Tuesday night in the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney won his most convincing victory so far and demonstrated, once again, the power of money in politics.
Romney's critics have carped that he has had to buy his wins; that the endless stream of negative TV ads he has been able to put up have made it an unfair contest. One of Romney's spinners had a pretty good answer to that: It's like a losing basketball team complaining how unfair it is that the guys on the other side are too tall.
In the end, money almost always wins in politics. In 2008, Barack Obama had charisma and hope working for him, but he also had a stunningly successful fund-raising operation that beat out Hillary Rodham Clinton and outpaced John McCain. This time around, the Romney "super PAC's" flood of dollars has covered the gaps in their candidate's cool factor. It sure worked in Illinois.
Illinois was a good test for the Republican field. It isn't anyone's home state. It isn't a deep-red Southern state. It is a big state with a diverse population that looks a lot like the country as a whole. Rick Santorum gave it his best shot, finally getting a vitrtual two-man match-up, since Newt Gingrich did not compete and Ron Paul has faded to an afterthought. And Romney hammered Santorum with his money machine.