The narrative is being set.  Mitt Romney will be the nominee because all other candidate are faltering, and cannot hold up.

Who is setting this narrative?  In addition to the usual suspects, add Politico, as in this post by Alexander Burns:

Conservatives don’t like him. They really don’t like him.

But as Mitt Romney continues to outshine his rivals in every debate and looks more and more like the last man standing in the Republican presidential primary,  even longtime critics are slowly — and in some cases, bitterly — coming around  to the idea that he may end up as the GOP.

If the 2012 primary was supposed to be a fight between Romney and a single  anti-Romney candidate, the anybody-but-Mitt bloc has plainly failed to put up a real fight, at least so far. And with  only eight weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, skeptical elements of the  Republican base have begun to worry that they may have missed the opportunity to  stop him.

Since when did Romney “outshine his rivals in every debate”?  That’s nonsense; by any measure the debates have been the Newt Show, giving Newt a chance to move from has been to rising star.

What about this narrative of no alternative viable candidate pushed by Burns?  How convenient, considering how Politico obsessively has gone after Herman Cain. But what about Newt, who now is in a statistical dead heat in most polls with Romney and Cain?

Burns has an answer for that also, in his post yesterday reprinting a negative e-mail being circulated about Newt, Anti-Newt Gingrich chatter begins:

A conservative source forwards an anti-Newt Gingrich email making the rounds  this weekend, drawing Republicans’ attention to the former House speaker’s  history of off-message and ideologically erratic comments.

The email is a reminder of the challenge Gingrich faces ahead of him, if he  really has to go through the same level of vetting as other credible GOP  presidential candidates — like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann did when they  were on the upswing in the polls. But it’s also a sign that Gingrich’s rise is  being taken seriously by his opponents inside the party.

No one but Mitt, that’s the media narrative for now.  But it will not last.  Once Romney gets the nomination, Politico obsessively will run articles similar to this (likely unfair and distorted) report in the Chicago Sun-Times, How Romney grew rich by plundering companies:

If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination for president, the narrative for his 2012 run is pretty clear. He will tout his credentials as a savvy businessman who knows how to create jobs.

What Romney won’t tell you is that what he really knows how to do is create massive amounts of wealth for himself and his partners.

Jobs are another matter….

“Millions for me, a pink slip for thee,” is the playbook of many private equity firms, and Romney was one of their savviest players.

There is nothing inevitable about Romney’s nomination, other than the fact that the media is building him up in order to tear him down.