Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Romney gets his groove back

Just the mental image of R-money getting his groove on is enough to make a person shudder, isn't it?

"We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough, and that's all that counts," Romney told a crowd gathered at his victory party in Novi, Mich.

In Michigan, Romney held a 3 percent lead -- 41 percent to 38 percent over Rick Santorum -- with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Ron Paul received 12 percent of the vote and Newt Gingrich received 7 percent. In Arizona, with 90 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led with 47 percent, Santorum was in second with 27 percent, Gingrich third with 16 percent and Paul fourth with 8 percent.

Someone else also declared victory.

In an optimistic speech during which several news networks declared Romney the winner of Michigan, Santorum said, "A month ago they didn't know who we are, but they do now."

Oh, we've all known what you are for quite a long time now.

Though Arizona and Michigan have almost the same number of delegates, AZ was winner-take-all while MI awards proportionately. Thus R-money was going to have a good night even if he had lost the Wolverines. But the media spin has been all about him not surging, so last night's results are gold-star worthy.

Santorum, for his part, seems to recognize now where he went off the rails.

"We came to the backyard of one of my opponents, in a race where people said, 'You know, just ignore it, you're going to have no chance here.' And the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is, 'I love you back.'"

The crowd was enthusiastic, with one man shouting, "I love you," but there was a sad tone in the air that began even before they took the stage, as the theme song to the "The Natural" played.

Santorum mentioned his 93-year-old mother, something he hasn't in previous speeches, and he told the audience in what seemed to be a pitch to female voters who might feel put off by some of his previous comments about women in the workplace, that his mother made more money than his father.

So... his parents both went to "indoctrination mills". And then they went to work for the gubmint. Damned liberals. It gets worse, though; so did his wife, that horrible woman who had a partial birth abortion.

The former Pennsylvania senator also touted his wife's work experience, saying she was a "professional" as well, and thanked his daughter, Elizabeth, who has been on the campaign trail with him since the early days in Iowa.

"[Karen] worked as a nurse, but after we got married, she decided to walk away, yet didn't quit working. She was a mother, and also wrote two books," Santorum said, in what also seemed to be an appeal to female voters.

He spent most of his speech repeating the themes he does on the stump, including his mention of the Declaration of Independence, but this evening there was a twist on that, too.

"The men and women who signed that declaration wrote the final phrase, 'We pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor," Santorum said.

There were no women who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Note to Santorum: work in some praise of Martha Washington and Abigail Adams. Try to avoid talking about Sally Hemings or Benjamin Franklin's various indiscretions.

By the way, Ron Paul isn't giving up either. Newt Gingrich just has Georgia on his mind at this point. All this, as you can imagine, is a bit tiring for some people.

"Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and Romney gets a little momentum heading into next week, but it doesn't change much," Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said. "This is going to be a long, drawn-out marathon. It feels like a political death march."

That's not a sad trombone, that's a dirge.

Update: More "experts" -- in this case unemployed Republican political consultants -- rain on R-money's parade.

“A loss to Rick Santorum [in Michigan] would have been a shock to his heart, but he’s going into Super Tuesday with some blood on him,” said GOP strategist Dan Schnur, who is not aligned with any of the candidates.

“In order for Romney to get some kudos, he needs to win a state where there aren’t a lot of Mormons [Arizona] or Romneys [Michigan],” Schnur added.

That prize is Ohio, the key blue-collar battleground on the 10-state Super Tuesday slate — but it’s a state where Romney’s corporate raider background and elitist-sounding verbal stumbles will undoubtedly be used against him by his rivals.

“Has he regained that aura of inevitability? That’s an open question,” said GOP strategist Keith Appell of the bipartisan firm CRC Public Relations.

“He spent $4 million on attack ads in Michigan against a guy who didn't have the money to fight back,” added Appell, who is also not working for any of the candidates.

“This was supposed to be over after Romney won New Hampshire, then Nevada and Florida. But it isn't over. Maybe Super Tuesday voters won't be impressed by Romney winning his home state.”

That reads like hideously sour grapes considering the sources. Look at the total delegate counts after last night, and the number of delegates at stake next Tuesday, and note that all the Not-Romneys put together add up several delegates shy of Romney's current total. Even with many states selecting proportionately through the end of March (as well as several non-binding caucuses), at this point the Not-Romneys are contending for ego status, prime time speaking slots at the convention, and 2016.

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