By opening up the campaign-finance system to super PACs, the justices enabled Romney's opponents to hang on and severely weaken him.
American politics is generous with ironies. But here's one to savor. Our Wild West campaign-finance system -- deregulated by the conservative bloc on the Supreme Court and embraced by Republicans for both ideological and strategic reasons -- may be dousing the party's hopes to win the White House.
Mitt Romney's innovative use of a campaign super PAC has done him great service. The Restore Our Future PAC has raised tens of millions of dollars from a selection of elite donors, and produced the attack ads that have bludgeoned his rivals, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
But it's that same unbridled campaign finance system that lets Gingrich and Santorum remain in the race, despite their organizational shortcomings and personal flaws.
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In days of yore (like, as recently as 2008) a string of losses would discourage donors, dry up funding and force a longshot candidate from the race. But in the new campaign era, there is no greater asset than a very rich friend. In Sheldon Adelson and Foster Friess and a few donors like them, Gingrich and Santorum have precisely those sort of deep-pocketed pals.