This Weekly Standard interview with Paul Ryan is going to break a lot of hearts among the anti-Romney conservative holdouts. Ryan is one of the great independent thinkers in politics today, but at the end of the day, he’s also a pragmatist – and a Republican. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to picture a scenario where Mitt Romney doesn’t get the nomination, and Ryan seems to be trying to give conservatives a way to come to terms with that:

But what about Romneycare? Ryan has said Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.” Is Ryan “intellectually dishonest,” as New Jersey governor Chris Christie said of those who claim the two programs are similar?

“Well, I guess from a federalism standpoint, I understand that point,” Ryan says with a laugh. He doesn’t back off of his judgment about Romneycare, but says the issue is irrelevant. “I don’t think this question matters that much anymore because Romney’s been very clear that he’s against Obamacare and he’s going to repeal it. So I for a second don’t worry about whether he’s going to shy away from repealing the president’s health care law.”

First Christie, and now Ryan. All Romney needs is Mitch Daniels’s blessing, and he’ll have the whole trifecta. This really complicates things for the stalwart anti-Romneys. Groups unaffiliated with the GOP, like FreedomWorks will still be there to bash him from the entitlements/health care angle. But as Romney gets closer to the finish line, there will likely be a lot more Republicans willing to overlook his past if it’s the only path to repealing ObamaCare.