Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Surging Santorum Roundup

Two new polls show Santorum leading Romney in Michigan:

A loss in Michigan would be disastrous for the Romney campaign. Romney was born in Michigan, and his father was governor of the state for six years. In 2008 Romney won the Michigan primary by nine points against Senator John McCain (R-AZ), even though McCain later went on to win the Republican nomination. Given all these facts, Michigan should be a very strong state for the Romney campaign. Instead, Romney seems to have actually lost some of his support from 2008, and now is threatened by a Santorum campaign that has not even spent a lot of money in the state, yet.

Santorum may not have to spend as much money as would otherwise be necessary because of all the free media he's getting. One teevee ad is getting lots of circulation because it astoundingly shows him getting pummeled, paintball style, by a brown frothy mixture.



There's a fun bit of psychoanalysis at the link. Snark aside, the spot does a good job of making Romney look like the jerk he is without stooping to Romney's level of nastiness.

Santorum's corresponding rise in the polling nationally is making journalists question whether this latest surge might last.

Until his victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, many supposed experts viewed Santorum’s campaign as a curiosity or ignored it completely. Now things have completely turned around. The newspapers and political sites are full of articles treating Santorum as a credible contender. I’ve even written one myself. Last week, I pointed out that his message of social conservatism and economic populism clearly resonates with large parts of the Republican base, and also with some independents and Reagan Democrats.

All the evidence suggests that Santorum’s campaign still has real momentum. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, which was released (February 14), he is now leading Romney nationally among Republican primary voters by thirty per cent to twenty-seven per cent—a statistical tie. This finding follows two more national surveys released on Monday, which produced very similar results. The latest Gallup tracking poll had Romney leading by thirty-two per cent to thirty per cent; a poll from the Pew Research Center showed Santorum edging Romney by thirty per cent to twenty-eight per cent.

The response from both Mitt R-Money and Republicans in general to the Santorum Surge seems to be a stunned, mumbled 'WTF'.


Still, some Republicans are warning Mitt not to do to Rick what he did to Newt.

... National Review's editors accused Romney of "trying to win the nomination by pulverizing his rivals," adding that "his attacks on Santorum have been lame, perhaps because they are patently insincere." Richard Land, an evangelical conservative leader who hasn't endorsed a candidate, said Romney would be making a terrible mistake to go nuclear on Santorum. "Santorum’s a much more likable figure and a much harder figure to demonize than Newt Gingrich was," Land told Politico. "If he does that, there’ll be a backlash." And Byron York reports that late last week a group of conservatives at CPAC informed Romney that he should abandon his attack-dog strategy against Santorum.

And as you might have guessed, all this conservative discombobulation leaves Democrats with a wonderful opportunity to make mischief of the type Republicans know well.

It's time for us to take an active role in the GOP nomination process. That's right, it's time for those of us who live in open primary and caucus states—Michigan, North Dakota, Vermont and Tennessee in the next three weeks—to head out and cast a vote for Rick Santorum.

Why would we do such a crazy thing? Lots of great reasons!

Republican turnout has sucked, and appears to be getting worse by the contest. Unlike the 2008 Democratic primaries, which helped President Barack Obama and the Democrats to build a national organization, the GOP is an organizational disaster, with waning voter interest. That means that it takes fewer votes to have an impact than if Republican turnout was maxed out.

Several of the contests have produced razor-thin margins of victory. Rick Santorum won Iowa by 34 votes, Mitt Romney "won" Maine by 194 votes. It won't take many of us to swing contests the way we want them to swing.

The longer this GOP primary drags on, the better the numbers for Team Blue. Not only is President Barack Obama rising in comparison to the clowns in the GOP field, but GOP intensity is down—which would have repercussions all the way down the ballot.

The longer this thing drags out, the more unpopular the Republican presidential pretenders become. Just look at Mitt Romney's trajectory, which followed Herman Cain's trajectory, and Newt Gingrich's trajectory, and Michelle Bachmann's trajectory, and so on.

Rick Santorum will inevitably follow the same path once he gets properly vetted. Mitt Romney has been unable to stem the bleeding despite his tens of millions. Just imagine Santorum, with the far more radical record and a continued inability to raise real money.

I couldn't care less who wins the GOP nomination at this point because it doesn't matter. The Republicans running for president have, from the beginning, ritually self-immolated one by one. For its part, the Texas GOP has so screwed everything up -- from the redistricting mess to the next edition of the massacre of public education -- that the only people who believe what they say are the Fox-informed ... which pathetically remains a voting majority in this state. (Texas is in fact so hopeless that the kind of outrage being demonstrated in various media sources over proposed transvaginal ultrasound mandates in Virginia is something we have put in our rearview mirror, thanks to the 9th Circuit.)

Honestly, there's not much to do but sit back and watch as the freaks in the circus try to put up the Big Top ... and not choke on my popcorn laughing.

Update: Choking on my popcorn laughing. Santorum's billionaire benefactor Foster Friess, today:

And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s such inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

It's gotta be Mitt Romney in the end.

But the fact that there's even a chance it could have Gingrich or could be Santorum is mind-boggling!

They are throwing the election, right? They think they can score more points by controlling Congress and playing basketball with Obama's head than by controlling everything...

Right?

I mean, they must be throwing it...