Mitt Romney's Struggles in the South a Sign of Trouble to Come

All eyes seem to be on Ohio on Super Tuesday, but, as results come in, the real story seems to be in the South.

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All eyes seem to be on Ohio on Super Tuesday, but, as results come in, the real story seems to be in the South.

Virginia gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney his first, and so far only, primary victory in Dixie. But his only opponent was Rep. Ron Paul, and Paul was a strong second; as of this writing, the Texas congressman has matched former Gov. Mike Huckabee's 40-percent-plus showing from the 2008 Virginia primary. But Romney was beaten decisively by former Sen. Rick Santorum in Tennessee (as well as in Southern-ish Oklahoma) and by former Speaker Newt Gingrich in Georgia.

This is a bad sign for any would-be Republican nominee.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney]

Sure, Romney will win these states in the general election, but this is the heart of the Republican national governing coalition. This is where enthusiasm for the party's eventual nominee should be at its strongest. In 2008, Huckabee gave Sen. John McCain a run for his money in the South, but McCain won in South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Missouri.

George W. Bush dominated the South. Former Sen. Bob Dole dominated the South. President George H.W. Bush dominated the South. President Ronald Reagan dominated the South.

[See pictures of Mitt Romney.]

Reagan was strong in the South ... in 1976! President Gerald Ford narrowly beat Reagan in Tennessee and Kentucky.

So far tonight, it appears that the Ford campaign is Romney's closest analogue

Like I said: Not a good sign.

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