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Romney’s biggest challenge: Many of his fellow Republicans doubt that he can defeat Obama

Most of this week’s national polls on the presidential race show Barack Obama with only a modest lead over Mitt Romney, which one would think would give Republicans cause for optimism.

But such is not the case, at least not among most of the GOP’s movers and shakers. Instead, there’s a deep pessimism.

Consequently, one of Romney’s first orders of business as the general-election campaign begins is convincing Republican leaders that he can win in November.

Jonathan Martin of Politico has a feature piece on this matter HERE:

Poll after poll indicates the presidential campaign is a dead heat, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to many Republican professionals. If you gave them truth serum, they would tell you they think Mitt Romney will lose…

And the skepticism about Romney isn’t just a Beltway phenomenon. Rank-and-file Republican voters are also uncertain he can win, though it’s the chattering class that is most bearish.

(Snip)

Some of the grumbling is from conservatives who were sympathetic to Romney rivals in the primary and believe firmly that the party will have a difficult time beating President Barack Obama with a less-than-pure nominee.

Asked why a conservative-dominated party keeps nominating establishment candidates for president, Perkins carped: “Maybe Republicans don’t like to win?”

(Snip)

What’s notable is the degree of pessimism from establishment Republicans, the crowd that was deathly afraid of Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich becoming the standard-bearer this fall. It may be a temporary affliction, but it seems as though the fatalism that traditionally marked the Democratic Party has taken hold in the GOP.

“You go through two cycles when incumbents win and people will talk themselves into thinking it’s historically inevitable,” said Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol.

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