I have tried to emphasize time and again here that I am not anti-Romney.

When I endorsed Newt on November 16, I made sure to point out that I thought Romney was a smart and decent person, but I saw fundamental flaws in his candidacy, none of which have gone away.  When asked to lend my name to the NotMittRomney group of bloggers, I ignored the request.

It’s getting really hard to maintain a not anti-Romney position.

I was a little bit ahead of the Newt wave, and predicted Newt that he would face a tough time through Christmas.

Never did I anticipate the massive blow-back from the establishment Republican and conservative media that we have witnessed since the day Newt surpassed Romney in the polls.  Mark Levin compares it to what we witnessed with Sarah Palin, when the same people who now sneer at Newt sneered at Palin with dismissive disdain in a highly personal and demeaning manner.

The anyone-but-Newt editorial the National Review just published is almost the last straw.  The Editors of National Review presume to tell us that the field of candidates needs to be “winnowed” starting with Newt (and others thrown in as an afterthought), leaving only Romney and two low-polling challengers (Huntsman and Santorum).

Erick Erickson (with whom I have vehemently disagreed in the past), gets it right this time, A Chorus of Scientologists Claim Jim Jones Runs A Cult:

While I might choose to look at that record and go with Gingrich, the fine folks at National Review have endorsed Mitt Romney with a blistering broadside about Newt Gingrich for being unelectable.

Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, he is so bad a candidate that National Review cannot even use the word endorsement in their endorsement. They describe it as “winnowing the field,” but they stack the field for declaring that he and two guys barely at 2% in the national polling (Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum) are the only viable candidates….

If National Review wants to endorse or not endorse that’s fine by me, but trying to sell us Romney with a non-endorsement endorsement that makes Clinton’s non-denial denial about Lewinsky look honest is a bit much.

Certainly National Review has not been alone.

Charles Krauthammer engaged is an act of supreme denial when he attacked Newt as talking like “a socialist” when Newt brought up Romney’s Bain problem, yet has been silent (as far as I can tell) when Romney attacked Newt yesterday over jewelry Newt bought for his wife with his own money at Tiffany.  The Bain problem is the single most likely issue to sink a Romney general election candidacy, but we are being told we are socialists if we bring it up.

Ann Coulter, who 10 months ago told us Romney absolutely would lose to Obama, now is telling us Romney can win and attacks Newt with the verbal and textual equivalent of spit.

And I could go on and on.

Back to Erickson’s post:

It is amazing to me the GOP is headed where it is with a nominee.  It is more amazing to me that so many Washington conservatives have hitched their wagon to the one guy who wholly does not fit the spirit of this election and whose governing legacy in Massachusetts is the state level equivalent of Barack Obama’s federal legacy….

With Paul Ryan turning his back on his own plan it becomes harder to attack Newt Gingrich for his criticisms of the Ryan plan.  With National Review going full on Team Mittens, suddenly the guy who was once Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is standing on the outside looking in at the establishment so many grassroots activists have already rejected.

My position since the beginning is that Romney needed to make the case for himself, not just against others.  That has not taken place yet, and now that Romney’s campaign has embarked on the strategy of crazy against Newt, it is unlikely to happen.

The conservative media which should be vetting Romney instead have declared war on every contender who rises to challenge him, and on everyone who questions the assumptions and weaknesses of his candidacy.

In many ways I’m back to October 6, long before I decided to back Newt, wondering How can I support a candidate when I can’t stand other supporters of the candidate?

That’s still the problem.  And the harder they try to force a Romney nomination on us without making the positive case for Romney, the closer I come to a decision I really don’t want to make.

Update:  The publisher of National Review is boasting that the next issue of the print publication will be devoted primarly to attacking Newt, and Jonah Goldberg calls it the Big Newtapalooza issue.