Those looking for a monocausal explanation of Mitt Romney's flameout over the last few weeks need look no further than the fact that, since Fred Thompson dropped out of the race, ex-adviser (and famed nexus of GOP ineptitude) Mary Matalin has been carrying water for Romney. Here she is in National Review:

“The guy has become an increasingly good candidate. He’s not a political animal — he’s an executive, an analyst, a leader,” she says of Romney. “He’s not an instinctive politician — but his political skills have gotten increasingly better. More importantly, he’s got some real grit and he’s a class act. His last debate performance was the best of any candidate in either party this entire campaign.”

Matalin also notes that the emergence of economic issues as a driving factor in the campaign benefits Romney. “He’s way better than McCain — head and shoulders better — on economic policy,” she said.

Despite Romney's comparative lack of foreign-policy experience, Matalin observes, he might be better than McCain even on that issue, the signature one for the Arizona senator. “Iraq is not the beginning and end of all things, and all of these candidates were equally good — okay, Huckabee wasn’t — on the global war on terror.” Matalin thinks Romney has “been better on Iran, China, North Korea, and Russia” because “he has a global view, and he gets the intersection of economic security and national security.”

Now, if only we can find a way to get her on board the McCain campaign...

--Christopher Orr