In articles like this one 14 months ago (in which I mistakenly predicted that Rudy Giuliani would not run -- but really, what's been the difference?), I predicted in essence that Romney's path to victory, if there was one, was to solidify his role as the anti-McCain and then hope that the movement conservatives would move heaven and earth (and millions of dollars) to kill the Arizona Senator. Because, they hate McCain.
I suggested then that, if the race eventually came down to McCain and Romney, those movement conservatives would toss their millions into 527s to Swift Boat McCain.
Well, tonight the race officially came down to those two, and it's starting. Mark Halperin reports that one of those conservative orgs, Citizens United ("a conservative grassroots advocacy organization") has made a "six-figure" ad buy on FOX News "comparing McCain to Hillary Clinton," and calling McCain "surprisingly liberal." Halperin wonders if this might be the start of "a major conservative effort to stop McCain in favor of Romney."
If so, don't be surprised if the attacks get more personal and more vicious very quickly -- with McCain having very little time or money to effectively counter the attacks before Super Tuesday.
I don't think it will stop McCain from winning the nomination, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen. With a wink from Mitt.