The Establishment Strikes Back

On the heels of Romney's endorsements from Tom Coburn and Eric Cantor this weekend, Bernstein argues that reports of the GOP establishment's demise have been greatly exaggerated:

Romney's nomination is quite comparable to the nominations of Kerry in 2004, Dole in 1996, and Dukakis in 1988, and a lot more certain a lot earlier than that of McCain last time around. That seems to very much fit a model in which party actors compete and coordinate on nominations and voters in primaries and caucuses ratify it, rather than a model in which candidates compete in a weak party environment and voters in primaries and caucuses determine the nomination. Yes, there's been momentum and press effects and other stuff that has produced a few oddball primary and caucus results, but none of that has really, as far as I can see, done as much to shape the contest as has decisions by party actors. In particular, the party's apparent lack of interest in Rick Santorum, seen through a lack of high-profile endorsements after Iowa and again after Colorado and Minnesota, appear to have been far more predictive than Santorum's strong showing in those states.