The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos has a smart piece explaining the unlikely resurgence of Mitt Romney:

The former head of a private-equity firm, Romney has been one of the few Republicans to go beyond anti-pork rhetoric and talk in depth about economic issues.

Last month, he smartly cast his lot with his friend, former eBay impresario Meg Whitman, who is running for governor of California as an entrepreneurial savior. She's not a bad bet to win both the GOP nomination and the governorship, while test-driving Romney's message of economic growth.

And then, while Limbaugh and some other CPAC speakers were serving up cable-show vitriol, Romney made clear that he wished President Obama well and hoped for the best for the country. He then offered a more measured - and therefore more believable - critique of the new administration.

"Parts of the stimulus will, in fact, do some good," he averred. "But too much of the bill was shortsighted and wasteful.

"So far, the administration has been unclear on what it will do to address the huge decline in the pool of risk and investment capital," he said, arguing that an elimination of taxes on capital gains, dividends, and interest could spur investment.

I think Canellos is being a bit too charitable in his description of Romney's critique Obama--calling for the elimination of the capital gains tax isn't exactly breaking new ground for a Republican--but you do get the sense that he's one of the only adults in the GOP at the moment. A few weeks back, Matt Bai compared Newt Gingrich's current situation to Richard Nixon's in the '60s--in which Nixon, after losing the presidential race and then his campaign for California governor, faded into the woodwork only to reemerge when, apres Goldwater, "Republicans found themselves in need of a serious mind, even one with serious flaws." I disagreed with that analogy in terms of Newt. But now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense for Romney. I can see the Romney '12 campaign stickers now. "Pick Mitt: Tanned, Rested, and Ready."

--Jason Zengerle