Wishing and hoping won't get the job done.

Aside from the front page, I view Redstate as primarily a place for conservative activists to compare notes and hash out issues. I don’t believe that what appears in the diaries has one iota of effect on public opinion and therefore I generally say what I think as opposed to what I hope.

Back in early December I announced my support here for Newt Gingrich. I didn’t do so because I thought that would move Iowa into the Gingrich column. Iowans could not care less about what I think. I did it primarily to try to sway some other Redstate diarists to the Newt camp and secondarily to avoid any appearance of having a hidden agenda.

So when I write “turn out the lights the party is over” and that Mitt Romney is very nearly at the point of inevitability,  its not because I have abandoned my support for Newt Gingrich, or suddenly think Romney is the bee’s knees, or that all other candidates should give up.

Conservatives here at Redstate must begin to reconcile themselves to conditions on the ground. Romney just got a shade under 40% in NH. He is leading in the polls for both SC and Fla. If he wins SC then it is effectively over. However if he is beaten in SC then the race will go on but even so some of the candidates will need to face reality and withdraw.

I have been very clear with my opinion that Newt Gingrich is the best choice for the GOP in 2012. He has glaring imperfections but so do all the others, and Newt is the one guy I trust has the ability to to shred Barack Obama this Fall.

A new poll this morning has Newt Gingrich just two points behind Romney in South Carolina while Santorum has dropped back and Perry is stuck at 5%. If Newt were to win SC and Perry and Santorum then withdraw and endorsed Gingrich, Romney would no longer be inevitable. I’m not going to hold my breath.

Bottom line folks, Romney can’t be stopped by a gaggle of 5-15 percenters. The conservative vote must be consolidated before Florida votes or the game will be over. This is not rah-rah-rah pablum for the general public, this is political calculation that I hope this community will ponder.