking con artist and circus barker is now attempting to con the real Everymen into believing their freedom to think and speak is already foreclosed by the omnipotent supermen of a powerfully superior liberalism. This is the old, defeatist, "paranoid style" politics that should be advertised by Romney for what it is, as he unveils its fraudulent embodiment for who he is -- purely an act.
In sum, Romney's concentration of forces on Gingrich's history is likely a tactical blunder that will only prolong this personalized front (rather, affront). Romney should hit him where he lives, now -- that being a Barnum & Bailey circus tent -- before he has a chance to fight another day.
Still, even if Romney succeeds in Florida, it will be just the end of the beginning of his real troubles. For there remains that other and far greater front -- the uncaptured base of the Russian steppes.